How To Become A Carpenter

From installing cabinets in a kitchen to helping in the designing of office buildings, the job of a carpenter is extremely versatile. This is also a job that requires great dexterity and physical stamina, but is rewarding to those who put in the effort. Are you interested in becoming a carpenter? Find out more about the job description, the job outlook, and required training to enter this career.

Carpenter Responsibilities
The basic responsibilities of these professionals involve:

  • Following blueprints and meeting client needs
  • Installing fixtures and structures ranging from windows to shelves in a house
  • Inspecting wooden structures for damage and repairing it immediately
  • Designing and constructing the building frameworks needed for the structure. This includes wall studs and doorframes.


Types of Carpenters
There are primarily three types of carpenters, who specialize in different types of construction needs. The first of these are residential carpenters. These professionals focus on houses and condominium buildings, and may be involved in tasks like building and setting forms for footings, walls, and slabs. They may also be required to frame the interior walls, build stairs, and lay wood floors and carpet, depending on their expertise. Commercial carpenters will work on remodeling and building commercial buildings - from offices to hotels and schools.

Some carpenters also specialize in the development of load-bearing steel frames for partitions and exterior framing, and are able to work with a broader range of materials on a larger scale then residential carpenters. Industrial carpenters work on the largest scale; setting up scaffolding in civil and industrial structures. They may also build tunnel bracing in mines or underground passageways to help air circulation. They may also build concrete forms for bridges, dams, and power plants.

Training and Skills
The most common route of becoming a carpenter is through a three or four year apprenticeship. You must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school education to be eligible for these programs. If you are accepted, you will be required to complete at least 144 hours of paid technical training and 2000 hours of paid on-the-job training for every year that you are an apprentice. This gives you sufficient time to gain practical experience in reading blueprints, operating equipment, and building to code requirements.

Being a carpenter is hard work. The profession requires high levels of physical endurance and a sharp sense of math and problem-solving to quickly arrive at solutions for work-related problems. You must have good manual dexterity to be able to handle tools, and should be detail oriented to maintain a close eye on the progress of the job. Attention to detail will help you ensure that the windows you recently installed have no leaks.

Job Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job market to grow by 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, which may imply a high number of opportunities that may become available. The median annual salary for 2010 was $39,530, but the top ten percent reported earnings of over $71,660. This makes carpentry an attractive career option.


Q:How long does it take to become a carpenter?

A:2-3 years of training through apprenticeship program is needed to become a skilled carpenter. No formal college education is required. There are many short training programs offered by vocational schools. The exact duration will basically depend upon the training program you choose. Take a look at our page for more information.

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