here to find job opportunities for Carpenters in your area.
Do you like working with your hands? Do you like working
with numerous types of tools? Do you like to measure, cut and shape
different types of materials like: wood, plastic, fiberglass or
drywall? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then
being a carpenter might be the perfect career for you.
Carpenters are one of the most versatile construction
occupations, with workers usually doing many different tasks. For
example, some carpenters insulate office buildings; others install
drywall or kitchen cabinets in homes. Those who help construct tall
buildings or bridges often install the wooden concrete forms for
cement footings or pillars. Carpenters construct and repair
building frameworks and structures-such as stairways, doorframes,
partitions, and rafters-made from wood and other materials.
Some carpenters erect shoring and scaffolding for buildings.
Carpenters use many different hand and power tools to cut and
shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall. They commonly use hand
tools, including squares, levels, and chisels, as well as many
power tools, such as sanders, circular saws, nail guns, and welding
machines. Carpenters fasten materials together with nails, screws,
staples, and adhesives, and do a final check of their work to
ensure accuracy. They use a tape measure on nearly every project
because proper measuring increases productivity, reduces waste, and
ensures that the pieces being cut are the proper size.
The following are types of carpenters:
Residential carpenters typically specialize in
new-home, townhome, and condominium building and remodeling. As
part of a single job, they might build and set forms for footings,
walls, and slabs, and frame and finish exterior walls, roofs, and
decks. They also frame interior walls, build stairs, and install
drywall, crown molding, doors, and cabinets. In addition,
residential carpenters may tile floors and lay wood floors and
carpet. Fully trained construction carpenters can easily switch
from new-home building to remodeling.
Commercial carpenters typically
remodel and help build commercial office buildings, hospitals,
hotels, schools, and shopping malls. Some specialize in working
with light-gauge and load-bearing steel framing for interior
partitions, exterior framing, and curtain wall construction. Others
specialize in working with concrete forming systems and finishing
interior and exterior walls, partitions, and ceilings. Most
commercial carpenters perform many of the same tasks as residential
Industrial carpenters typically
work in civil and industrial settings, where they build scaffolding
and create and set forms for pouring concrete. Some industrial
carpenters build tunnel bracing or partitions in underground
passageways and mines to control the circulation of air to
worksites. Others build concrete forms for tunnels, bridges, dams,
power plants, or sewer construction projects.
Carpenters typically do the following:
- Follow blueprints and building plans to meet the needs of
- Install structures and fixtures, such as windows and
- Measure, cut, or shape wood, plastic, and other
- Construct building frameworks, including walls, floors, and
- Help erect, level, and install building framework with the aid
of rigging hardware and cranes.
- Inspect and replace damaged framework or other structures and
- Instruct and direct laborers and other construction
Carpenters held about 905,300 jobs in 2014. About 43 percent of
carpenters were self-employed. Most carpenters work in the
construction industry, where they account for the largest share of
the building trades occupations. Most self-employed carpenters
often work in residential construction. The industries that
employed the most carpenters in 2014 were as follows:
Residential building construction
Nonresidential building construction
Building finishing contractors
Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors
Because carpenters are involved in many types of construction,
from building highways and bridges to installing kitchen cabinets,
they work both indoors and outdoors.
Carpenters may work in cramped spaces, and frequent lifting,
standing, and kneeling can be tiring. Those who work outdoors are
subject to variable weather conditions.
Having the freedom to work with your hands does come at a price.
Carpenters have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the
national average. The most common injuries include muscle strains
from lifting heavy materials, falls from ladders, and cuts from
sharp objects and tools.
How to Become a Carpenter
Apprentice carpenters learn by working with more experienced
Although most carpenters learn their trade through an
apprenticeship, some learn on the job, starting as a helper.
A high school diploma or equivalent is required. High school
courses in English, mathematics, mechanical drawing, and shop are
Most carpenters learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year
apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must
complete at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours
of paid on-the-job training. In the technical training, apprentices
learn carpentry basics, blueprint reading, mathematics, building
code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices. They also
may receive specialized training in concrete, rigging, welding,
scaffold building, fall protection, confined workspaces, and
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10- and
30-hour safety courses.
After finishing an apprenticeship, carpenters are considered to
be journey workers and may perform tasks on their own.
Several groups, including contractor associations, sponsor
apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for a person to
enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:
- Minimum age of 18
- High school education or equivalent
- Physically able to do the work
- U.S. citizen or proof of legal residency
- Pass substance abuse screening
Some contractors have their own carpenter training program.
Although many workers enter apprenticeships directly, some
carpenters start out as helpers.
Some apprenticeships offer special programs for veterans.
A number of 2-year technical schools offer carpentry degrees
that are affiliated with unions or contractor organizations.
Credits earned as part of an apprenticeship program usually count
toward an associate's degree.
Because they are exposed to the entire construction process,
carpenters usually have more opportunities than other construction
workers to become independent contractors or general construction
Carpenters seeking advancement often take additional training
provided by associations, unions, or employers. Also, it is
increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English
and Spanish to relay instructions to workers.
Business skills. Self-employed carpenters must
be able to bid new jobs, track inventory, and plan work
Detail oriented. Carpenters
perform many tasks that are important in the overall building
process. Making precise measurements, for example, may reduce gaps
between windows and frames, limiting any leaks around the
Manual dexterity. Carpenters use
many tools and need hand-eye coordination to avoid injury. Striking
the head of a nail, for example, is crucial to not damaging
Math skills. Because carpenters
use basic math skills every day, they need to be able to calculate
volume and measure materials to be cut.
Physical stamina. Carpenters need
physical endurance. They often lift heavy tools and materials while
standing, climbing, or bending for long periods.
Physical strength. Many of the
tools and materials that carpenters use are heavy. For example,
plywood sheets can weigh 50 to 100 pounds.
Problem-solving skills. Because
all construction jobs vary, carpenters must adjust project plans
accordingly. For example, they may have to use wedges to level
cabinets in homes that have settled and are sloping slightly.
Job Outlook: Percent change in employment,
projected 2016-22 for Carpenters
Carpenters - 24%
Construction trades workers - 22%
Total, all occupations - 11%
Employment of carpenters is projected to grow 24 percent from
2016 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Population growth should result in new-home construction-the
largest segment employing carpenters-which will stimulate the need
for many new workers. Home remodeling needs should also spur demand
In addition, the need to repair and replace roads and bridges
should increase employment of carpenters. Much of this growth,
however, depends on spending by federal and state governments as
they attempt to upgrade existing infrastructure.
The construction of factories and power plants also may result
in some new jobs.
However, will be the increasing use of modular and prefabricated
components. Roof assemblies, walls, stairs, and complete bathrooms
are just a few of the prefabricated components that can be
manufactured in a separate facility and then assembled onsite by
carpenters. Installing prefabricated components replaces the most
labor-intensive and time-consuming onsite building
Overall job prospects for carpenters should improve over the
coming decade as construction activity continues to rebound.
The number of job openings is expected to vary by geographic
area. Because construction activity parallels the movement of
people and businesses, areas of the country with the largest
population increases will require the most carpenters.
Employment of carpenters, like that of many other construction
workers, is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. On the one
hand, workers in these trades may experience periods of
unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the
other hand, peak periods of building activity may produce shortages
To see what carpenter jobs are available in your area, please be
sure to visit the Labor Finders website.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections
****Note: All Occupations sighted include
all occupations in the U.S. Economy.