Carpenter Video: Career Options in the Carpentry and Woodworking Professions

Carpenter Video: Career Options in the Carpentry and Woodworking Professions Transcript

If you savor the feeling of pride that comes with a job well done and enjoy working with your hands, consider a career in carpentry. Carpenters may work in construction, cabinet making and other fields that use wood to build and create. Carpenters learn on the job, often working closely with more experienced professionals to develop the skills they need for success.


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Job Duties and Skills

Carpenters use wood in a variety of ways including the construction and repair of homes, furniture, artwork and more.

They generally work from blueprints or published plans provided by their employers. They must be able to read and understand these technical documents in order to produce a safe and accurate finished project. Proficiency with commonly used tools, including hammers, saws, drills and measuring equipment are also needed. Carpentry and woodworking professions require physical strength and the ability to work long hours, often outside in all weather conditions. Safety comes first on all construction projects and carpenters must be aware of rules, regulations and common sense safety guidelines.

Training Required

A high school diploma is encouraged, but not required, for entry-level carpentry positions. Most carpenters learn the majority of their professional skills while on the job. They begin their careers as apprentices. Formal apprenticeships are offered by some employers, while other programs are less structured. While assisting an experienced carpenter, apprentices learn basic construction and carpentry skills. Over time, they gain experience and responsibility and develop advanced construction skills that allow them to work independently or as part of a construction team. Most programs take from three to four years to complete. Those who complete formal apprenticeship programs are known as journeymen.

In addition to apprenticeships, carpenters often supplement their education through programs offered by technical and vocational schools. These programs offer students hands-on learning opportunities, including the use of specialized tools and technology, blueprint reading, construction safety and first aid and advanced building techniques. Graduates usually receive a certificate of completion that can be used to show potential employers a verifiable record of a carpentry professional's skills and abilities.

Career Options

The properties of wood as a building material opens up a multitude of career paths to carpenters and other woodworking professionals. Almost one-third of all carpenters work in building construction, providing labor on residential and commercial construction projects. More specialized career opportunities exist as well. For example, some carpenters focus on producing furniture or other functional or decorative accessories. Many carpenters also perform general repair and installation duties, fixing broken furniture and fixtures, replacing windows and building stairs, among a variety of other general duties.

Many skilled woodworkers have a well-rounded set of skills that allow them to work on a variety projects according to their clients' needs and desires. In fact, over 30 percent of carpenters are self-employed contractors who move from project to project or job to the next as they are needed.

Opportunities for advancement are also possible. Carpenters play a central role in the construction process, often providing their services from start to finish of a project. Many carpenters choose to enter the field of construction or carpentry management. These positions require excellent communication skills and may also require special licenses.


If you are creative and like woodworking, a career as a carpenter may be for you.


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