About the Job

Carpenters build and repair framework and structures, which can entail working with wood or steel framing, stairways, doorways, and rafters. They may also build and install cabinets and drywall. Alternatively, many carpenters become specialized in artisan millwork or room finishing.

What You’ll Do

Carpenters perform many different tasks during their workdays. They need to be able to read and understand construction documents, plans, and specifications. They also install many different building components, including windows, cabinets, and doors, and have to be able to measure and cut wood accurately as well as properly construct walls, floors, and doorways. They may rely on cranes and other large equipment for assistance when constructing building frameworks.

The following are examples of types of carpenters:

  • Residential primarily work with residential housing.
  • Commercial work with office, retail, school, and hospital buildings, as well as other large projects.
  • Industrial work in factory settings where they build scaffolding or concrete building components

Qualities and Skills Needed

Business skills
Detail oriented
Manual dexterity
Advanced Math skills
Physical stamina
Physical strength
Problem-solving skills

Education Required

An apprenticeship is the typical launchpad for a career in carpentry. However, some aspiring carpenters may begin as assistants without having had any formal training. Either way, a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Mathematical skills are crucial in this career, so special attention should be paid to mathematics coursework in school.

An aspiring carpenter can also attend a two-year technical school to earn a carpentry degree. Many credits earned during apprenticeships can be counted toward an associate’s degree.

Many carpenters go on to become independent contractors or construction superintendents. Carpenters tend to have a vast understanding of the entire construction process, which allows them to advance their careers quickly.

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The average starting salary is $30,442. With experience, they can possibly earn up to or over $53,057.