How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Carpenter: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $46,780
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 6.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Outdoor Work Environment
    Career Attribute

Carpenters are versatile builders who specialize in creating the framework for homes and other structures. They erect the frameworks for buildings, install drywall, and insulate buildings. They use a variety of tools to conduct their work, including small hand tools and major construction equipment.

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What is a Carpenter?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in carpenter roles:

  • Create new building frameworks by following the instructions on blueprints from architects
  • Measure, cut, and connect materials to form strong frameworks for new structures
  • Install finishing touches on structures after electrical and plumbing work is complete, such as drywall and insulation
  • Perform remodeling tasks for homes and other buildings with structural issues
  • Use a variety of tools, including small hand and power tools and large equipment like cranes

A Day in the Life

Carpenters are versatile builders who create the framework for new homes, buildings, and other structures. They use blueprints created by architects, and erect the structures of buildings with wood or other materials. The role requires significant adherence to safety measures and significant attention to detail as carpenters must use powerful saws and other equipment to cut materials to exact specifications. In addition to saws, carpenters use a variety of hand tools, power tools, and equipment.

The work carpenters perform is often dependent on the work of other contractors. For example, carpenters are often the first individuals on a new project, erecting the structure of what will eventually become a building. However, one the structure is set, carpenters may need to wait for plumbers and electricians to complete their work before they can complete the job. They return near the end of the project to hang drywall, install cabinets, and place insulation in new buildings.

Because carpenters are trained in a variety of construction techniques, many work as handymen or general contractors for home and building remodeling projects. These individuals oversee all of the work that needs to be performed for major remodeling projects, such as repairing a cracked foundation, replacing electrical wiring, or replacing plaster walls with drywall. Under these circumstances, the carpenter may subcontract work out to other experts, such as electricians or plumbers.

Typical Work Schedule

Most contractors work full-time schedules, and overtime is common. While a carpenter’s set schedule may be during normal business hours, evening and weekend work can be common to finalize overdue projects or to meet deadlines.

Typical Employers

Carpenters may be self-employed, or they may work for construction or real estate development companies. Self-employed carpenters generally work on home or building remodeling projects and are responsible for finding their own clients. Carpenters who work for construction or real estate development companies often work on constructing new homes, buildings, and other structures.

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How To Become a Carpenter

Most carpenters are trained to perform the role in apprenticeship programs, so a high school diploma is a sufficient level of education for most aspiring carpenters. Because the role of a carpenter can be physically demanding, good physical health is an important part of success in the field, and most companies require apprentice carpenters to be at least 18-years old. Aspiring carpenters can find apprenticeships with experienced, self-employed carpenters, or they may be able to enter an apprenticeship program with a major construction or real estate development company.

To stand out when applying for apprenticeship positions, some aspiring carpenters with no professional experience opt to enter a pre-apprenticeship training program. Coursework in these programs allows aspiring carpenters to learn important skills needed in the role, including carpentry basics, how to read blueprints, how to operate power tools, and painting techniques, among others. Potential apprentices with this knowledge may be more competitive for open apprenticeships because they need less on-the-job training before they’re able to assist with carpentry tasks.

After completing an apprenticeship, carpenters must pass two courses offered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These courses teach carpenters how to ensure safety for themselves and others on the job site, ensuring fewer falls, fewer injuries from power tools, and fewer structure collapses or similar incidents that could place others in danger.

Carpenter Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Carpenter salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Carpenter's can make an average annual salary of $46,780, or $22 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $32,810 or $16 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #427 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Carpenters

  • 0.1%   Doctorate
  • 0.8%   Masters
  • 5.5%   Bachelors
  • 5.2%   Associates
  • 20.7%   College
  • 43.1%   High School
  • 24.6%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Carpenter job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 60,400 jobs for a total of 1,005,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 6.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #347 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Carpenters

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 317,400 15,100 15%
Residential building construction 193,000 12,500 13%
Nonresidential building construction 112,600 7,800 8%

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