What does a carpenter do?
Carpenters are engaged in a variety of different kinds of construction from making kitchen cabinets to building highways. They build, install, and repair fixtures and structures made from wood and a variety of other materials. Most tasks involve the same fundamental steps such as working with instructions or blueprints and creating the layout of the projects. They measure, mark, and organize materials according to the required codes for building. They also cut and shape materials using a variety of different tools. They then join the materials and complete a final check to make sure the work is accurate and if necessary they make adjustments.
Some carpenters complete a variety of different tasks and others focus on one or two. Since carpenters are highly trained they can usually switch from a variety of different construction projects with no problems.
What kind of training does a carpenter need?
Carpenters must have at least a high school diploma. Some carpenters work their way up by starting as assistants to carpenters. Many vocational and trade schools and community colleges offer training in carpentry. Some employers offer apprenticeships, which are programs that combine classroom training with on the job training. These programs typically take 3 to 4 years to complete and students learn the relationship between carpentry and other building fields. Carpenters learn basic structure design and become familiar with the general carpentry jobs such as form building, layout, rough framing, and finishing. They learn how to read blueprints, safety and first aid procedures, basic mathematics, freehand sketching, and many carpentry methods. They also learn how to use tools, equipment, machines, and materials.
What are the prospects for a career as a carpenter?
Employment of carpenters is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 10% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Increased construction of new houses, buildings, roads, and other structures and renovation projects will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be good, especially for carpenters with advanced training and skills. Job opportunities will also be driven by the need to replace carpenters who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do carpenters make?
As of September 2009, the middle 50% of carpenters earned annual salaries between $32,506 and $46,765. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $54,255 (2).
A career as a carpenter is a great choice for people interested in carpentry that enjoy building things. Carpenters must have good physical fitness, great hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, and a good sense of balance. They must also be able to solve arithmetic problems in an accurate and fast manner.