Newly fitted kitchen by kitchen fitterHow to become a kitchen fitter

If you’re good with your hands, hardworking, with excellent people skills, kitchen fitting could offer you an interesting and rewarding career.

If you’re looking for a job that involves physical work and makes the most of your practical skills, you might want to consider a career as a kitchen fitter.

What does being a kitchen fitter involve?

Basically speaking, a kitchen fitter role involves removing old units and worktops and replacing them with new ones. This involves a number of different aspects including measuring out the work area, cutting worktops and units to size, fitting units and appliances, tiling and laying flooring, and clearing up at the end of the job. As a kitchen fitter you will be expected to follow health and safety regulations, and you will use a range of hand and power tools in your day-to-day work.

Qualifications and skills

There are no set qualifications needed to become a kitchen fitter, but there are college courses in installation available which will give you a good grounding in the basics. Experience or qualifications in other trades such as plumbing, plastering or joinery can also prove useful. A common way to enter the industry is to complete an apprenticeship with a building company, before specialising in kitchen fitting.

As being a kitchen fitter is so varied, there are a number of skills you need to possess or develop in order to succeed in this career. Carpentry is obviously a core skill for this job but, as mentioned above, other practical skills such as plumbing, electrics, stone cutting and tiling will also stand you in good stead. While you may not undertake these tasks yourself, you will need to know what is required and how to determine if the job has been done to a satisfactory standard. You will also need to understand building regulations, and be able to understand and follow technical drawings.

Aside from practical abilities, kitchen fitters also need to possess several ‘softer’ skills. A lot of your time will be spent dealing with customers, so it’s important that you are good with people and have strong communication skills. Equally, you will need to be organised and able to work to deadlines.

Career prospects

Kitchen fitters can find work in a number of different organisations, including kitchen manufacturers and retailers, design agencies and building firms. You also have the option of striking out on your own and starting your own kitchen fitting business – perfect if you like being your own boss.

As a kitchen fitter, your annual salary will be determined by your level of experience and skill. Kitchen fitters who are just starting out can expect to earn between £13,500 and £16,000 per year, whereas, at the other end of the scale, a highly experienced kitchen fitter could earn up to around £35,000. Of course, self-employed fitters can set their own prices but these will need to largely coincide with market rates.

When it comes to career prospects, there are a number of options available to kitchen fitters who are looking to progress. If the creative side of the job interests you most, you could undertake further training in computer-aided design (CAD) and move into planning and design. Alternatively, if you’re a kitchen fitter working for a large company, you could move up the ladder to become a project manager leading a team of fitters.

Kitchen fitting is not easy. You need to have good practical skills as well as being strong and physically fit. But if you’re looking for an interesting yet practical hands-on career with scope for development, this could be the right path for you.