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 $
39,000
Jobs Available
184,770+
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

Residential/ Commercial Carpentry Certificate

York Technical College
Rock Hill (0.0 Miles)

Construction Electricity, A.A.S.

Northeast State Community College
Blountville (0.0 Miles)

WI+A133

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Green Bay (0.0 Miles)

Technical Studies, A.A.S.

Pierpont Community and Technical College
Fairmont (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology Certificate

Texas Southmost College
Brownsville (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology, A.A.S.

Bay Mills Community College
Brimley (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology, A.A.S.

Ilisagvik College
Utqiagvik (0.0 Miles)

Construction Management, A.A.S.

Brazosport College
Lake Jackson (0.0 Miles)

Carpentry Apprenticeship

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Green Bay (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technology Certificate of Completion

Bay Mills Community College
Brimley (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Matthew McVay
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

Construction Laborer

RESOURCE ENVIRONMENTAL LLC
Athens ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 6 days ago

Intern - Construction/Road (Waterford, Vermont)

CRH
Saint Johnsbury ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 4 days ago

Carpenter

University of Utah
Salt Lake City ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 5 days ago

Construction Laborer - Dixon, CA

Bellingham Marine
Dixon ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 2 days ago

PAVING CREW SPECIALIST - Paving Utilityperson (Rutland, VT)

CRH
North Clarendon ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 2 days ago

Laborer

TEMCO
West Wareham ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks ago

Carpenter

Parkland Health & Hospital System
Dallas ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 weeks 1 day ago

Laborer (BB Civils)

Balfour Beatty Construction
Humble ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks 5 days ago
Ask the Expert: John and Richard Wood
Image
kitchen remodel with white cabinets and kitchen island
Ask the Expert: John and Richard Wood

John and Richard Wood are the owners of American Contracting Services. Their company in Chesapeake, Virginia, has experienced extraordinary growth over the years, so they do their part to help others make their way up the ladder.

When they find good subcontractors, they stick with them for the long haul.

"They become like family. It’s not just about the work anymore. We’re there when they go through stuff. If a guy’s truck breaks down, we get him a truck. The relationship is really where it starts," says Richard.

Their advice to anyone who wants to run their own general contracting firm?

"There is always a next step for you to take," says John. "Never be complacent."

Read more of their keys to success.