How To Become a Carpenter

To become a Carpenter you must have a good eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance. To discover if this career is for you, take one of our free career aptitude quizzes.

Carpenters have many avenues for advancement. You could obtain certification in pump work or scaffold building. Other figures indicate the medium range for carpenters to be anywhere from $36,000 to about $43,000. Carpenters often work overtime.

Carpenter Salary

  • Average Annual Salary: $39,980
  • Expected Lifetime Earnings: $1,677,000

Carpenter – Education

Applicants do not need to have any formal training to be able to enter the professional field of carpentry, but most employers require a high school or GED test diploma. Most high schools offer courses that relate to carpentry such as woodworking, drafting, or mechanical drawing, and those interested in this interesting sector should follow these courses to gain the required skills to become successful in this industry. Following these courses and mastering the needed skills will definitely benefit candidates when they try to get accepted into an apprenticeship program. A good way to discover if this profession may be your thing, check out this free career quiz!

Many unions are offering apprenticeship educational and training programs for those who want to become carpenters, but applicants must be at least 17 years old before they will be able to apply for one of these apprenticeship programs. Candidates are usually selected according to their results at a both written and oral test, and once they have been accepted into an apprenticeship, the future carpenters will get three to four years of classroom training where they will be educated on all principles of carpentry.

Additionally, they will receive a lot of hands-on training given by well-experienced carpenters. Their classroom training includes courses in blueprint reading, structural design, as well as lessons on framing systems. At construction sites, or carpentry plants, the apprentices will be able to follow experienced carpenters, and here they will be able to learn via observation and hands-on experience.

Future carpenters also have the option to learn directly from contractors through on-the-job training, but experience has taught us that applicants who choose this pathway, usually need a longer time frame before they achieve the required skills to become successful in this professional field.

Carpenter – The Job

A carpenter is a highly skilled craftsman who is generally working in the construction business fabricating mostly constructions from wood. They may be creating stairs, ornate woodwork, or the framework of complete buildings. There are also carpenters who make or prefabricated structures such as cabinets in factories or shops, and other carpenters may be working at construction sites cutting and installing structural elements.

Many carpenters have specialized in a specific area of construction, but there are also many independent carpenters who run their own small business and often they can be working on a broader project range. We can divide carpenters roughly into two main categories depending on whether they work in finish carpentry or in rough carpentry.

Finish Carpenters are generally making furniture, cabinetry, models, or instruments. These professionals need to be very detail-focused and must be able to work efficiently on small scales. They often can be found in shops, but there are also finish carpenters who work at construction sites to install fine cabinets, trim, or some other furnishings.

They may also create detailed, ornate wood products for any other use. Finish carpenters have the option to specialize in a specific field. Trim carpenters, for example, concentrate on trim and molding for casings, windows, mantels, and doors, while cabinetmakers, not surprisingly, mainly will work on cabinets, but they may also create or refine dressers, storage chests, or wardrobes. Then we also see scenic carpenters, and these professionals can be found in the film business where they are crafting the most elaborate film sets.

Rough Carpenters usually can be found working outdoors at major construction sites. These professionals typically will be using blueprints to be able to figure out how much of which material is required for their job, and when the materials are delivered, they will, in accordance with specifications, cut these materials into specific sizes.
Rough carpenters generally use a variety of tools, from woodworking machines to hand saws and power saws. Once the materials are cut to a specific size, rough carpenters assemble or join these parts into larger elements, and sometimes they need to build scaffolding or some other temporary support structure to be able to move these elements or parts into place.

Where do they work?

Carpenters can be found working either indoors or outdoors, it all depends on their specific jobs, specializations, and assignments. Finish carpenters usually will be working indoors in factories or shops, while rough carpenters generally can be found working outdoors. All carpenters generally have physically pretty demanding and intensive jobs, and they are usually required to stand up or bend over while they are cutting and joining wood elements, or working with wood materials. Carpenters are using heavy and sharp equipment, so they need to very conscious of safety and they must at all times follow company safety rules and safety standards at construction sites.

Job outlook & earnings

The professional outlook of carpenters may be called pretty good. Over the next decade, the expectation is that a growth of some 20 percent is realistic, and this is more than for the average sector. The growth of our population will result in more new-home construction, and this is a stimulant need for new work, and home remodeling will also benefit the demand for professionals in the carpentry industry.

In 2014, the median hourly wage for carpenters was $19,80, and the average annual income was $39,980. The average salary for carpenters, just like any profession, depends on a range of factors, such as experience, educational level, type of industry, company size, and geographic location.


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