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

  • Avg. Salary $43,768.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.08
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Upholsterer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

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


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


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

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 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 More

Updated Oct 03, 2016

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

Production upholsterers work in factories and usually specialize in one area of new furniture production. They work on an assembly line performing one function and 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 repair furniture by repairing split seams, replacing broken springs and replacing foam in seat cushions.

Custom upholsterers and re-upholsterers may prepare cost estimates or refinish wood parts of upholstered furniture.

Working Conditions
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Upholstery work requires considerable standing, bending and stooping, and may involve handling pieces of furniture that weigh up to 20 kilograms.

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

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Upholsterers need the following characteristics:

  • excellent manual dexterity and co-ordination
  • good vision
  • strength and endurance
  • 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 tasks requiring precision, having clear guidelines and methods for their work, and dealing with customers.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Most upholsterers are trained on the job. Mastering all of the skills necessary to work independently 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, and move on to more difficult tasks as they gain experience.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 03, 2016

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

  • hotel chains
  • railways
  • airlines
  • automotive manufacturers.

Experienced upholsterers in large factories may advance to supervisory positions depending on their experience and management ability. Experienced custom upholsterers may open their own shops.

In Alberta, 84% of people employed as upholsterers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 03, 2016

Inexperienced upholsterers may start at minimum wage. (As of October 1, 2018, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00 per hour. For more information, see Alberta Employment Standards.) Experienced upholsterers may be paid an hourly wage, on a piecework basis or by the yard or metre, depending on the employer and the kind of work.

The upholstery business is extremely competitive and profits made by self-employed custom upholsterers depend largely on market conditions and their upholstery skills, business skills and reputation.

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $25.00 $17.85 $16.00
Overall $18.30 $28.00 $21.08 $18.50
Top $21.00 $30.00 $24.02 $22.25

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

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

Updated Mar 31, 2015. 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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