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Joinery Apprenticeships: Program Information and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a joiner. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and apprenticeships to find out if this is the career for you.

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Joinery is an area of specialization within carpentry, and can be learned through a 3 to 4-year apprenticeship offered by a carpentry union. With a high school diploma or a GED, those who are 18 years of age or older can pursue one of these apprenticeships.

Essential Information

Joinery is a specific subset of carpentry that involves cutting and fitting wood joints without the use of nails. Though joinery is rarely practiced as a profession anymore, experienced joiners can find work as professional carpenters. Aspiring joiners gain most of their experience through apprenticeships and practical work, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America can connect professionals with the apprenticeships they need to succeed. This occupation is perfect for people who are interested in specializing in carpentry.

Career Title Carpenter
Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements Apprenticeship programs are generally required to be a professional joiner or carpenter
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $42,090

Source: *U.S. Department of Labor

Joinery Apprenticeship Program Information

Many joiners learn professional skills through apprenticeship programs that combine classroom education and on-the-job training. These programs are generally offered by carpentry unions and construction contractors and take 3-4 years to complete. In the classroom, apprentices learn safety procedures, how to read blueprints and various carpentry methods. While training on the job, apprentices gain paid, hands-on experience under the supervision of journeypersons or experienced carpenters. They also learn to use carpentry tools and become familiar with different aspects of carpentry, such as layout, framing and finishing.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA) is one organization that offers apprenticeship programs focused on various aspects of carpentry through its local sectors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 19% of carpenters were reported to be members of the UBCJA in May 2008 (www.bls.gov). Individuals interested in learning about joinery may complete their apprenticeship programs in cabinetmaking, millwork or carpentry.

Joinery Apprenticeship Program Requirements

Specific apprenticeship eligibility requirements depend on the union's local sectors. Most programs require applicants to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants must be physically fit to meet the labor demands of the occupation and pass qualifying tests to prove basic math and measuring aptitude. Potential apprentices may also be required to become members of the union through which the programs are offered. There are generally no application or tuition fees involved with apprenticeship programs.

Apprenticeship Preparation

Apprenticeship programs are limited and acceptance is competitive. Candidates can prepare for apprenticeship programs by taking math and wood shop classes in high school or attending carpentry programs for the youth. The UBCJA and the U.S. Department of Labor offer Job Corps, pre-apprenticeship training programs for aspiring carpenters ages 16-24. Job Corps programs are available at 100 locations nationwide and can last up to two years. Under the instruction of professionals, students learn basic carpentry skills through hands-on training. Students accepted into these programs are compensated with a cash allowance, housing, healthcare, clothing and counseling services.

Career and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), carpentry jobs are predicted to increase 6% from 2014-2024, which is as fast as average. The agency also reported that carpenters earned a median salary of $42,090 in 2015.

There is a lot of competition for acceptance into carpentry apprenticeship programs. Applicants can improve their chance of acceptance is by taking math and wood shop classes during high school or completing a youth carpentry program.

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