What does a career in carpentry entail?

Are you ready to “nail” down your future in carpentry? Most of us, as young children, began to stack building blocks as soon as we were able to sit up on our own. For some, the love of building something from nothing extended on into our high school years. Perhaps the first project you made in shop class, probably a birdhouse, inspired you to build houses for people, too. A lucrative career in carpentry can be accomplished with the right training and skills.

What does a career in carpentry entail? A carpenter is a very skilled craftsperson, therefore, a career in this trade field can cover a wide array of job descriptions. Generally, carpenters are wood workers, although carpentry includes working with many different materials, besides wood.  There are many areas of specialization within the field of carpentry, as well.

Starting from the ground up, a carpenter must be aware of the foundation on which they will be building upon. They must be assured that the ground is prepared properly to hold up a structure to ensure safety and longevity. A knowledge of concrete foundations is important to provide the necessary footings for the structure.

Typically, a carpenter is also responsible for the framing of a structure. This skill includes knowing how to install joists, studs, rafters and partitions to ensure strength. Insulation installers and drywall finishers are often called in to complete the walls. You must be proficient in reading blueprints or computer-generated software designed for this purpose. Other areas of construction, including electrical, plumbing and HVAC teams who work together to install the necessities, in addition to, others such as, painters, cabinet makers, roofers, bricklayers and landscapers. In construction, you must be a team player!

Carpenters are not always hired just for new construction projects. Often, a carpenter is asked to do remodel projects, which may include anything from a minor repair to a major kitchen or bathroom renovation. Participating in remodel jobs will help you supplement your income between new construction projects. In addition, you may be asked to build stairways, install windows and doors or trim and crown molding, construct a specialty piece of furniture or build a custom outdoor deck, patio, fireplace or an extravagant outdoor kitchen.

Carpenters must also be extremely knowledgeable in the use of power and hand tools, in addition to, safety regulations and rules set forth by the state in which they are working, such as proper permits and licensing requirements.

As a carpenter you must be proficient and confident in your mathematical skills. We’ve all heard the adage, “measure twice, cut once.” This holds true, no doubt, to avoid mistakes, waste and unnecessary costs.

As a carpenter, you must exhibit physical strength and endurance, as carpenters must be able to lift large beams and handle heavy power tools. They must also exhibit strong problem-solving skills, as well as, be good communicators. They are responsible for communicating with other team members, as well as, their clients. If you intend to own your own construction company, you must be business oriented to succeed financially, in addition to, providing excellent customer service.

Carpenters must be dedicated to their jobs, take pride in their work and most importantly, be skilled in a variety of construction applications, as it will be instrumental in finding employment. The more knowledge and experience you have, the better your job opportunities will be.

After earning your certificate or associate degree in construction, you can expect to work a three to four-year apprenticeship to fully gain the experience you need to be confident in your skills level. If you are interested in pursuing this career, check out our Online Schools for Carpentry Programs.