Framing carpenters build the skeletons of all wood-frame structures, from single-family homes to small apartment buildings. Training in a carpentry program usually involves classroom instruction in addition to hands-on experiences offered on-campus and through internships. Graduates can go on to participate in apprenticeships with professional carpenters. Program fields include carpentry, building construction technology and framing carpentry.
Apprenticeships are common for all types of carpenters and such programs usually last 3-4 years. Admission to most programs will require a high school diploma.
Certificate in Framing Carpentry
Certificates are offered at the undergraduate level and generally take one semester to complete. Students often receive hands-on education through practical classroom experiences. Courses in a framing carpentry certificate program teach how to frame all aspects of a building, including stairs, floors, doors, walls, roofs and ceilings. Students learn about construction materials, geometry and power tools. Topics of study could include:
- Balloon framing
- Blueprint reading
- Platform framing
- Site layouts
- Wall systems
Associate's Degree in Carpentry and Building Construction Technology
Associate's degree programs in carpentry and building technology give framing carpenters training in overall building construction as well as relevant general education topics, like economics. Students receive hands-on training through classroom labs, internship programs or volunteer services. Potential framers learn to work as part of construction crews, installing walls, floor joists and roof coverings. Students learn to use power tools and stationary machines to cut, assemble and install pieces of lumber into structurally sound formations. Two-year associate's degree programs offer courses covering building codes and principles of material selection while challenging students to apply their skills to building construction, maintenance, remodeling and repair. Typical courses cover the following topics:
- Construction safety
- Finishes and trim
- Residential carpentry
- Site layouts
Graduates of an associate's degree program in carpentry are prepared to find work in home and light commercial construction fields. With some degree of practical experience, graduates could find work as:
- Assistant construction managers
- Building inspectors
- Cost estimators
- Framing carpenters
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 1,006,500 carpenters employed as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS anticipated a 8% increase in job opportunities for carpenters during the 2018-2028 decade. As of May 2018, BLS reports stated that carpenters earned a median annual wage of $46,590.
After completing an associate's degree program, students could obtain on-the-job training through apprenticeships. Alternately, some schools offer union-affiliated apprenticeship programs that can be completed simultaneously with the associate's degree coursework.
Framing carpentry training in a certificate or associate's degree program generally combine hands-on training with carpentry courses in a classroom. Graduates of these programs may be eligible to find work as contractors, framing carpenters, or assistant construction managers once they have some work experience.