How to Become a Carpenter

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


Carpentry is a very important field that assists in the construction of many different structures such as buildings, houses, retail spaces, roads, bridges, and other structures. Carpenters are skilled craftspeople that work with a variety of materials to construct, install, and maintain structures and other objects.

What does a carpenter do?

Carpenters are engaged in a variety of different kinds of construction from making kitchen cabinets to building highways. They build, install, and repair fixtures and structures made from wood and a variety of other materials. Most tasks involve the same fundamental steps such as working with instructions or blueprints and creating the layout of the projects. They measure, mark, and organize materials according to the required codes for building. They also cut and shape materials using a variety of different tools. They then join the materials and complete a final check to make sure the work is accurate and if necessary they make adjustments.

Some carpenters complete a variety of different tasks and others focus on one or two. Since carpenters are highly trained they can usually switch from a variety of different construction projects with no problems.

What kind of training does a carpenter need?

Carpenters must have at least a high school diploma. Some carpenters work their way up by starting as assistants to carpenters. Many vocational and trade schools and community colleges offer training in carpentry. Some employers offer apprenticeships, which are programs that combine classroom training with on the job experience. Carpenters learn basic structure design and become familiar with the general carpentry jobs such as form building, layout, rough framing, and finishing. They learn how to read blueprints, safety and first aid procedures, basic mathematics, freehand sketching, and many carpentry methods. They also learn how to use tools, equipment, machines, and materials. If you have the necessary skills and inclination, you can become a carpenter in a relatively short amount of time. In some cases, aspiring carpenters have developed a successful carpentry career in as little as six months.

What are the prospects for a career as a carpenter?

Employment of carpenters is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 10% through 2016 (1). Increased construction of new houses, buildings, roads, and other structures and renovation projects will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good, especially for carpenters with advanced training and skills. Job opportunities will also be driven by the need to replace carpenters who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do carpenters make?

Currently, the middle 50% of carpenters earned annual salaries between $32,506 and $46,765. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $54,255 (2).

For anyone interested in whether or how to become a carpenter, this may be a great choice for people interested in carpentry, woodworking or building things in general. Carpenters must have good physical fitness, great hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, and a good sense of balance. They must also be able to solve arithmetic problems in an accurate and fast manner.

Becoming a Carpenter Requires Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Carpenter? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the College Mouse Degree Search tool to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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