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Carpentry Education and Training Requirements

Carpenters require some educational training. Learn about the related education and job duties as well as potential career opportunities to see if this is the right choice for you.

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Carpenters are artisans that specialize in wood-work, which may include putting in wooden floors, building furniture, framing, or cutting and shaping wood for construction jobs. Skills are typically acquired through vocational or technical programs where they are taught in class and on-site. Employers prefer carpenters with the proper training and experience.

Essential Information

Carpenters are responsible for the construction and repair of wooden structures and frames. Education and training for a carpentry career can be achieved through a formal education or apprenticeships. Carpenters must learn and master general construction skills and specialized woodworking techniques before becoming employed as a crafts-person. Hands-on practical application is emphasized within programs, and these workers typically spend years working under a master carpenter before gaining journeyman status.

Required Education A high school diploma and a carpentry apprenticeship
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $42,090

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Carpentry Education & Training Requirements

Vocational schools and technical colleges offer certificate and associate's degree programs in general carpentry or in different carpentry crafts. A technical college program uses classroom instruction to teach building codes and layout, construction drawings and blueprint reading, safety, math and English. Hands-on practical application training covers framing and finishing techniques, as well as using measuring instruments, hand tools and power tools to work with lumber and other building materials. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers are more likely to offer higher wages to graduates of formal vocational education programs (www.bls.gov).

Carpentry students can also begin their training as a carpenter's helper, assisting skilled carpenters in order to master skills and craftsmanship through observation and practice. Trade unions and large general contractor firms frequently offer formal programs for carpentry apprenticeships, leading to certification as a journeyman carpenter. A formal apprenticeship may encompass up to four years and cover much of the same learning process as a vocational school. Apprenticeship programs include classroom instruction and on-the-job training. The curriculum can be developed by the master trade organization or through the use of a standardized, trade-specific program.

Career Opportunities

Industries such as commercial construction, residential homebuilding and industrial manufacturing all employ carpenters. Skilled carpenters perform general building tasks or use a specific skill set depending on the type of construction or job at hand. Career opportunities are found in general carpentry or in carpentry-related crafts like furniture making, cabinetmaking, flooring and framing. Masonry trades and civil engineering fields may employ carpenters to build forms for concrete or supports for highway construction projects.

A carpenter's job is largely learned through experience and hands-on training, usually as an assistant to a professional. An apprenticeship program is usually offered by trade schools, consisting of classroom and on-the-job training which can possibly last around four years or so.

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