Carpentry is a good career because it offers many opportunities for skilled workers. There are many different types of carpentry, so if you don’t like one kind, you can always switch to another. Carpenters also can start their businesses, which can be very lucrative. Plus, carpentry is a trade that will always be in demand so that you can feel secure in your job prospects.
There are many things to like about carpentry. If you’re looking for a new career, then give some consideration to this line of work. It’s possible that you’ll appreciate it more than any other job.
1. What Is Carpentry?
Carpentry is the art and trade that builds, installs, and repairs houses. Carpenters are an integral part of any construction team, and they work closely with other tradespeople like electricians to ensure that the house they build will be solid and sound.
Carpenters use many tools to do their job, including saws, hammers, nails, screwdrivers, drills for drilling holes in wood or metal; chisels for cutting grooves; planes for smoothing boards; various kinds of clamps; levels; squares (for marking right angles); gauges (to measure thicknesses) among others. A carpenter’s skills include:
- Measuring and estimating sizes and quantities of materials.
- Reading blueprints or drawings.
- Laying out work on the foundation or the floor/deck of a house.
Carpenters also do trim carpentry. Trim carpenters build window and door frames, install interior door casings, and cover wood surfaces with baseboard molding or wooden paneling. They may also build cabinets for kitchens or bathrooms and build garage doors.
Carpenters commonly work in construction, building houses and other structures. Some also do custom woodwork, making fine furniture or cabinets to sell directly to customers for their homes.
2. The Skills You Need to Be a Carpenter
Carpentry is a skilled trade that involves using tools to make or repair wooden objects. Carpenters are employed in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, and forestry. To be successful in carpentry, you need to have a good understanding of woodworking tools and techniques, as well as strong problem-solving skills.
Before starting a career as a carpenter, it’s essential to determine whether this is a suitable occupation. Many people prefer working with their hands and being their own boss, but if the notion of working for weeks at a time without a day off does not appeal to you, carpentry may not be the best career choice for you.
Below are some skills that carpenters typically learn in their training program or previous experience.
- visualize how two pieces of material will fit together from a variety of angles
- plan, cut, and fasten the pieces according to your blueprints or sketches
- make precise measurements using a tape measure, speed square, and other tools
- use power saws and other machinery to slice through hard materials such as concrete or metal
- operate scaffolding and other devices to do your work safely
- understand wood: its strength, weight, and quality
- work with various tools, including saws, drills, hammers, and nails.
3. Education and Training Requirements
Most carpenters need formal training because carpentry is such a highly specialized occupation. Many high schools offer courses in woodworking, and some vocational centers or community colleges also teach carpentry. Courses typically cover various topics, including safety practices and blueprint reading. You’ll learn about the different types of materials used in carpentry, how to use the tools you will be using on the job and how to read diagrams.
In addition to classroom study, you’ll need hands-on experience. Many colleges include work-study programs that allow you to get useful carpentry experience as an apprentice or as part of a community service programmer. Learning how to work with other people and receiving positive recommendations from your instructors and supervisors can give you a competitive edge when applying for carpentry positions.
The training that you received in school can be applied for entry-level jobs as a carpenter’s assistant. This position also referred to as a first-year laborer, requires less on-the-job experience than an apprentice carpenter who works with a master carpenter for more than four years before being certified.
4. Employment and Wage Estimates
Carpenters held about 565,200 jobs in 2008. Most carpenters worked in construction companies that built single-family houses, apartment buildings, and institutional structures such as schools and hospitals. Carpenters also worked for building finishing contractors who put the final touches on a building.
A carpenter’s salary depends on their level of training and experience, geographic location, and the type of industry they work in. In general, the average hourly wage for a carpenter was $19.29 in May 2008. The median annual wage for a carpenter was $39,930 in May 2008.
The top five industries that employ carpenters are as follows:
- Construction of single-family houses
- Construction of nonresidential buildings
- Building finishing contractors
- Educational services
Through 2014, carpenters’ employment is predicted to rise at around the same rate as the average for all occupations, owing to increased demand from schools and colleges, as well as private sector housing maintenance and repair. Jobs may be available in small towns and rural areas; however, most will be concentrated in suburban areas near metropolitan centers.
5. What Are the Advantages of Carpentry as a Career?
Following are some of the advantages of carpentry as a career:
- carpentry is a trade that is in high demand; there are always jobs available for carpenters
- carpentry is a versatile trade that can be used to build anything from furniture to houses
- carpenters typically earn a good salary
- carpentry is a challenging and rewarding trade
- carpentry is a trade that is easy to enter, with many entry-level positions available for novices
- carpenters have flexibility in their work schedules – they can choose the hours and days of the week they work
- a carpentry career provides an excellent chance to advance, with opportunities to become a supervisor or even own your own carpentry business
- ownership of a home, cottage, or other property often provides significant tax benefits for carpenters
- the tools that are used in carpentry are easy to acquire and maintain
- work can be enjoyable as there is always new builds being done or renovations to existing homes
6. What are the Disadvantages of Carpentry as a Career?
Carpentry is a skilled trade where the worker installs, repairs, and builds wooden structures. Carpentry can be a gratifying career, but there are also some disadvantages to consider before making a decision.
One disadvantage of carpentry is that it can be physically demanding. Carpenters often have to carry heavy materials and work in uncomfortable positions, and they may also be exposed to hazardous materials and loud noises.
Another disadvantage of carpentry is that it can be challenging to find employment in this field. Because there is typically a lot of competition for jobs, businesses may prefer to hire those who have worked before.
Finally, carpentry can be expensive to learn. It may require attending a trade school or apprenticeship program. There may also be materials costs and travel expenses. These expenses could detriment anyone who wants to pursue carpentry as a career.
7. Cost of Studying Carpentry
Carpentry is a demanding profession.
With annual pay ranging from $30,000 to $90,000, it’s also one of the most gratifying jobs.
But, before you get your hopes up and start learning carpentry at home or in school, keep in mind that mastering all of the required skills might cost upwards of $100,000. What are some other expenses? A carpenter’s tool kit will set you back about $1,500, not including the saw blades, which cost about $300 for a decent quality blade. You can expect to spend another few hundred dollars on hand tools like hammers and screwdrivers; then, more specialized power tools like sanders and planers will set you back about $1,000. You’ll need some training manuals too. About $30 per book is the average price for a carpentry manual on some of the basic skills needed to be a carpenter. And then, some public classes will cost you approximately $400 for six weeks of study materials and instruction. But don’t forget to budget for living expenses while studying for your carpentry license.
It will take approximately one year to finish all of the courses required to get completely certified, not including any time spent working full-time before or after classes to pay for food, rent, and other daily requirements.
The average cost of studying carpentry is between $40,000 and $100,000, depending on how quickly you can get through your courses. If you have to pay for all the courses upfront, it will take a long time to earn back that money if you don’t have a job. Always make sure to research carpenter courses before committing to a program.
8. Carpentry Working Conditions
Carpenters work in a variety of settings, often under challenging conditions. They are usually required to wear protective clothing and equipment, such as safety goggles or hard hats, to guard against injuries from sawdust or splinters. Carpenters may be exposed to hazardous chemicals (e.g., glue), dust (e.g., wood dust), and noise levels that require hearing protection. Because carpenters spend lengthy periods of time on their feet executing repetitive motions with power tools like hammers and saws, it’s not uncommon for them to feel muscle tension in their backs, necks, arms, and legs. Carpenters also risk injury through falls from scaffolds or ladders due to carelessness or exhaustion.
Due mainly to the number of time carpenters spend on their feet, they are at risk of developing back, knee, and ankles injuries. While the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has regulations restricting how much weight workers can lift while standing, there are no specific guidelines regarding reaching, stooping, bending, and crawling. In addition, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has suggested that repetitive tasks from carpentry work lead to an increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a painful pressure on a nerve in the wrist that can cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand.
9. Top Recruiting Companies for Carpenter
The following are some of the top carpenter recruiting firms in the United States:
- Buyback Construction Group
- Atlas Foundations
- Gowan Company
- True Built
- The Siegel Group
- Wunder Construction Management
- The Young Grading Company
- K2M Builders Inc
10. Best Colleges to Study Carpentry
Many colleges offer carpentry courses. But not all of them are the best. Here is a list of the top five colleges to study carpentry:
- Harvard University
- Stanford University
- UC Berkeley
- Yale University
Carpentry is a great career because it allows you to use your hands and provides a sense of satisfaction from creating something with your own two hands. It can also be lucrative, providing good income potential. Carpentry jobs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so there’s bound to be one that suits your personality and interests. The only downside to carpentry may be the physical demands – it can be hard on your body if you’re not in good shape. But overall, carpentry is an excellent career choice!