Carpenters use various materials to build structures, objects, and fixtures. They frequently repair damaged structures. To complete various projects, carpenters must be able to cut materials and link them with other materials. Many carpenters are employed by special trade contractors as specialists, performing such tasks as constructing frames. General contractors frequently hire carpenters to install windows, doors, and cabinets.
Carpenters must abide by municipal government codes regulating the use of selected materials. Carpenters usually follow the same checklists when preparing for a project. They are responsible for preparing the details for jobs by selecting materials, conducting measurements, and marking materials for cuts. After this is done, cuts are made using drills, saws, or power tools. Once cuts are made, carpenters link materials together using glue, nails, or staples. To ensure accuracy, framing squares, rulers, and other measuring devices are utilized.
Carpenters are occasionally assigned stressful tasks. They are on their feet for extended periods of time and are often required to kneel and bend their bodies in awkward positions. Carpenters can be injured on the job by falling or getting cut.
How do you prepare for this career?
Potential carpenters can get their foot in the door by learning the trade with an experienced carpenter, but usually they learn these skills after enrolling in a training program. Carpentry, drawing, and woodshop classes are offered at most high schools. Talented carpenters usually acquire their skills after some formal instruction and 3 or 4 years of experience. A variety of trade schools offer carpentry programs. Larger construction companies sometimes assist individuals wanting to work as carpenters by setting up apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship programs provide individuals the opportunity to receive practical experience while studying in classrooms. Before getting accepted into an apprenticeship program, candidates must receive an acceptable score on an exam and be 18 years or older. Apprenticeship programs usually last 3-4 years depending on skill levels.
How much will I earn?
Carpenters with wages in the 50th percentile made between $13.55-23.85 per hour. The lower 10 percentile made $10.87 per hour or less while those in the upper 10 percentile made $30.45 or more per hour.
How many jobs are there?
During 2008, there were nearly 1.5 million carpenters in the United States. The majority of carpenters were employed by contractors. The others were employed by governments, factories, hardware stores, and schools. Over 30 percent of them ran their own businesses.
What is the future outlook for this career?
There are many job opportunities for carpenters. Since there is so much demand for carpenters, and many frequently retire, job growth should increase until at least 2016, but carpentry is not a recession proof industry and jobs are not guaranteed. Inclement weather and temporary jobs are frequent occurrences and certain areas of the country have more available jobs than others. Construction projects are affected by economic conditions in local communities. Thus, the availability of jobs will differ in each region every year.
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