How do I become a carpenter?

Carpenters have many job descriptions. They can range from anything to framing a house to installing the last light bulb in a brand new, freshly installed light fixture in the ceiling. They often start from the ground up to construct a home or commercial building or renovate a historic home that is hundreds of years old. But, how do they learn to do that? What kind of training is necessary?

Carpenters, of the past, have traditionally been trained from their fathers or other family members who have taken on the role of mentor for them. Often, youngsters are hired by family-owned construction companies in hopes of training the next generation of builders. Although a formal education is not required to enter the field of carpentry, a wide array of skills is required.

The best way to ensure your success in carpentry is to enter a professional certificate program through an online format. A program of this type, typically, can be completed within a year or less. In addition, you may also choose to enter an online Associate degree in Carpentry program, however, it will take up to two years to complete and include other general educational courses such as, the arts and humanities.

Through carpentry coursework, you will learn the basics of blueprint reading and building layout design, carpentry mathematics, stair construction, framing, roofing and how to construct a sound foundation. You will also learn about how to properly install and finish drywall, along with, proper painting interior and exterior techniques, siding and moldings. Other coursework will include the importance of proper insulation and how to install windows and doors.

Your program will also teach you the basics of plumbing, electrical and HVAC installations.  You will also learn about cabinet making and how to install different types of flooring, such as, tile, hardwood or carpet. Your carpentry skills should also include the proper construction steps to building a deck, patio or other outdoor living space.

As some carpenters are self-employed, you must also learn to be business-minded. Some coursework may include communications, accounting and marketing. You will need to know about the rules and regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safety awareness. In addition, you must learn the proper ways to handle power and hand tools to avoid mishaps, as well as, first aid procedures to use in case of accidents.

After you receive your professional certificate, it’s time to gain the all-important work experience. Generally, you will need at least three to four years’ experience while working as an apprentice to gain the knowledge you need to work on your own or supervise a construction team. As an apprentice or journeyman, you will develop important skills needed in carpentry as you get hands-on experience.

To locate an apprenticeship, you may have to do some looking, as your available opportunities may be limited in your area. You can contact residential, as well as, commercial contractors and labor unions in your community to see if they offer apprenticeship programs. Typically, you will receive compensation, however, it may be considerably less than other experienced carpenters, as expected.

We have compiled a list of Online Schools for Carpentry Programs to help you in your endeavors!