2022 Carpentry Degree Guide

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.

Carpentry Degrees Shrinking in Popularity

#270 Most Popular Major
533 Degrees Awarded
-2.1% Increase in Graduates

Carpentry was the 270th most popular major in the 2019-2020 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 533 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 2.1% reduction in carpentry degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 544.

Approximately 79 colleges in the U.S. offer a carpentry degree of some kind. This year's Best Carpentry Schools ranking compares 22 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of carpentry programs later in this article.

Carpentry Degree Requirements

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.

Prior Education for a Carpentry Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Specific carpentry careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Carpentry Degree Types

There are various different levels of carpentry degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a in carpentry to something that takes less time like a . Different carpentry degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

An associate degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to carpentry, with approximately 7.2% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for carpentry workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma 39.8%
Post-Secondary Certificate 23.6%
Some College Courses 15.3%
Less than a High School Diploma 12.4%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 6.4%

View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in carpentry careers have.


This of course varies depending on which carpentry career you choose.

Carpentry Careers

Above Average Number of Jobs
$24.6k Average Starting Salary
10% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

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.

Solid Growth Projected for Carpentry Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your carpentry degree? Carpentry careers are expected to grow 9.8% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to carpentry.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Carpenters 1,109,400 8.2%
Construction Trades and Extraction Worker Supervisors 678,300 12.6%

How Much Money Do People With a Carpentry Degree Make?

Carpentry graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $24,564 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $11,300 to as high as $33,800. As you might expect, salaries for carpentry graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Carpentry Careers

Salaries for carpentry graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers carpentry grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Construction Trades and Extraction Worker Supervisors $70,540
Carpenters $51,120

Getting Your Carpentry Degree

With over 80 different carpentry degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased carpentry school rankings to help you with this.

Carpentry is one of 6 different types of Construction Trades programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Electrical & Power Transmission Installers 3,178
Building Management & Inspection 1,586
Construction 556
Plumbing & Water Supply 230
Masonry 50

View All Carpentry Related Majors >


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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