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Carpenter Vs. Electrician

Although carpenters and electricians have similar training requirements, electricians must also be licensed, and they earn higher salaries. Read on to learn more about what these construction professionals do and how their careers compare.

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Comparing Carpenters to Electricians

Carpenters and electricians often work together at construction sites. Carpenters help create from wood the framework for buildings, while electricians run the wiring and install electrical components to ensure that everything in the structure that runs off of electricity will work properly.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Carpenters High school diploma, apprenticeship $43,600 8%
Electricians High school diploma, apprenticeship and license $52,720 9%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Carpenters vs. Electricians

Both carpenters and electricians may be responsible for delegating tasks to apprentices or others as part of their duties. Carpenters are responsible for using wood to build structures and installing things like wood trim and moldings, and their work also involves connecting pieces of wood. Electricians install the electrical systems and must connect the wiring to power sources. Carpenters and electricians have different objectives and work with different types of materials but both carpenters and electricians work in similar environments using many of the same types of tools. Both carpenters and electricians may repair or replace damaged materials.

Carpenters

Carpenters work with wood to build products or structures. Many carpenters are employed in the construction industry, while others may have their own business. They typically work during the day and evening, weather permitting. Although it isn't required, some carpenters may opt to pursue certificate programs to develop their skills. They use heavy equipment and spend long periods of time working on their feet so they need to be physically fit. Experienced carpenters may be able to advance to a supervisory role.

Job responsibilities of a carpenter include:

  • Reviewing technical documents
  • Replacing windows
  • Cutting wood
  • Installing cabinets
  • Measuring materials
  • Operating tools

Electricians

Electricians work on electrical systems that may be installed in buildings or outside. It's common for them to work on construction sites where they will wire new homes that are being built or repair existing systems on buildings that are being remodeled. Some work at factories. It's common for electricians to work during the day and evening but their work schedules can be affected by weather, so there are times of the year when they may not work as many hours. Electricians need to be fit because their work involves standing and carrying equipment.

Job responsibilities of an electrician include:

  • Driving to worksites
  • Performing tests to identify the source of electrical issues
  • Studying technical documents to locate electrical systems
  • Operating power tools
  • Creating electrical system design plans for new buildings
  • Supervising apprentices

Related Careers

Those interested in becoming a carpenter may also be interested in a career as a welder because welders also construct things but use metal instead of wood. Aspiring electricians may also want to consider a career as an electrical engineering technician because electrical engineering technicians also repair electrical systems but work on equipment rather than buildings.

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