What does a carpenter do?
Carpenters perform many essential tasks, including building structures, installing walls and floors, and creating decorative accents. Carpenters usually work primarily with wood, but they use other materials as well. This includes metals, plastics and glass. Companies also use carpenters to build handmade products like custom furniture and home decor. Carpenters have skills with tools like sanders, nail guns and saws. An overview of what carpenters do includes:
• Reading blueprints and following the instructions with great precision
• Installing fixtures
• Repairing all kinds of damaged or worn-out materials
• Measuring, cutting and shaping wood, metal and plastic
• Inspecting and replacing damaged frameworks
• Constructing frameworks and entire buildings, including the walls, ceilings and roofs
• Building decorative cabinetryView Roles
What is the average salary of a carpenter?
The average annual salary of a carpenter in the United States ranges from $51,598 to $69,383 and averages $59,866, as of June 2022. Carpenter salaries vary considerably based on your skill level, years of experience and any certifications earned. Geographic location and the company that employs you also affect your salary. Carpenters earn more money by working overtime, which is often available because clients demand fast service even if it requires paying extra for skilled labor.
Earning a bigger salary
You will earn more money if you speak English and Spanish, which also improves your chances of advancing to a supervisory position. Experienced carpenters advance to become general construction supervisors, carpentry supervisors or project managers. You also earn more money by specializing in areas like custom cabinetry, infrastructure work and renovations.
Industries that hire carpenters
Industries that hire carpenters include all types of contractors, finishing companies and interior designers. Carpentry falls into the construction industry category, and all types of companies hire carpenters for repair work, building projects and finishing services. Carpenters work for private clients to build and repair homes, and they often produce schematics and drawings for proposed construction projects. Some of the top industries that hire carpenters include:
- Residential building construction companies
- Commercial construction companies
- Foundation, structure and building exterior contractors
- Finishing contractors
- Wood product manufacturing companies
- Motion picture and video production companies
- Live theater companies
- Janitorial services companies
Carpenter job description
Working as a carpenter gives you a degree of independence because you will have many options for the type of work you perform. The top skilled carpenters create high demand for their work through word of mouth and by completing high-quality projects on time and on budget. Depending on the work you are performing, you will either work alone or as part of a team of other construction professionals, including masons, electricians and plumbers.
What are the responsibilities of a carpenter?
Skilled carpenters perform a variety of job duties that include custom woodworking projects, decorative finishing services and repairs when needed. You will hold responsibility for keeping tools and shared equipment in good shape and working with others to complete various tasks. The job responsibilities and duties of a carpenter include the following:
- Installing floors, ceilings and roofs
- Erecting scaffolding and ladders for structural access and safety protection
- Installing windows and doors and their frames and hardware
- Using blueprints, drawings and sketches to prepare materials and equipment for a project
- Shaping and cutting materials to specific measurements using hand tools and power tools
- Following recommended safety procedures and maintaining a clean work area free of obstructions and tripping hazards
- Assembling materials to build frameworks and props for stage and movie scenery
- Building, repairing and refinishing cabinets and wooden fixtures
- Removing and replacing damaged or worn parts and components
What type of equipment do carpenters use?
The list of equipment that carpenters use grows more extensive every year and includes automated equipment that grows increasingly popular as technology advances. Carpenters use a variety of power tools and hand tools designed specifically for woodworking and creating artistic designs and finishing touches. The basic tools that you need for all carpentry jobs include:
- Hand saws
- Tape measures
- Work benches and sawhorses
- Nail guns
- Power saws, drills and grinders
What is the work environment of a carpenter?
Carpenters work both indoors and outdoors on construction projects of various sizes. You will complete repairs and remodeling tasks in climate-controlled buildings and also work on new construction that exposes you to the elements. In some situations, you will travel to complete construction projects in other cities or states. If you hold a supervisory role, you will also complete tasks in an office setting with clients and other supervisors. On the job site, you will encounter potentially dangerous situations that require proper safety gear and knowledge. You will wear hard hats, gloves and protective eyewear. You will also need earplugs, a face shield and respirators on some jobs.
Who are your colleagues as a carpenter?
Your colleagues as a carpenter include a bevy of construction professionals like HVAC technicians, plumbers and electricians. Construction inspectors, material suppliers and vendors are also your colleagues. You will work as a part of a team with job supervisors, project managers, factory managers and architects.
What is the career outlook for an carpenter?
The job growth for carpenters is slower than the national average for other jobs. According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job will grow by 2% between 2020 and 2030>. Although growth is slower than other occupations, over 89,000 new carpenter jobs will open each year. Carpenters comprise the largest single career in the building trades, and many carpenters work second jobs as all-around handy people for making repairs of neighborhood homes and businesses. Carpenters always have the additional option of offering carpentry services from home-based businesses. Renovation and remodeling projects offer part-time work for skilled carpenters. Greater automation might slow down the growth rate of these jobs in the future, but new carpentry skills will always be needed for quality control, repairs and production supervision.
What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a carpenter?
Spherion will help you whether you are actively seeking a new job or just looking at what's available in your area. The team will help you with your search for employment by matching you with a carpentry job that fits your skills. Spherion maintains connections with a wide range of businesses, so you will enjoy plenty of networking opportunities to find the right job for you. Working via Spherion offers you a number of advantages:
- Weekly pay
- A dedicated contact person
- Various training opportunities
- Numerous jobs in your area
- Easy interviewing process
What education do you need as a carpenter?
Typically, you only need a high school diploma or its equivalent to work as a carpenter. In high school, the most promising future carpenters take related courses like math, mechanical drawing and wood shop. You can also take vocational or technical courses and earn an associate degree in carpentry. Programs vary in the topics covered, but all include a basic grounding in carpentry techniques. Possessing a carpentry degree or certificate will help you land a job and possibly higher entry-level pay. You will also improve your chances of getting a high-paying carpentry job by completing an apprenticeship program. Apprentices learn all about carpentry and how to read blueprints and manage construction projects.
Skills & competencies
The skills and competencies needed for a carpentry career vary depending on whether you choose to specialize in precision woodworking or design-related carpentry, both of which require artistic and design skills. The essential skills include math skills, woodworking abilities and mechanical skills to operate and maintain tools and machinery. Some of the most common skills needed include:
- Ability to operate various tools and machines
- Skill to maintain and repair tools as needed
- Ability to handle large items and small precision tools
- Knowledge of budgeting, business procedures and advanced math
- Ability to read and use blueprints
- Skills at precision cutting and wood finishing
- Aptitude for quality control
- Critical thinking skills
- Problem-solving aptitude
- Hand-eye coordination
- Manual dexterity
Certifications can make your resume more attractive to company HR departments and independent people and businesses looking for a carpenter. You can receive a higher starting salary and land a better job with an industry certification. The levels of carpentry include Carpenter’s Helper, Apprentice, Journeyperson and Master. You can earn a higher ranking with certifications like the following:
- OSHA Safety Certificate
- Certified Lead Carpenter
- Graduate Master Builder
- Registered Construction Inspector
- Associate Constructor
- Building Codes and Standards
Carpenters fulfill the most basic needs of building and contracting, and their work ranges from delicate and artistic tasks to major building projects. Some of the most common questions about a carpenter career include the following
Is carpentry dangerous?
OSHA highlights the risks that carpenters face like lacerations, severed fingers and damage to bones and muscles. However, following safety guidelines and always working with protective gear like eye protection, hard hats and ear plugs minimizes risks. You should also work for an employer who stresses safety.
What are some of the different types of carpenters?
Carpentry specialists include rough carpenters, trim carpenters and framers. Ship carpenters and cabinetry carpenters are some of the other available specialties.
Can you learn carpentry skills online?
Most carpenters require hands-on training to become familiar with common woodworking procedures. However, you will have the chance to expand your existing skills by taking an online course in specialized areas like cabinet making.
What are the major benefits of a carpentry career?
The benefits of a carpentry career include earning a high salary with minimal education requirements. You usually have some autonomy in how you approach each project as long as you achieve the required results. You can specialize in various areas to build your skills, achieve higher pay and increase your work satisfaction.
How do I apply for a job as a carpenter?
Applying for a job as a carpenter is easy with Spherion. You can search for carpenter jobs on Spherion.com by job title and location. If you don’t see the perfect role, you can submit an open application. Once you submit your resume through Spherion’s open application, a recruiter from the office closest to you will reach out with details about potential case manager roles that fit your skill set and professional goals.