The trade of carpentry has been around for thousands of years, but nowadays the job includes mainly taking measurements, drawing up blueprints, gathering materials and installing wooden structures. Carpentry is the biggest of all building trades and involves several techniques within the trade, including cutting and shaping, creating a layout, attaching materials together and checking for precision or adjustments. Working both indoors and outside, carpenters must be prepared with their tools and power equipment. They must also be ready to endure in any lifting, climbing or bending that the job requires. If you are skilled at math, building and enjoy working with your hands, this might be the job for you!
To become a carpenter, one must have completed an apprenticeship program. After all the paperwork is said and done, skilled carpenters require good creativity and design skills. These workers must be experienced with hand and power tools, and aware of building regulations.
After gaining certification, carpenters must meet a set number of hours to be fully experienced. This experience can include small repairs or bigger installations on construction sites. Or, if one felt the need to specialize in a specific area, carpenters can gain more experience that can land them into major careers. Through all of this, carpenters gain excellent on-the-job training that can propel them into bigger projects later on.
Examples of Pre-Apprenticeship Skills
- Demonstrating the correct use of common tools
- Demonstrating job site safety
- Replacing windows, doors, and flooring
- Basic framing
- Building walls
- Building concrete frames and molds
- Installing interior finish and trims
Carpentry Work Includes:
- Design and layout: Carpenters measure, mark up, and rearrange materials throughout an object, such as wood
- Cutting and shaping: Carpenters mold wood or other materials into a certain shape through the use of hand or power tools
- Joining: Carpenters attach materials together by using nails, screws or adhesives
- Inspecting: Carpenters check the accuracy of their work through the use of levels or squares and make adjustments as needed
- Work environments: Both indoor and outdoor work for carpenters includes measuring, using tools properly, being creative and having good communications skills with fellow team members as well as customers
Opportunities for the Carpenter’s Career
There is always high demand for home or building remodeling, which makes up much of what carpenters do for a living. Some examples of businesses that would hire entry-level carpenters are land developers, general contractors and general remodeling companies. The skills involved in carpentry can prove beneficial for other similar jobs as well but carpenters tend to specialize in roofing, framing, installing drywall or insulation. A full registered apprenticeship is the way to go when seeking a career in carpentry which can lead to some of the following careers after more experience.
- Land developer
- General contractor
- Carpenter’s helper
- Construction inspector
Average Pay Rate
During pre-apprenticeship training, new carpenters receive anywhere between $10 to $14 an hour, depending on the employer. With continued training, those more experienced receive between $14 to $16 an hour. Once fully certified, the carpenter can make between $45,000 to $55,000 a year, again, depending on the employer or the location. Full certification takes about 3 to 4 years, but the process is definitely worth it.