How to Become an Apprentice Carpenter

Find out how to become an apprentice carpenter. Research the training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your apprenticeship in carpentry. View article »

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Video Transcript

Should I Become an Apprentice Carpenter?

An apprentice carpenter works under the supervision of an experienced carpenter, learning necessary skills through on-the-job training. This training covers blueprint reading, fundamental carpentry skills, mathematics, and construction safety.

Apprentices are paid during this period, allowing for an income while receiving an education. Carpentry work can be physically demanding, and work must often be accomplished outdoors in all kinds of weather.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2015 that the median annual income for carpenters was $42,090.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent
Experience Apprenticeship
Key Skills Attention to detail; math and problem-solving skills; use of hand and power tools; strength, stamina, and hand-eye coordination
Salary (2015) $42,090 (median for all carpenters)

Sources: United Brotherhood of Carpenters, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Working as an apprentice requires a high school diploma and no special training. The job of an apprentice is about learning and training, you do need to have strength, stamina, and hand-eye coordination. You'll also need an understanding of mathematics, attention to detail, problem-solving skills, and the ability to use hand and power tools.

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Steps to Become an Apprentice Carpenter

Let's take a look at the steps you'll take to become an apprentice carpenter.

Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma, Work Experience, or Vocational Training

Carpentry apprenticeship programs typically include some form of basic education among the requirements for entry. A high school diploma or its equivalent is often the education chosen. Some programs allow high school students who are close to graduation to begin apprenticeships on promise of receiving a diploma.

  • Take classes in drafting, mathematics, and carpentry. High school courses in these subjects may lead to an easier understanding of the topics discussed during an apprenticeship.

Step 2: Enter a Formal Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeships are offered by many employers and may be sponsored and monitored by the U.S. government. The United States Department of Labor has an office that registers apprenticeships. Registered apprenticeships allow individuals to learn valuable job skills, and carpenters are among the top users of this program. Apprentice carpenters get hands-on training while earning a paycheck. In some cases, an employer may even pay for the apprentice to take college courses or to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Completing an apprenticeship program can take 3-4 years, after which time carpenters become journey workers. Exposure to so many of the other construction trades in this occupation can provide the knowledge needed to become a general contractor or supervisor. Per the BLS, it is also advantageous to be able to speak English as well as Spanish for advancement.

Becoming a carpenter apprentice, involves graduating from high school and finding an apprenticeship program.

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