A carpenter is a craftsperson who is skilled at building structures or cabinetry.
When you become a carpenter, you have a qualification and trade you can use for life.
If you have good manual dexterity, attention to detail, and a strong work ethic, then you might consider carpentry as a career.
Broadly speaking, there are two different areas of carpentry that a carpenter may specialize in.
The first is structural carpentry, sometimes known as building, which involved creating the structures for building or houses.
A joiner or cabinet maker specializes in detailed work, such as cornice, joining, fine details, cabinets, or furniture.
Education Requirements to Become a Carpenter
If you are still in high school but have ambitions to become a carpenter, you should concentrate on doing well in math, and also shop if your school offers it.
It’s a good time to learn how to use woodworking tools.
After high school there are a couple of different ways to become a carpenter.
The first is to complete an apprenticeship.
These usually take four years to complete and combine on the job learning with classroom theory.
You won’t earn a lot of money, but will get good opportunity to learn your craft.
Apprenticeship places are few, and entry can be very competitive.
You could also look for an entry level job for a carpenter, or carpentry company.
While you will still be learning on the job, you will only be exposed to some types of carpentry and will not get the same level of opportunity offered in an apprenticeship.
The third way to become a carpenter is to complete a carpentry degree at vocational college.
This will give you a broad knowledge base, and open the door to many job opportunities later on.
To become a carpenter you will need good manual dexterity, good balance, and a decent level of fitness.
Problem solving and math skills are also important.
Many carpenters are self-employed and deal directly with clients, so developing good interpersonal skills is also an integral part of the job.
Carpenter Job Description
A carpenter completes a wide range of tasks, usually involving construction.
A carpenter can also modify and repair existing structures.
Most carpenters will specialize in a specific area.
For instance some will work on completing new homes, others renovations, and some repairs.
Others may work in woodshops, while others may work with joinery and fine detail or making furniture.
When you become a carpenter, you should prepare yourself for work which is physically demanding.
You could find yourself spending long days on your feet, or bending over in awkward positions.
Much of the work is done outside.
Here are some of the tasks a carpenter may complete:
- Reading blueprints
- Working out mathematical equations
- Ordering stock and supplies
- Maintaining a set of tools
- Completing structures
- Completing repair work
- Joinery and cabinet making
Carpenter Salary and Career Path
Most carpenters will begin their career as an apprentice, or a laborer.
Once you have gained the necessary skills needed, you can expect to be given more responsibility and more difficult tasks.
Many carpenters are self-employed.
After a few years on the job you may decide to go out on your own.
This can mean a greater income, but also the challenge of finding work, as well as keeping your own books and records.
You also need to work closely with your clients in this instance.
The median salary for a qualified carpenter is $38,000 a year.
Those with specialized skills in areas such as cabinet making or joinery could expect to earn more.
Many carpenters move on to become building supervisors, builders, and project managers.
Some open their own companies and consultancy firms in this field.
Some similar roles to a carpenter that you might be interested in include:
If you’re looking for a trade and degree that will secure you employment for many years to come, then working as a carpenter might be a good career path for you.
When you become a carpenter, you attain a secure income now, and also the option to explore similar career paths, such as a builder of project manager, later on in life.