Carpentry Adult Education Programs: A Summary

Mar 14, 2020

Learn about some common adult education opportunities for students wishing to become carpenters. Preview some of your options and find out what kind of requirements they have for potential students.

Program Information

Carpenters receive formal or informal training in their adult education, or a mixture of both. This education provides the necessary knowledge and skills for the carpenter to do his or her job. There are two main approaches of postsecondary instruction in the field of carpentry, though the student is best suited to judge how to mix and match certain facets of this adult education. In addition to informally learning on the job, students can find carpentry programs at community colleges and trade schools. These programs often include an apprenticeship and lead to an associate's degree upon completion, involving a great deal of hands-on experience. Due to the nature of the field, online programs of any kind are hard to find if available at all.

Programs At a Glance

Apprenticeship Program

  • Several Associate of Applied Science carpentry degrees come with an apprenticeship.
  • These 62 credit hour programs are typically completed entirely on-campus.

Carpentry Certificate

  • These certificates usually consist of 31 credit hours.
  • Most, if not all, will be completed on-campus.

Carpentry Degree

  • Associate of Applied Science in Carpentry degrees are typically completed fully on-campus
  • These degrees can consist of up to 102 credit hours worth of content.

Informal Training

Informal education for carpenters can be obtained directly through on-the-job experience. Many experienced carpenters hire assistants or laborers, who are instructed in the finer points of carpentry, eventually being handed more complex responsibilities. Benefits of being educated in the finer points of the carpentry trade range from the ability to develop industry contacts to gaining strong work experience. In addition to any educational or experience prerequisites, job requirements will vary between employers.

Formal Training

Formal education for carpenters usually comes in the form of trade schools or small colleges. Hands-on carpentry experience is factored into this education once academic fundamentals are instilled. This form of adult education is best suited to provide you a functional understanding of carpentry, applicable to large projects or supervisory positions. Programs may also have projects involving building some form of structure from scratch to demonstrate the skills you learned.

Program Topics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a carpentry apprenticeship takes three or four years and includes 2,000 on-the-job training hours and 144 technical training hours per year. Students may earn an associate's degree during the process. In addition to taking any required general education courses as part of an associate's degree program, students may learn about welding, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety regulations, blueprint reading, construction materials, tools and equipment, ceilings, framing, stairs and walls, layout, construction engineering, remodeling, applied mathematics and technology, professional woodworking, and building code requirements.

Career Information

According to the BLS, adult education programs in carpentry provide both woodworking and academic fundamentals. Students leave these carpentry education programs with skills relative to the trade, and they'll be able to take the designs of architects and engineers from paper to substance. Carpenters may be self-employed, work as contractors or seek work in residential and nonresidential building construction.

Job Outlook and Salary

The BLS reports that carpenters can expect to have a job growth of 8% between 2018 and 2028. However, job growth depends on the economy for this occupation. As of May 2018, the BLS reported that carpenters earned a median wage of $46,590, with most earning between $28,860 and $82,750 annually.

Certificates and associate's degrees are two avenues to gain the education and experience necessary to work as a carpenter, both potentially including an apprenticeship to build skills in the field. Informal training as an assistant or apprentice can also be found for those with little to no base experience.

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