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.
Education and Certifications
These occupations usually require a high school diploma. 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 simple tasks under the guidance of experienced carpenters.
Essential Career Information
For each year of a typical program, apprentices must complete 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training.
Apprentices learn carpentry basics, blueprint reading, mathematics, building code requirements, and safety and first aid practices. They also may receive specialized training in creating and setting concrete forms, rigging, welding, scaffold building, and working within confined workspaces.
All carpenters must pass the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10- and 30-hour safety courses.
Essential Salary Information
- $48,230.00 - Nonresidential Building Construction
- $45,850.00 - Building Finishing Contractor
- $41,280.00 - Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors
- $41,010.00 - Residential Building Construction
- $40,120.00 - Employment Services
- $33,880.00 - Other Wood Product Manufacturing
- Critical Thinking Skills. Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening Skills. Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Math Skills. Having the ability to use mathematics to solve problems.
- Operation Monitoring. Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Monitoring. Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.