A career in construction carpentry requires a high school diploma and completion of on-the-job training or an apprenticeship. It is possible to begin a career as a carpenter's assistant without completing high school or a GED. Those interested in pursuing a career in construction carpentry can familiarize themselves with working with tools and may want to consider vocational training or woodworking classes prior to entering this field.
Construction carpentry is a labor-intensive field that suits those who want to work with their hands. It can involve many different skill sets and job types. Carpenters learn through on-the-job training or an apprenticeship. In addition, people wishing to become carpenters need a high school diploma.
|Required Education||High school diploma||n/a|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training or apprenticeship||On-the-job training|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-28)*||8%||12%|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$46,590||$30,880|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Carpenter and carpenter helper jobs require use of hand and power tools and materials such as nails, screws, staples, adhesives and various other supplies. Carpentry workers in all specialties should have the skills and dexterity to work with a variety of tools, materials and workmates to get the job done.
Carpenters are skilled laborers who work throughout all areas of the construction industry. They are mostly employed by builders and construction contractors and often specialize in 1-2 specific types of carpentry, such as making cabinets or pouring concrete; however, many carpenters perform more general carpentry as well.
The two main types of carpentry are rough and finish. Carpenters working within rough carpentry generally work outdoors with unfinished wood and other raw building materials. These include materials such as drywall, fiberglass, plastic and insulation. Rough carpentry tasks include using blueprints or instructions to frame houses and buildings; building concrete forms for molding foundations and roads; hanging drywall; building scaffolding and other tasks set forth by construction foremen.
Finish carpenters typically work indoors doing the jobs that complete construction projects. These tasks comprise mounting windows and doors, laying hardwood floors, paneling rooms and installing interior molding.
Some other, more exotic specialties within the realm of construction carpentry include building tunnel bracings, erecting television or theater sets, constructing docks or wharves and even forming passageways to regulate air circulation to and from potentially hazardous worksites. Experienced carpenters can ascend to higher-level jobs such as crew supervisors and general superintendents of construction sites.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately one-third of all carpenters work independently by owning their own businesses (www.bls.gov). Around 22% of all carpenters worked in the industry of constructing residential buildings in 2018.
Employment for carpenters in general is expected to grow 8% from 2018-2028 due to population growth, demand for more energy-efficient buildings and an increase in the home remodeling market, as reported by the BLS. As the economy recovers, so does the employment outlook for carpenters. Jobs will be easiest to find by those with extensive training and experience and by individuals with specialized or all-around skills as opposed to carpenters who can carry out only simple tasks. Areas boasting larger population increases will also offer the best opportunities for employment in construction carpentry (www.bls.gov).
The BLS notes that the states with the most job opportunities for carpenter's helpers included Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Florida and California.
Job growth for carpenters is expected to be stable through 2024. Vocational training related to carpentry or completing woodworking courses prior to entering this field may be beneficial. Carpenters learn the trade through on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship.