Those who wish to embark upon a career in automotive upholstery must first undergo specialized upholstery training. Many options are available to those who want to learn the trade: Some schools offer hands-on education while others offer distance upholstery courses, and students can also elect to undergo an upholstery apprenticeship.
The Need for Automotive Upholstery Training
Becoming an automotive upholsterer requires the development of a unique skill-set. Automotive upholstery may be similar to other sorts of upholstery, but those who craft, restore and customize it must do so to certain special considerations. For instance, car seats need to conform to automobile safety regulations. Craftsmen need to undergo special training to learn about these regulations and to design upholstery that does not interfere with safety systems.
Automotive Upholstery Schools
Upholstery schools such as San Diego CET, which offers a certificate program in Automotive Upholstery, gives students both classroom-style training in theory and extensive hands-on training as well. Although such schools may be the only truly comprehensive training option, attending an automotive upholstery school is relatively costly and time-consuming. In addition, attending an automotive upholstery school may require relocation, which is both expensive and inconvenient.
Training Using Available Resources
Those who want to learn the tricks of the trade can elect to undergo automotive upholstery training by themselves—by reading instructional books or watching DVDs. For instance, author Don Taylor has written a book entitled "Automotive Upholstery Handbook" that teaches readers how to make and install complete interiors for automobiles while avoiding expensive mistakes. For those who prefer to learn via video, Concours d' Elegance Upholstery offers a full training course consisting of eleven videos that teaches everything from basic sewing to making seat foam cushions and custom rugs. These resources can be sourced from Amazon or specialist online retailers like Motorbooks.
Would-be learners may opt to accept an upholstery apprenticeship with an automotive upholsterer. You can use this option as your only training program to get started in the trade or you can combine it with the above methods. Accepting an upholstery training apprenticeship provides invaluable hands-on experience from someone who is already part of the trade. Would-be apprentices can get information on upholsterers needing apprentices from instructors or local auto mechanic shopowners, who may also know shops that do classic car restoration.
Other Automotive Upholstery Training Options
Local or regional professional trade organizations like the Professional Upholsterers' Association of Minnesota either offer training courses themselves or provide links to reputable businesses and/or private trainers who do. Such organizations are an excellent source of learning resources such as books, manuals or videos. In addition, some schools provide automotive upholstery training that is part and parcel of other training courses, such as courses in Automotive Technology, for example. WyoTech, which has campuses in Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Florida and California, and Clover Park Technical College in Washington, are examples of such schools.
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