Become a Carpentry Supervisor: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become a carpentry supervisor. Learn about the job duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in carpentry supervision.

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Should I Become a Carpentry Supervisor?

Carpentry supervisors coordinate, monitor, advise, and support the activities of carpentry workers. Carpenters' work involves following building plans, installing structures, measuring and cutting wood and other materials, and constructing frameworks. The supervisor's work may become stressful when deadlines approach or if emergency situations arise. Overtime is common in the carpentry field, and both indoors and outdoors work is needed. The median annual salary in May 2015 for all first line supervisors of construction trades extraction workers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was $62,070.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma
Experience Varies, combination of experience and education in field required
Certification Voluntary
Key Skills Time management, management, communication, human resource, and reasoning skills; familiarity with scheduling, database, project management and spreadsheet software; use of power saws, screwdrivers, various construction tools; safety skills; construction knowledge

Sources: Job postings (February 2013), ONet Online

Steps to Become a Carpentry Supervisor

Step 1: Complete Postsecondary Schooling

High school graduates who want to pursue careers as carpentry supervisors might want to consider a 4-year apprenticeship certificate program. Apprenticeships often combine up to 150 classrooms hours with 2,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training. Students take courses in framing, design, and blueprint reading, as well as geometric mathematics and cost estimating. Graduates typically receive a certificate of completion and become journeymen.

Prospective carpentry supervisors also might choose to attend a technical or community college associate's degree program in carpentry, construction management, or building technology. These programs typically last two years and include general education classes, as well as courses in construction design, foundation framework, and roof framing. Students might explore topics like estimating, surveying, and welding, in addition to receiving hands-on instruction with power tools as well as lumber and other building materials. Most programs also have relationships with local construction companies, which could lead to internships or entry-level job opportunities.

Step 2: Gain Entry-Level Employment

Entry-level carpenters typically perform routine tasks, such as using blueprints and plans to verify dimensions; measuring, cutting and installing windows and other structures; constructing framework like doorframes and joists; and directing laborers and other construction helpers. Other duties might include keeping records, maintaining tools, and performing minor installations or repair work. Duties may vary depending on whether a carpentry job is a residential, commercial, or industrial assignment.

Gain Experience in Supervisory Tasks

Any tasks related to leading, such as project management, cost estimation, or coordination of laborers can prove beneficial to advancing to supervisory roles within a company. Supervisory positions in carpentry also often require skills in contractor scheduling, blueprint reading, budgeting, problem-solving, progress reporting, and bidding.

Step 3: Earn Voluntary Certification

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) certifies qualifying candidates as Certified Lead Carpenters (CLC). Although not mandated to become a carpentry supervisor, the CLC credential can lead to more job opportunities. This optional certification requires at least five years of continuous practice, with at least two in a supervisory role. Qualifying candidates must successfully complete a written exam and annually renew their credentials through continuing education or other NARI-accepted methods.

To become a carpentry supervisor, you'll need basic training in carpentry skills along with experience in the field, and you may consider certification.

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