Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Career as a Carpenter

If you are looking at skilled trade jobs, there are many exciting options out there for you. Of these, one of the best has to be carpentry. Working with wood to do everything from installing doors and windows to building entire houses is something that many people enjoy, as well as a career that can be fairly lucrative. Here’s everything you need to know about getting into carpentry.


If you want to become a carpenter, there are two primary ways to go about it. The first is to enroll in a carpentry program at a trade school, where you will be taught the essential skills and knowledge of the trade in a classroom environment. Many students, however, prefer a more hands-on approach. For these students, an apprenticeship through a carpenters’ union will be the better choice.

Career Path

After becoming a fully-trained carpenter, there are many different career options open to you. Many carpenters choose to become foremen or construction supervisors, while others move into roles as project managers. A career as a carpenter is a good springboard from which to advance into other areas of the construction industry.


Upon entering the field, entry-level and apprentice carpenters can expect to make about $22,000 annually, though this can vary greatly with overtime. A journeyman, however, can make significantly more, with pay ranging anywhere from $35,000 to $89,000 annually, depending on region, skills and the availability of overtime.

Types of Carpentry

As with most skilled trade jobs, there are different areas of carpentry in which individual workers can specialize. Framers, for example, are specialists in constructing building support frames. Masters tend to handle the bulk carpentry that is needed to build a structure once its frame has been put up. Finish carpenters focus on the doors, windows and trim pieces that will be visible in a building and therefore require an eye for aesthetics. Carpenters may also be either specialists in residential or commercial building.

Why Choose to Be a Carpenter?

There are several different reasons someone may decide to pursue a career in carpentry. For people who love to work with their hands, it’s a great way to satisfy that desire and create a truly enjoyable career. Others simply get into it for the pay and benefits that come with being a highly skilled tradesman. Job security is also a major component of the decision to become a carpenter, as the projected number of positions for carpenters in the United States is expected to rise by more than 60,000 between 2014 and 2024.

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