Career Services Information


anchorOur mission is to teach and preserve traditional and contemporary wooden boatbuilding skills while developing the individual as a craftsman.

In line with that mission, it is important that students at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding receive instruction that successfully prepares them for 21st-century jobs.

201 Associate of Occupational Studies degrees completed 2011-2016!

$17-20/hour Average Starting Salaries;

Full-time: $37,440-$41,600 annually

Employment Tracking

penelope partridgeThe School is required through its accrediting agency to track the employment of its graduates. This not only confirms statistics related to graduates’ employment – but also allows for another avenue of input from employers about the alignment of skills between the School and 21st-century industries. (See statistics below.)

Graduation & Employment Data

michael voderbergGraduates of the Boat School have been highly successful in their graduation and employment activities.  Our students’ graduation and employment statistics are collected on an annual basis. 

Related to employment, we identify where our graduates are working or whether they have gone on to further education, military service, or self employment. We also gather information related to their hourly wages. All this information is given in summary form to our current students to help them learn about various career paths they might consider after graduating from the Boat School.


Click here to review details of the student Graduation and Employment (G&E) percentages for the 2017 Annual Report submitted to our accreditor ACCSC and details of the student Graduation and Employment (G&E) percentages for the prior 10 years. 


Career strands for our graduates are interesting and varied:

korey rubenThese include work in boat yards, maritime museums, educational programs, boat design, architectural design, engineering, charter services, tall-ship programs, wooden boat repair and restoration, yacht construction and yacht interiors, wooden boatbuilding, boat surveying and appraising, musical instrument building (cellos, violins, guitars, drums), home and business building construction, fine furniture making, boatbuilding coaching and cabinetry.

Graduates of the Contemporary Wood Composite Boatbuilding program have career strands in addition to those mentioned above including, aerospace & rocket construction, wind energy, automotive design, engineering, moorings, buoys, marine docks, floats, water skis/wakeboards, surf boards, recreational watercraft, and jet boats.

Industry Advisors

Our Boat School leaders formally meet at least twice a year with a group of about 15 maritime industry representatives to review the boatbuilding skills and projects required for graduation. Through this regular industry collaboration the School helps ensure the solid vocational basis of its educational programs. You can review the list of our Professional Advisory Committee at the following link:

Job Openings

neenaThe School is an internationally recognized vocational institution for wooden boat building. Therefore, businesses from around the U.S. and the world often contact the School seeking to hire trained craftsmen. Information related to businesses seeking to hire is emailed out regularly to all our graduates for their consideration. Employers can contact us at or submit a job opening for our alumni HERE.

The Veterans Administration has established a Veteran’s Job Bank at the following link to assist veterans who are looking for work:

Wage Levels

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAGraduates who enter the boatbuilding industries typically start at around $17-20/hour ($32,640 – $38,400 annual salary for full-time jobs). Boatbuilding graduates who prove themselves to be good quality craftsmen will usually advance to approximately $27/hour ($51,840 annual salary for full-time jobs) within several years of working. Some graduates in the woodworking industries start at around $15/hour, but move up to the $20/hour after 6-12 months of proving themselves. Students who pursue employment in maritime museums will usually start at around $10/hour for 6 months and after proving themselves they usually advance to an approximate annual salary of $35,000.  Graduates who couple their skills (e.g., fishermen or charter captains who do woodworking in the off-season) will attain an annual salary of approximately $75,000.

To learn more about the employment of woodworkers by state,  annual mean wages, top paying metro and non-metro areas, go to:

LucitaBureau of Labor Statistics: Woodworking Professions in the U.S.

Overview of Labor Projections to 2022

Education and Training Outlook for Occupations 2012-2022

Washington State Jobs in Demand  (“Select Occupation” – woodworker, carpenter or fiberglass)

GE Survey: Optimism reigns in marine industry





Gainful Employment Links

To receive federal student aid, the law requires that most for-profit programs, regardless of credential level, and most non-degree programs at non-profit and public institutions, including community colleges, prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation.” These regulations set the standards for “gainful employment” programs to remain eligible to accept federal student aid grants and loans. Gainful employment information is based on 9-month, non-degree programs only. Because there are usually fewer than 10 students in these programs, the statistics can’t be shared because of privacy concerns.

View Gainful Employment Data


Job Boards

Boat building companies – Northwest

The Mother of All Maritime Links (there are extensive lists of Boatbuilders, Manufacturers, and Boat Yards here, but some of the links are to companies that are no longer in existence).

Free Online Systems to Help Market Yourself (email) (and its connected (photos, text, and links) (photos, text, links, and documents) (personal and professional networking) (professional networking) (videos)

Business Start-Up Support




1. “The marine industry suffered such a blow from 2008 to 2010,” Brooks Marine Group president Neal Harrell said in a statement. “We lost a lot of talent to other industries and we lost a lot of talent to retirement. We have positions open all over the industry, all over the country, but we don’t have the skilled labor force to fill those positions.”

A skills-gap study being conducted for RIMTA by Maine-based Planning Decisions projects that this trend is not going away anytime soon. By 2020, Rhode Island’s marine industry will need to hire an additional 1,800 workers; 71 percent of those projected hires are to replace baby boomers who are aging out of the work force and taking their well-honed skills with them.

Although it is a challenge for the industry, the situation translates to opportunity for skilled workers.

2. From the National STEM Consortium: The American composites industry is made up of approximately 3,000 companies. In the U.S. it employs more than a half-million people in all 50 states and generates almost $70 billion in revenues annually.

3. The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. You can access the O*NET Interest Profiler at to learn more about your own unique career interests and preferences.

4. VAforVets – Your Gateway to VA Careers: