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Upholsterer

Upholsterers cover furniture, such as sofas and chairs, with fabric, leather, and other upholstery materials.

Also Known As

Custom Upholsterer, Production Upholsterer, Re-upholsterer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Upholsterers (7341) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Upholsterers (H511) 
  • 2011 NOC: Upholsterers (6345) 
  • 2016 NOC: Upholsterers (6345) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Upholsterers
2006 NOC : 7341

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to lay out, cut, fabricate and install upholstery in aircraft, motor vehicles, railway cars, boats and ships; may install, fabricate, maintain and repair interior components of aircraft, such as seats, coverings, drapes, cargo nets, flooring, closets, bins and panels

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to install padding and underlays and to fasten covering materials to furniture frames

INNOVATIVE

Interest in speaking with customers to discuss upholstery fabric, colour and style; may repair furniture frames and refinish wood surfaces

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Oct 03, 2019

Custom upholsterers usually work in small shops where they make new furniture from standard patterns. They make, or sometimes rebuild, an entire piece of furniture. They may help customers choose fabrics and styles. Some highly skilled custom upholsterers design and produce furniture according to customer specifications.

Production upholsterers work in factories. They most often specialize in one area of new furniture production. They work on an assembly line performing one function. They then pass the furniture on to others to finish.

Re-upholsterers recondition old furniture. In general, they:

  • Remove the old cover and padding
  • Examine the springing and, if required, replace it with webbing, coil springs, or sinuous springs
  • Build the chair or sofa up with loose fibre stuffing, cotton, felt, or foam padding
  • Shape and form the stuffing
  • Measure and cut fabric to fit each part of the furniture
  • Shape and mark fabric for sewing
  • Sew fabric and cushions
  • Fit the fabric to the furniture
  • Staple or sew the fabric in place

Re-upholsterers also fix furniture by repairing split seams, replacing broken springs, and replacing foam in seat cushions.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Upholstery work requires considerable standing, bending, and stooping. It may involve handling heavy pieces of furniture.

Upholsterers use a variety of hand tools. These include measuring tapes, pneumatic staplers, hammers, scissors, and pliers. They must be careful to avoid injury. They work indoors in shops or factories. These are usually well lit and clean, although sometimes dusty.

Hours of work vary. Production upholsterers most often work shifts. Custom upholsterers and re-upholsterers who own their own shops may work long, irregular hours to meet customer demands.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Upholsterers need:

  • Manual dexterity and co-ordination
  • Good vision
  • Physical strength and endurance
  • Self-motivation
  • Problem-solving skills

A flair for colour and the creative use of fabrics is an asset.

Upholsterers should enjoy using tools and machinery to perform precision tasks. They should like having clear guidelines and methods for their work. They should feel at ease dealing with customers.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Upholsterers
NOC code: 6345

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 21 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 05, 2021 and May 17, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Lay out, cut, fabricate and install upholstery
Tack, glue or sew ornamental trim, braids or buttons
Operate sewing machines or sew by hand
Replace worn-out webbing, springs and other furniture parts
Repair furniture frames and refinish wood surfaces
Discuss upholstery fabric, colour, and style with customers and provide cost estimate
Garnish the bottom and the back of a seat with interoven rattan
Specialization or Experience: Furniture
Type of Industry Experience: Furniture upholstery and repair shop
Specialization or Experience: Marine cabin interiors and other furnishings
Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 03, 2019
  • Minimum Education Less than high school

Most upholsterers are trained on the job. Mastering all the skills necessary to work on their own takes up to 5 years.

Production upholsterers begin on the simpler functions in an assembly line and progress to more complex tasks. Custom upholsterers start with routine tasks such as removing old fabric, padding, or springs. They move on to more difficult tasks as they gain experience.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Most production upholsterers work in furniture factories. Some work at home and are paid by the amount of fabric used. Most custom upholsterers are self-employed. However, some work in small shops that employ fewer than 5 people. Some upholsterers work for furniture stores and businesses, such as:

  • Hotel chains
  • Railways
  • Airlines
  • Automotive manufacturers

Experienced production upholsterers may advance to supervisory positions depending on their experience, management ability, and the size of the business. Experienced custom upholsterers may open their own shops.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 6345: Upholsterers occupational group, 82.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 6345: Upholsterers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Inexperienced upholsterers may start at minimum wage. Experienced upholsterers may be paid by the hour, the yard, or the metre, or on a piecework basis. This depends on the employer and the kind of work.

The upholstery business is highly competitive. Profits made by self-employed custom upholsterers depend largely on a combination of market conditions and their:

  • Upholstery skills
  • Business skills
  • Reputation

Upholsterers are part of the larger 2016 National Occupational Classification 6345: Upholsterers.

According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Upholsterers occupational group earned on average from $18.57 to $24.58 an hour. The overall average was $20.65 an hour. For more information, see the Upholsterers wage profile.

As of June 26, 2019, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00 per hour for most workers. For more information, see Minimum Wage.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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