construction

Construction

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What Does a Carpenter Do?

If a sense of accomplishment is what you’re after, carpentry could be the job for you. Carpenters are skilled craftsmen who build and repair structures made of wood or other materials. Carpenters measure and arrange the materials they need. Some carpenters also work from blueprints. They cut wood using tools like chisels, planes, saws and sanders. Carpenters then use nails, screws, staples or adhesives to connect the materials. They check their work with levels, rules, framing squares and surveying equipment.

Carpenters’ duties vary. Rough carpenters working on framing, concrete form work, and other projects that focus on the frame of the building, while finish carpenters focus on interior projects, such as stairs, doors, windows and moldings. Carpenters can further specialize to become cabinet or furniture makers.

The job often requires a flexible schedule.

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Median Salary $
49,000
Jobs Available
22,000+
A female carpenter uses a miter saw to cut a piece of wood in the shop
Carpenters have been shaping wood for centuries, but the tools of the trade have improved since ancient times. (Credit: antoniodiaz/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Follow blueprints, drawings or sketches
  • Calculate and order the materials needed
  • Cut, shape and smooth lumber or other materials according to measurements
  • Construct and install the framing that creates rooms, like door and window frames. 
  • Cut, assemble and install furniture, cabinets and shelves
  • Lay out flooring, install roof framing or drywall
  • Inspect work and do necessary repairs
  • Build scaffolding and other building structures
  • Document repairs and maintain records
Education + Training

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some carpenters get their start as construction laborers who prepare, clean and maintain a safe job site. Construction laborers also assist workers from various trades with their work.

Carpenters primarily learn on the job through apprenticeships, which are often sponsored by businesses, unions and contractor associations. Training also includes classes at technical school or community college, which can result in certifications or an associate degree. All carpenters must pass the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour safety course. In addition, there are many opportunities for continuing education through certifications, which are available for many areas of specialization.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Communicate well
  • Have good math skills and are adept at measuring
  • Have good time-management skills
  • Are exceptionally detail-oriented
  • Work well independently 
  • Have good dexterity
  • Have the physical strength to lift or move heavy equipment and tools

 

Carpenter training in your area

Coordinates

Construction Management Certificate

Brazosport College
Lake Jackson (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology Certificate C

Manhattan Area Technical College
Manhattan (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology, A.A.S.

Casper College
Casper (0.0 Miles)

Building Trades Certificate of Completion

Stone Child College
Box Elder (0.0 Miles)
Triton College

Carpentry Certificate

Triton College
River Grove (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology Certificate

Casper College
Casper (0.0 Miles)
Triton College

Construction Technology Certificate

Triton College
River Grove (0.0 Miles)

General Construction, A.A.S.

Oglala Lakota College
Kyle (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology, A.A.S.

Peninsula College
Port Angeles (0.0 Miles)

Construction Carpenter Assistant Certificate of Graduation

Vincennes University
Vincennes (0.0 Miles)
Video file
Meet Ambassador Matthew McVay

Matthew McVay became a carpenter 17 years ago and hasn’t looked back. “The most surprising thing about the trades is how easy it becomes after you learn the basic concepts,” he said. “One task builds on the concept of the prior task you learn. Everything is comprehensive knowledge.” Learn more about Matthew's story.

Find Carpenter Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Laborer

McGough Constrution
Fargo ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 1 week ago

General Laborer- Powder Coat

Ryko Solutions Inc
Sheridan ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Underground Electric Laborer/Groundman

MasTec
Tallahassee ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

General Laborer II Temp - Intermittent Snow Removal

City of Loveland
Loveland ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

26830 - Lead Window Installer

Andersen Corporation
Chantilly ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

Asphalt Laborer - Savannah, GA

CRH
Savannah ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

Welder Helper

Railworks
Sioux City ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

Driver / General Laborer

Two Men and a Truck
Carol Stream ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 4 weeks ago
Image
Erin Izen in Home Depot store with apron
Ask the Expert

If you’re considering a career in the skilled trades, and the construction industry in particular, you no doubt have questions. Are there good jobs available? Can I earn a decent living? Will I like it?

Erin Izen, director of workforce development and military relations at The Home Depot, has some answers. She and her team work to equip and upskill populations that are often underserved so they can grow their careers. This includes connecting potential tradespeople to careers in the residential and commercial construction and remodeling industries.

Read more.