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Online Schools with Degrees for Becoming a Carpenter: How to Choose

Due to the hands-on nature of the industry, there are few, if any, online degree programs in carpentry. There are, however, several associate's degree programs in construction management or construction technology management that include instruction in the basics of a carpenter's work.

Students interested in studying carpentry online should research schools that offer online associate's degree programs related to construction management. We will look at some of the factors that may play a role in your decision, like what courses are offered, how the classes will be delivered, whether a hands-on component is required, and if so, what kind.

How to Select an Online Carpentry School

Carpentry education is available through trade schools, community colleges and on-the-job training. Online associate's degree programs are available in the related specialties of construction management or construction management technology. Along with on-the-job experience and apprenticeships, associate degree programs provide the skills needed for employment in the industry.

Class Types

Some programs allow students to access lectures online at any time or join in scheduled classes through video conferencing. Other programs are hybrids, allowing students to take some courses online and some on campus.

Course Coverage

These degree programs require general education courses that may include public speaking, English composition and mathematics. Students take courses in safety procedures and building specifications. They learn about construction materials and surveying. Other courses may cover cost estimating and project scheduling.

Hands-on Components

Many degree programs require that students gain hands-on experience in the construction industry prior to graduation, while some arrange union apprenticeships for graduates. In order to become a journey worker (someone who can work alone) in a union, a carpenter must complete a 3- or 4-year paid apprenticeship.

Overview of an Online Associate's Degree in Construction Management

Although online degree programs specifically in carpentry are not common, programs in construction management offer a theoretical introduction to carpentry skills, tools and methods. Some are designed for the entrepreneur wishing to start his own business, while others train students in residential construction or construction management. Usually there are no specific requirements for entry, but a background in carpentry is helpful. Students generally need to supplement the theoretical training an online program offers with hands-on training from apprenticeships or in-person training programs. Some programs offer union apprenticeships upon graduation. Graduates are awarded an associate's degree in construction management or construction technology management.

Program Information and Requirements

These online associate's degree programs normally allow students to participate anytime at their own pace. Some schools also offer a hybrid format combining distance and in-person education, or interactive video conferencing courses via an information highway. Some provide community forums for communication with peers throughout the degree program. Tutoring and instructor guidance are also done remotely.

Students need access to a personal computer and the Internet to access course textbooks, outlines, assignments, exams and live lectures. Some schools use a learning management system to manage their program, such as Moodle.

List of Common Online Courses

Courses in these online degree programs typically include areas of construction math, planning, scheduling, installation, design, laws, drawings, and safety planning and administration Some common general education courses include business, communications, management and accounting. A few of the common courses and their descriptions are listed below.

Introduction to Carpentry and Construction Methods Course

This course introduces the methods and tools used in carpentry and construction. Some of the topics covered include hand and power tools, exterior and interior finishes, framing, masonry, structures, brick masonry, roofing, ceilings and floors.

Drawings, Specifications and Estimating Course

Students learn to read and interpret construction blueprints and specifications used to estimate and manage construction projects. Topics include the lines, site improvements, manufacturing facilities, surveys, grades and foundations used in plumbing, electrical, mechanical, residential and commercial documents.

Project Planning and Scheduling Course

This class introduces construction planning and scheduling and the mechanics and vocabulary used. Students also examine computer-based planning, Gantt charts, resource allocation, production, language and logic used in construction management.

Continuing Training and Education Information

Graduates of these programs usually begin their employment in the field as an apprentice. Many states require a specific number of years or hours worked in apprenticeship before becoming a carpenter.

Students who wish to pursue further college education have options in bachelor's and master's degree programs. These programs typically offer majors in construction engineering.

Schools with Online Carpentry Programs

Ashworth College offers an Associate's in Construction Management degree. This program requires students to possess a high school diploma or GED to qualify. The program takes four semesters to complete, though students can complete the semesters at their own pace depending on how quickly they want to earn the degree. While the course is offered entirely online, students can opt to participate in a live graduation ceremony if they wish.

Courses in Penn Foster College's online Associate's in Construction Technology focus on light commercial and residential construction. Students learn about construction materials, planning, green building practices and construction methods. Most courses are online, but a resident lab course or equivalent work experience is required.

Students interested in earning a carpentry degree online have a few options available to them, though some will require a hands-on component. Beyond that factor, students may also want to consider whether programs will adequately prepare them to find jobs or become apprentices, or return to school to earn more advanced degrees


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