WHAT DO CARPENTERS DO?
Why do dollar signs suddenly appear every time you are near…lumber? Carpenters do many jobs in construction, building or repairing structures, which can mean anything from framing a house to building stairs and door frames to putting in cabinetry or drywall. Carpenters might build things out of raw materials, or install pre-built items.
Carpenters need the ability to read and follow blueprints for the job, and use a variety of tools and measuring devices to make sure that the job is done right the first time. Carpenters typically work with wood, but often work with drywall, fiberglass, or other materials. Jobs might be building a house from the ground up, or simply replacing a doorframe. Carpenters work in all facets of construction, from large industrial jobs to small handyman jobs. Most carpenters are either residential carpenters that build homes and apartments, commercial carpenters who build office buildings, or industrial carpenters who build scaffolding and create concrete forms for large construction jobs.
HOW MUCH DO CARPENTERS MAKE?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), carpenters made a median income of $19.00 an hour in 2010, or $39,530 a year.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Carpenters learn their skills through an apprenticeship. In the program, which lasts 3-4 years, carpenters learn technical training and safety standards and building codes. In each year of the apprenticeship, apprentices are expected to complete 144 hours of paid technical training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training.
To start in an apprentice program, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, physically sound, a United States citizen or legal resident and pass a drug test.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Attention to Detail: Nobody wants a crooked house. Carpenters make things that must be level and square. Often, they are a part of a larger piece of the building that must also be level.
- Manual Dexterity: Carpenters work with their hands, using saws, hammers, and many other tools. Steady hands are needed.
- Math Skills: Basic math is used every day by carpenters.
- Strength: Carpenters will lift heavy lumber, cement and other objects.
- Problem-Solving Skills: Not every job is the same, and carpenters need to be able to adjust plans to compensate for any environmental issues that come up.
- Stamina: Carpenters spend long days on their feet, often outside in all types of weather.
CAREER PATHS FOR CARPENTERS
THE FUTURE OF CARPENTERS
Carpentry jobs are expected to grow 20% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS, which is much faster than the average job.