Carpenter Classes and Courses Overview

Carpentry is a skilled trade that requires the ability to use tools and plan projects in accordance with building code and safety standards. Keep reading to find out more about classes in this field and get some essential information for students seeking a careers as carpenters.

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Essential Information

Most carpenter classes and courses lead to a certificate or associate's degree. Graduates can work in many different specialty areas including residential and commercial carpentry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 3 carpenters are self-employed, so some courses include basic business skills for carpenters like cost estimating and project planning. Primarily, however, students will learn about tools, materials and building techniques.

Carpentry skills can be applied to residential or commercial remodeling, cabinet making and exterior and interior trim. Coursework in carpentry classes commonly includes instruction in building safety, construction codes, framing and site layout. These courses are widely available at technical schools and colleges. Hands-on practice is emphasized in most classes.

Common topics might include:

  • Basic math for carpenters
  • Use of power tools
  • Safety and OSHA requirements
  • Building code
  • Woodworking techniques

List of Carpenter Courses

Fundamentals of Residential and Light Commercial Carpentry

Introductory carpentry classes provide students with an overview of the methods and technologies used in residential and light commercial carpentry and are typically taken at the beginning of a carpentry program. Hands-on experience and lectures make up the class content, which can cover building codes, site layout, estimating, interior and exterior finishes, framing and cabinetry. Additional subjects of instruction may include footing and foundation forming, concrete specifications, OSHA/WISHA construction safety standards and basic carpentry math.

Advanced Residential Carpentry

Advanced residential carpenter classes focus on teaching students techniques in planning, measuring, installing fixtures and reading blueprints. Students learn about distance measurement and leveling and also review the equipment and tools used in site layout. Other advanced topics covered are exterior wall components and systems, insulation and applied building codes. Students in advanced carpentry classes also review how to read the symbols and abbreviations used on residential blueprints and practice job estimating, sustainable building practices and energy efficiency techniques.

Residential Remodeling for Carpenters

This course introduces students to remodeling practices and demolitions. Students learn how to plan a remodeling project, complete basic plumbing and electrical jobs, apply for permits, match finished materials and estimate costs. Instruction in reading architectural blueprints for residential remodels is generally included, and students become familiar with specifications, codes and construction drawings. Some residential remodeling courses provide hands-on learning experience by requiring group or individual remodeling projects. This course is usually taken after basic carpentry courses.

Fundamentals of Cabinet Building

Basic kitchen design, construction joints, cabinetry terms, standard cabinet sizes and wood joinery are usually introduced in this course. Students may also learn about hardwood and softwood cabinet types, sheet materials, fasteners and power tool operations. Different sizes and types of cabinets, such as upper and base cabinets, are generally covered, and students may participate in a hands-on project building cabinets or counter tops. Because of this course's specialized nature, it may be taken as an elective or at the end of a program.

Exterior and Interior Finishes and Trim

Hands-on techniques are generally introduced in this course, which covers exterior moisture, interior and exterior doors, window trim installation and custom built-in cabinetry. When studying interior finish features, students learn about sheet rock, taping and texturing and cabinet installation. Coursework on exterior finish features may include estimating time and costs, framing, laying out rafters for roofs and installing outside doors and windows. This course is taken after introductory courses.

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