In a carpentry diploma program, students learn about building codes, site layout and estimating whereas in a certificate program students learn to safely perform as a member of a construction team. Differences between the two training options generally include program length and the number of credits required.
Certain prerequisites and a physical exam may be needed prior to admission in a program or students may be required to complete a placement assessment and prove manual dexterity. Schools may prefer that students have a high school diploma, but do not require it.
Diploma programs usually teach students how to read blueprints and train them on the basics of concrete work, framing and finishing. Students learn to take on the physical demands of the trade, follow layout markings, assemble the necessary materials and identify the correct tools for a project. The curriculum of a carpentry diploma program covers technical information that is used in the trade while providing students with hands-on experience to master the skills needed for the job. Topics that may be covered by a diploma program include:
- Construction safety
- Cabinet building
- Roofing systems
- Framing fundamentals
In a carpentry certificate program, students master the skills needed to work as a carpenter and perform various job duties, such as finishing and roofing. They also learn how to solve carpentry problems to build a successful project. The curriculum covers practical techniques on safety, construction, and carpentry tools. Courses cover a range of topics such as the following:
- Construction calculations and measurements
- Construction tools
- Blueprint reading
- Construction plan drafting
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a diploma program are trained carpenters, ready to work on a variety of construction projects. Individuals are prepared to work as:
- Finish carpenters
- Cabinet makers
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), carpenters held about 1,006,500 jobs in 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projected that the employment of carpenters would increase by 8% from 2018-2028. This growth rate is as fast as the average compared to other professions. In May 2019, the BLS reported that the mean annual wage of carpenters was $52,850.
Continuing Education Information
Continued education is typically not required for carpenters completing a diploma or certificate program, but those wishing to become journeypersons need to complete an apprenticeship program, according to the BLS. Advancement possibilities usually come from time on the job and promotions to positions as managers and supervisors.
Carpentry certificate and diploma programs prepare students to handle different tasks in a construction project such as following blueprints, installing fixtures, and finishing woodworks. Although these training options may differ in course length and required number of units, graduates of both programs gain enough technical and practical skills to work as carpenters.