Carpenters: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required. High school courses in mathematics, mechanical drawing, and general vocational technical training are considered useful. Some technical schools offer associate’s degrees in carpentry. The programs vary in length and teach basics and specialties in carpentry.
Training Required
Carpenters typically learn on the job and through apprenticeships and learn the proper use of hand and power tools on the job. They often begin doing simpler tasks under the guidance of experienced carpenters. For example, they start with measuring and cutting wood, and learn to do more complex tasks, such as reading blueprints and building wooden structures.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 8% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Advancement
Carpenters are involved in many phases of construction and may have opportunities to become first-line supervisors, independent contractors, or general construction supervisors.
Licenses/Certifications
Many carpenters need a driver’s license or reliable transportation, since their work is done on jobsites.
Median pay: How much do Carpenters make?
$43,600 Annual Salary
$20.96 per hour

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

What do Carpenters do?

Carpenters typically do the following:

  • Follow blueprints and building plans to meet the needs of clients
  • Install structures and fixtures, such as windows and molding
  • Measure, cut, and shape wood, plastic, and other materials
  • Construct building frameworks, including walls, floors, and doorframes
  • Erect, level, and install building framework with the aid of rigging hardware and cranes
  • Inspect and replace damaged framework or other structures and fixtures
  • Instruct and direct laborers and other construction helpers

Carpenters are a versatile occupation in the construction industry, with workers usually doing many different tasks. For example, some carpenters insulate office buildings and others install drywall or kitchen cabinets in homes. Those who help construct tall buildings or bridges often install wooden concrete forms for cement footings or pillars and are commonly referred to as rough carpenters. Rough carpenters also erect shoring and scaffolding for buildings.

Carpenters use many different tools to cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall. They commonly use hand tools, including squares, levels, and chisels, as well as many power tools, such as sanders, circular saws, nail guns, and welding machines.

Carpenters fasten materials together with nails, screws, staples, and adhesives, and check their work to ensure that it is precisely completed. They use tape measures on nearly every project to quickly measure distances. Many employers require applicants to supply their own tools.

The following are examples of types of carpenters:

Careers for Carpenters

  • Apprentice carpenters
  • Beam builders
  • Brattice builders
  • Building carpenters
  • Carpenter apprentices
  • Commercial carpenters
  • Construction carpenters
  • Counter installers
  • Custom wood stair builders
  • Finish carpenters
  • Hardwood floor installers
  • House carpenters
  • Industrial carpenters
  • Residential carpenters
  • Rough carpenters
  • Wood floor layers

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