Carpenters are an important part of the construction workforce with over one million people working in this field in the US. As one of the top 50 careers with the largest workforce, carpenters provide a critical role in the construction field both residentially and commercially.
Carpenters primarily deal with the construction, repair, renovation, and installation of building frames and structures using wood and other materials. Carpenters use hand and power tools to perform their work.
To be a successful carpenter, you will need to decide if you want to attend trade school first. If you already have experience as a day laborer or have some experience in carpentry already, you may be able to start an apprenticeship in carpentry. However, if you are new to the field, attending a trade school will be a great starting point.
Vocational schools will teach students the needed skills to be a successful carpenter. This includes courses in mathematics, framing and construction techniques, safety, and construction standards to ensure building codes are followed.
As part of their schooling, students will also likely take part in an apprenticeship so that they can gain valuable hands-on experience working in the field.
Successful carpenters must possess several critical skills. For example, a large part of your day will be spent measuring, cutting and reading blueprints. For this reason, you will need to have a strong attention to detail. Even simple mistakes can lead to project delays or lost revenue. Another important skill is your ability to problem-solve. Dealing with pre-existing structures, you will likely run into scenarios you haven't seen before - you will need to be able to think creatively and find solutions.
You will also need to be physically fit as strength, stamina and dexterity will play a large role in your career. If you wish to start your own business, you may want to take some business courses to ensure you can properly bid projects and track inventory.
The median salary for a carpenter is just over $45,000 per year. Carpenters with years of experience can advance to supervisors or strike out independently and be a general contractor. If you wish to advance to supervisor or start your own business, you should strongly consider attending some business courses at your trade school. Carpentry is a safe career bet as the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field to grow about 8% over the next ten years.