Wood Technology


The Wood Technology department at Laney College offers daytime, evening and weekend classes for beginning and experienced woodworkers. You can begin a new and rewarding career as a professional woodworker, enrich your life with a creative and useful hobby and hone your professional skills to a new level!

Courses are taught by working professionals in a well equipped, state-of-the-art wood shop. Class sizes are small and emphasize safety, as well as technique and procedure. Traditional and contemporary woodworking skills are taught in a hands-on, project based format.

Classes include design and construction for the woodworking professional (one and two-year programs), computer-aided design and manufacture (CAD-CAM), traditional Japanese hand tools and joinery, studio furniture-making, beginning and intermediate classes for the hobbyist as well as the opportunity to do special projects.

A degree in wood technology can open up various career opportunities in industries related to forestry, woodworking, manufacturing, construction, and environmental conservation. Here are some career paths you could consider with a degree in wood technology:

  1. Forestry Technician: As a forestry technician, you could work in forest management, conducting surveys, analyzing data, and assisting with conservation efforts. You might also be involved in timber harvesting and reforestation projects.
  2. Wood Scientist/Technologist: Wood scientists and technologists study the properties of wood and wood products, including strength, durability, and moisture content. They may work in research and development for industries such as furniture manufacturing, construction, or engineered wood products.
  3. Forest Products Manufacturing Manager: In this role, you would oversee the manufacturing process of wood products such as lumber, plywood, veneer, or engineered wood. Your responsibilities may include production planning, quality control, and optimizing manufacturing processes.
  4. Sustainable Forestry Specialist: Sustainable forestry specialists focus on managing forests in environmentally responsible ways, balancing conservation objectives with economic considerations. They may work for government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private companies to develop and implement sustainable forest management practices.
  5. Woodworking Craftsman/Artisan: With a background in wood technology, you could pursue a career as a professional woodworker or artisan, creating custom furniture, cabinetry, or wood art pieces. This path often involves developing strong craftsmanship skills and may include entrepreneurship if you choose to run your own woodworking business.
  6. Environmental Consultant: Environmental consultants assess the impact of forestry and wood-related activities on the environment, including issues such as deforestation, habitat loss, and pollution. They may work with government agencies, consulting firms, or non-profit organizations to develop and implement environmental management plans.
  7. Timber Broker or Buyer: Timber brokers and buyers facilitate the buying and selling of timber and wood products between forest owners, logging companies, and manufacturers. They may negotiate contracts, conduct market analysis, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.
  8. Quality Control Inspector: Quality control inspectors ensure that wood products meet industry standards and regulatory requirements for safety, performance, and environmental impact. They may work for wood product manufacturers, retailers, or government agencies responsible for enforcing quality control regulations.
  9. Educator or Researcher: With advanced degrees and experience in wood technology, you could pursue teaching or research positions at universities, technical schools, or research institutions. You might focus on topics such as wood chemistry, processing technologies, or sustainable forest management.
  10. Sales and Marketing Representative: Sales and marketing representatives promote wood products and services to customers in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and home improvement. They may develop marketing strategies, manage client relationships, and provide technical expertise to support product sales.

These are just a few examples of the career opportunities available to individuals with a degree in wood technology. Depending on your interests, skills, and professional goals, you may find opportunities in various sectors of the wood industry and related fields. Networking, gaining practical experience through internships or apprenticeships, and staying informed about industry trends can help you explore and pursue rewarding career paths in wood technology.

Q: What is Wood Technology?

A: Wood Technology is Laney College’s woodworking department. We offer classes on designing and making furniture and cabinets — from traditional hand tools, to handheld and stationary power tools, to contemporary CAD/CAM.

Q: Is Wood Technology a part of Carpentry?

A: No it is separate. Wood Technology and Carpentry are both part of Career and Technical Education at Laney but the Carpentry department is where you learn to build structures like houses, roofs, stairs. Wood Technology is where we build the furniture, cabinets, built-ins that go inside the house. We typically work with hardwoods and veneered sheet goods and work with a very high precision that can be accurate to 1/1000″.

Q: What are the difference between Vocational and Avocational courses?

A: Wood Technology offers Vocational classes for students who are interested in starting a new career, or upgrade their existing skills for a better career. We also offer Avocational classes for home-based enthusiasts, hobbyists, or retirees.

Q: Are there prerequisites for any of our classes?

A: It depends. There are prerequisites for some of our classes and some that are open for everyone (including total beginners). For the Wood Technology Certificate classes, they need to be taken in order. WDTEC 10 first, then 20, then 30, then 40. Also, some classes are broken up but are required to be taken together. For example you must take WDTEC 10 + WDTEC 10L + WDTEC 11 concurrently. For the avocational classes, you must take them in order (WDTEC 271 goes before 272, and you must start with WDTEC 210A before the other 210’s).

Q: How do I enroll in Wood Technology classes?

A: If you are new to Laney College. Go to this webpage for instructions on registering. If you have enrolled and received a grade (including W or I) in a class within the last two semesters, use your current User ID and Password to access your Student Center to enroll in courses now. Select which semester, then select “Laney” from the campus options, then drop down to “Wood Technology” in the subject line. You don’t need to select anything else. Click “SEARCH” to show all Wood Tech classes. If you are looking for current class schedule/times click here.

Q: What time of day are our classes?

A: Both day and night. We currently offer the Core Certificate classes WDTEC 10, 10L, 11, and 20, 20L, 21 during the day (currently M-Th 8am-1pm). The second year of the Certificate program is offered as evening courses (currently Mon, Wed 6pm-10pm) to accommodate working students — typically students are hired in the field by the second year. There is also WDTEC 271 that is an avocational evening class (currently Tu, Th 6pm-10pm). The “Traditional Japanese Hand Tools and Joinery” classes are typically offered on Sat.

Q: If I am unavailable during the daytime, is there still an option to take the Core Certificate classes?

A: Coming Soon: Wood Technology will have mini Certifications and evening options for the Core Certificate vocational classes (WDTEC 10 and 20)!

Q: What is a good class to start with?

A: If you are interested in a vocational path (to gain skilled employment in the trades, improve upon existing skills, or to switch careers) WDTEC 10 is where to start and is the core of our Certificate programs. No previous experience required — but we also have many students with years of experience  who are interesting in professionalizing their skills and learning up-to-date technology used in the field today. If you are interested in avocational classes (woodworking for the home-based enthusiast) start with WDTEC 271.

Q: How long does it take to complete the certificate in Wood Technology?

A: Typically it takes 4 semesters to complete the certificate, however the second year is evening only twice per week. Assume 19 hours per week the first 2 semesters and 8 hours per week for the last 2 semesters. There have been students who have completed it in 3 semesters, but it’s a rigorous day/night schedule!

Q: What if I’m not interested in CAD/CAM and advanced digitized techniques and machining?

A: You can take the 1-year Certificate classes (WDTEC 10 and 20) which are based on traditional machining techniques, or take the “Artisans in Wood” classes, or take “Traditional Japanese Hand Tools and Joinery” classes.

Q: Will I get a job with a Certificate?

A: While we cannot guarantee a job placement, we have high rates of student employment and have strong relationships with cabinet shops and institutions in the bay area that are looking for Laney-trained woodworkers. Of course the hiring flows with the economy, but these days we have more requests for skilled labor than we have students available!

Attention Matriculating Students:

Career Technical Education counseling is available for students in Wood Technology. If you are a matriculating student and need to make an education plan or apply for your certificate, please call 510-464-3152 to schedule an appointment.