Carpenters construct, erect, install and repair commercial and residential structures and fixtures of wood, plywood and wallboard. They erect framework in buildings including sub-flooring, partitions and rafters, and install molding, wood paneling, cabinets, windows, doors and hardware as wall as building forms for concrete work, building stairs and laying floors. Specialty areas include carpenters, floor coverers, lathers, millwrights, millmen, cabinet & display builders and heavy and highway carpenters.

What a carpenter does

The carpenter is probably the most widely known of the building trades craft workers for two reasons: Carpenters are the largest group of building trades workers, and they are employed in almost every type of construction activity. Through home building, the work touches the lives of more people than any other craft. Carpenters cut, shape, and fasten wood and similar materials. They erect wood framework in buildings, including sub-flooring, partitions and rafters. They install molding, wood paneling, cabinets, window sashes, doorframes, doors and hardware. They also build forms for concrete work, build stairs and lay floors. They use a wide variety of power and hand woodworking tools.

Working conditions

Since much of the work is done outdoors, working conditions are governed by the weather. The carpenter does a great deal of standing, lifting, carrying, and stooping - as well as some climbing and balancing. Many hazards exist, including possible severe cuts and the possibility of falls.

General qualifications

  • Age - Minimum age is 18.
  • Education - High school graduate or equivalent.
  • Good physical condition - Must be able to perform the work of the trade.

Admission requirements

  • Birth certificate.
  • Transcripts (high school).
  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Physical examination given by applicant’s own physician.
  • General aptitude test.
  • Personal interview.

Terms of apprenticeship training

  • Length of program is 4 years.
  • Related training- minimum of 160 hours of annual classroom training.
  • Degree program (college classes required also).

Recommended high school courses

  • Advanced mathematics.
  • Algebra 1.
  • Trigonometry.
  • Geometry.
  • Mechanical drawing.