What does a carpenter do? A carpenter reads blueprints, measures and cuts all types of materials, and is proficient with a variety of classic and modern tools. Carpenters create the framework of doors, walls, rafters, and other areas of a building. They also install various products such as trim and cabinets. Find a carpentry school near you.
- Rough carpenter: You’ll work on large projects where you will go over the site blueprints to determine what materials are necessary to complete the job. Once you’ve figured that out, then you’ll measure and cut the materials specification, using tools of your trade. You may need to build a scaffold or other type of structure for temporary support.
- Finish (Trim) carpenter: You will make furniture, cabinets, and fine wood pieces. You’re also called a joiner, and you enter a project once it’s ready for the details such as crown molding, stairs, doors, windows. There will be a lot of collaboration when you work as a finish carpenter, so you need to be a decent communicator. Super fine attention to detail is necessary for this job.
How to Become a Carpenter
Most likely, you’ll learn the trade through an apprenticeship but some of the best trade schools offer carpentry programs too. If being a carpenter is your goal, then here’s what you’re going to need to do:
- Get your high school diploma or GED.
- Go to school
- Or, Start working as an apprentice under a more experienced carpenter.
- Or, find an apprenticeship through a union or contractor association.
- You could also start out as a construction laborer, and move over to carpentry.
- Consider getting some voluntary certifications such as the Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training or one of many from the National Association of Remodeling Industry.
On average, a carpenter earns over $43K annually. Factors weighing into your pay will be the industry you’re employed in, where you live, and how much experience you have. Just starting out, when you’re working as an apprentice, you make a small percentage of what an experienced carpenter does, but that goes up in tandem with your experience. Nonresidential building carpenters earn $48K, which is the highest paying in carpentry. The top 10 percent of carpenters earn close to $80K.
In carpentry, there is a predicted 8 percent employment growth, which translates to 84,000 new jobs through 2026. New home construction will be the largest employer of carpenters, and an emerging area will be prefab and modular homes. Have a great set of your own tools, then job prospects should be fantastic.