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Carpentry School Options & Information

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Learning this trade through a carpentry school or apprenticeship can lead to long-term security and satisfaction. After all, carpenters get to perform many high-value tasks that can't be easily automated. They often enjoy strong demand for their skills. And many get to experience the freedom that comes from running their own contracting businesses.

For more detailed information on why this trade is worth your time, skip to "Why Carpentry Jobs Are Awesome: 9 Powerful Rewards."


Education & Training

Although some people learn this trade by going straight into a carpentry apprenticeship, many others benefit from attending trade school first.

Length of Training

Completing a pre-apprenticeship education through a carpentry trade school or vocational college tends to take anywhere from eight to 24 months. Although much less common, shorter programs may be available (often including online carpentry classes) that make it possible to learn the basics of how to become a carpenter in as little as about four months.*

Apprenticeship programs can take up to four years. If you complete a pre-apprenticeship program, that coursework can add another two years.

As you calculate the time it will take you to train as a carpenter, there is another consideration to keep in mind. Carpenters and other tradespeople are usually paid for their on-the-job training. So, you'll likely begin to enjoy the financial rewards of a career in carpentry more quickly than you might in some other occupations.

Most Common Length of School*
(range in months)

  • Plumbing
    4-24
  • Carpentry
    8-24
  • Electrical technology
    8-24
  • Construction management
    6-48

Program Options

 Carpentry schools generally offer programs that are designed to prepare students for entry-level opportunities in the trade, such as apprenticeships.

Pre-Apprenticeship Programs

Pre-apprenticeship programs teach the basics of carpentry. They also help you polish the skills you'll need to be successful in the industry. Coursework often includes basic math and science. During the program, you'll learn carpentry terminology for tools, equipment, and materials. You'll learn to draft and interpret blueprints and manage projects.

Carpenter programs also teach workplace safety, building codes, and other government regulations. Many programs offer the option for training in carpentry specialties. These include roofing, framing, finishing, and machine woodworking.

1. Certificate and diploma programs:

Carpentry certificates and diplomas are the shortest, most focused educational options. They usually provide instruction in the core concepts of the trade. In-person courses of study also tend to incorporate some hands-on technical training.

2. Associate degree programs:

Carpentry associate degree programs take around two years to complete. These more extended degree programs offer significant advantages, including:

  • More comprehensive instruction
  • More hands-on practice
  • Broader range of skills and knowledge
  • A mix of carpentry coursework and more general subjects (which can better prepare you for management or leadership roles)
  • Higher potential for career advancement
  • Opportunities for higher-level positions

Carpentry Apprenticeship Programs

Carpentry apprenticeships are mostly offered through individual employers, contractors' associations, or local chapters of trade unions. For example, you might find opportunities through the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) or the Construction Employers Association (CEA). The U.S. Department of Labor also offers an online search tool.

Apprentices are paid while learning on the job. Classroom instruction will also be part of your training, but if you completed a pre-apprenticeship program through a carpentry school, some of your class requirements might be waived.

Most carpentry apprenticeship programs include technical training. They then combine this with extensive, supervised, and paid on-the-job training. Throughout your training, you'll work under the supervision of one or more experienced carpenters.



Typical Courses

Formal carpentry programs vary in scope, but they often include classes in subjects like:

  • Trade terminology
  • Workplace safety
  • Government regulations and building codes
  • Algebra and geometry
  • Basic physics
  • Architectural drafting
  • Blueprint interpretation
  • Carpentry tools and equipment
  • Building materials (including selection and measurement)
  • Machine woodworking
  • Framing
  • Roofing
  • Finishing
  • Project management

What Makes a Good Carpenter?

To prepare to succeed as a carpenter, you'll need specific skills. Before training to become a carpenter, it's wise to evaluate yourself for these skills and determine what you need to learn and strengthen.

Assess Your Skills and Determine If Carpentry Is a Good Fit for You

  • Attention to detail: This is key to a carpenter's success. Carpenters must be precise in measuring, cutting, and modifying construction materials. In carpentry jobs, fractions of measurements mean the difference between success and failure.
  • Aptitude for math: Carpenters must work with measurements to calculate the area of various spaces. Math skills—especially trigonometry, algebra, and geometry—are essential to this work. Having a natural talent for math can be advantageous, but it's worth noting that even people who struggled with math in school can make successful carpenters using math in practical applications.
  • Dexterity: Precision demands both a keen eye and nimble fingers. As a carpenter, you'll use your hands to manipulate construction materials. Strong hand-eye coordination ensures a carpenter completes the job well while staying safe.
  • Physical strength and stamina: As a carpenter, you'll rely not only on your hands but on your overall physical strength. Some standard tools and materials can weigh up to 100 pounds. You'll also need to be comfortable standing for long periods. Frequent bending and climbing are also regular parts of the job.
  • Problem-solving skills: Carpenters must combine physical and mental strength to solve problems as they arise. New problems requiring new creative and analytical solutions occur every day. An ability to visualize 2D blueprints as 3D structures is especially helpful. Visualizing a finished project can both prevent problems and solve them.
  • Reading comprehension: Completing jobs and addressing issues as they arise can require reading installation instructions. These can include technical documents and product specifications. Strong reading skills can make deciphering complex documents easier.
  • Business skills: Some carpenters are self-employed. If you choose this path, your financial success will partially depend on your business skills. Self-employed carpenters must bid for jobs, manage workers, and track inventory.

Take Steps to Improve Skills That May be Lacking

If you're still in high school, some courses may be worth extra attention on your part. These include math, English, business, and art courses, especially mechanical drawing if available. If your school offers a woodworking or shop class, you can gain relevant education and experience.

If you have finished high school and think your reading or math skills could use a refresher, online and in-person programs, and tutors can help.

You can work to build your physical strength and stamina at any age. You can also work on polishing your interpersonal skills.

Skills You Can Learn at Carpentry Schools

Carpentry training may help you gain practical expertise related to doing things like:

  • Visualizing 3D structures based on 2D drawings
  • Selecting and laying out building materials
  • Taking accurate measurements
  • Making precise calculations
  • Using, inspecting, and maintaining hand and power tools
  • Following proper safety and waste-removal practices
  • Adhering to local building codes
  • Marking, cutting, shaping, erecting, and joining wood or other materials
  • Verifying the trueness of installed structural components
  • Using woodworking machines
  • Managing projects

Licensing & Certification

In most states, carpenters only need to be licensed if they are self-employed contractors or work on projects that are valued above a certain dollar amount. But the requirements can vary greatly from state to state. And many local jurisdictions (e.g., cities and counties) have their own regulations. So it's important to contact the appropriate state and local offices that oversee the licensing of contractors and tradespeople in your region.

Earning a contractor's license typically requires proving that you have a minimum amount of relevant experience and/or education, passing an exam, and purchasing liability insurance.

Most states don't have any formal process for recognizing the completion of carpenter apprenticeships. So becoming certified as a journeyman carpenter generally happens through trade unions or contractors' associations. The private organization that awards your journeyman status may verify your achievement with a special card or certificate.

Carpenters can earn additional voluntary certifications geared toward particular specialties or areas of interest. Examples of organizations that offer different types of carpentry certification include:

Opportunities for Continuing Education and Advancement

Completing your training is a significant accomplishment. Successful carpenters understand, though, that their training is truly never finished.

Successful carpenters continue to learn as they tackle new challenges each day. Successful carpenters also pursue continuing education. Many of the organizations that offer apprenticeship programs offer professional development as well. Check with your trade union or contractors' association for the opportunities they offer.

Pursuing these opportunities keeps you up to date on best practices in the industry. These offerings also make you more marketable to potential clients.

Extra training is especially beneficial if you intend to seek a management role. Carpenters can work to become lead carpenters, first-line supervisors, and general construction supervisors.

Some carpenters prefer the flexibility and autonomy of self-employment. If this describes you, you might choose to become an independent contractor.

Education & Training FAQs

Is carpentry school hard?

It can be difficult for people who don't have strong attention to detail. After all, this trade requires precision when marking, measuring, and cutting materials. Making accurate calculations is also essential. (In the carpentry trade, small errors can turn into large problems.)

Being good at math (including simple arithmetic, algebra, and geometry) can go a long way toward making this trade easier to learn. That said, many students have an easier time learning math in a trade school program than they did in high school since they get to apply the concepts to real-world examples. Plus, carpentry programs are often taught by experienced tradespeople who can share all kinds of tips, tricks, and insights that make everything simpler to understand.

It also helps to have good dexterity with your hands. But almost anyone can develop the practical skills that lead to great craftsmanship. That's what the training is for. You just need to follow the guidance of your instructors or mentors and keep practicing what you learn until it becomes second nature.

How much do carpentry apprentices make?

A carpenter apprentice makes about half of what a fully qualified carpenter makes. As you gain more expertise on the job, your wage will likely increase.


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Career Information

The carpentry trade offers significant potential for professional freedom, job security, and satisfaction. It is also full of variety, including many opportunities to specialize in the particular areas that you find most interesting and enjoyable.

Career Snapshot

Career Outlook
2% growth from 2020 to 2030

Career Outlook infographic

Median Salary
Carpenters

Median Salary infographic

Job Openings
Average Yearly Openings

Job Openings infographic

Length of Training
Most Common Length

Training Length infographic

Work Settings

Work setting infographic

Specializations

Rough carpentry, finish carpentry, formwork carpentry, cabinetmaking, acoustical carpentry, scenic carpentry, marine carpentry

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • U.S. Department of Education

Earnings

Carpenters are well-compensated. The median yearly wage for carpenters in the U.S. is $49,520, according to estimates from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program. Plus, carpentry is one of the highest-paying trades, with the top earners making more than $87,410.

Median Annual Wage Comparison

Job Openings & Outlook

Opportunities can ebb and flow with changes in the economy, but carpentry is one of the trade jobs that's often in demand. From 2020 to 2030, employment in the trade is expected to grow over 2 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections. Over that period, an average of 89,300 jobs could open up each year, including:

  • Entirely new carpentry positions: 2,100
  • Openings created by tradespeople retiring: 27,800
  • Positions made available by carpenters changing careers: 59,400

Key Benefits

  1. Long-term career security: Society will always need structures to be built, renovated, retrofitted, or repaired. And because carpenters frequently work on non-routine projects with unpredictable variables that require quick problem solving and adaptability, they are unlikely to get replaced by robots anytime soon.
  2. The opportunity to work for yourself: About 26 percent of carpenters are self-employed. Being a contractor can boost your income potential and give you more freedom to control your schedule and choose the projects you work on.
  3. Inner satisfaction: Many carpenters experience a deep feeling of pride from knowing they have taken on challenging projects and succeeded, leaving behind tangible evidence of their craftsmanship.

What Does a Carpenter Do?

 Carpenters help build, repair, or renovate residential, commercial, or industrial structures. Depending on their area of focus, their level of responsibility, the particular project they are working on, and the stage of that project, they may be involved in aspects of the trade such as:

Planning and Administration

  • Reading and interpreting blueprints and building plans
  • Identifying and calculating the types and amounts of materials needed
  • Developing and presenting budgets, quotes, and deadlines
  • Obtaining work permits and filing appropriate documents
  • Maintaining records
  • Preparing progress reports

Building and Construction

  • Erecting and bracing concrete forms
  • Framing walls and ceiling joists using wood or metal studs
  • Laying out, framing, erecting, and/or installing:
    • Interior and exterior walls
    • Roofs
    • Floor joists
    • Interior and exterior stair units
    • Sheathing for floors, walls, and roofs
    • Interior and exterior windows and doors
    • Insulation materials and vapor barriers
    • Suspended ceilings

Finishing, Remodeling, or Restoration

  • Affixing wood, vinyl, metal, or other types of siding to exterior walls
  • Applying stucco, masonry veneer, or other exterior finishes
  • Completing roofing jobs by closing up valleys and ensuring watertight seals
  • Demolishing old walls and framing new ones
  • Finishing drywall surfaces using compounds, joint reinforcing tapes, and other materials
  • Measuring, cutting, and installing interior moldings around floors, doors, windows, and ceilings
  • Building, laying out, and installing kitchen base and wall cabinets, countertops, and backsplashes
  • Constructing and finishing closets and other architectural details
  • Installing hardwood, laminate, tile, or other flooring materials

Work Settings

People in this trade work in a wide range of indoor and outdoor environments. Depending on their particular jobs and specialties, carpenters are found in settings such as:

  • Outdoor construction sites
  • Homes
  • Office buildings
  • Factories
  • Workshops
  • Hospitals
  • Retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Schools
  • Industrial plants
  • Theaters
  • Studios
  • Shipyards

Specializations

As carpenters gain experience, they often develop a preference for particular areas of the trade. For instance, some would rather stick to new construction, whereas others enjoy renovating existing structures. However, you can pursue specialties that are even more focused than that. Examples include:

Rough carpentry: Specialize in building the parts of structures that, in general, aren't visible when those structures are fully completed. For example, you might only construct wooden walls, posts, beams, rafters, or subfloors that eventually get covered by other materials. Or you might build temporary forms, supports, or shelters that help other tradespeople perform their jobs during the construction phases of projects.

Finish carpentry: Help install and complete various details that are visible at the end stages of projects, such as doors, windows, staircases, flooring, baseboards, trim, molding, and cabinets.

Formwork carpentry: Focus on building and taking down the temporary supports that concrete gets poured into in order to shape and contain it as it hardens (often for foundations, footings, pillars, or other large structural components).

Cabinetmaking: Create wooden cupboards and drawers for kitchens, bathrooms, or other areas of a building. Some cabinetmakers also build furniture.

Acoustical carpentry: Concentrate on using construction techniques and materials that help reflect or dampen sound in order to reduce noise inside built environments.

Scenic carpentry: Take on a fun and critical role in the entertainment and performing arts industries by building physical sets and backdrops for film, TV, and theatrical productions.

Marine carpentry: Help build, maintain, or fix wooden boats and ships.

Specialized Professional Certifications

Some carpenters choose to pursue specialized certifications.

Carpenters interested in environmental sustainability might explore certification programs that focus on green building practices. The U.S Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Advantage offer these types of programs.

The USGBC is responsible for administering the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program. Many businesses pursue this certification when constructing new facilities or remodeling existing ones. Being a USGBC-certified carpenter can make you stand out to these potential clients.

Green Advantage likewise grants credentials to contractors with expertise in sustainable building practices. It offers two levels of certification for workers and supervisors.

If your interests focus on a carpentry specialty, you can also pursue licensing in that area. Some carpenters have a passion for wood flooring. They might become a certified professional with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) with specific testing.

Perhaps you enjoy the challenge of remodeling existing structures. If so, you might become licensed with NARI. NARI is the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Finally, once you become a carpenter, you might explore related areas of construction. Many carpenters find their skills transfer well to other careers. For example, some carpenters pursue more training in heavy equipment operation.

Career FAQs

What's the difference between carpentry and construction?

Construction is a general term for describing the building of large structures. Carpentry is just one of many specific trades within the broader construction industry. In addition to carpenters, a few examples of skilled tradespeople who can work in construction include:

The construction industry also provides jobs for general laborers, helpers, drafters, supervisors, managers, and people with various other skill sets.

Programs at a construction school may focus exclusively on carpentry or other specific trades. Or they may introduce people to multiple trades, providing general training that helps students choose a more specific path.

What are the advancement opportunities for a carpenter?

As you gain experience within the trade, you could advance into managerial positions such as:

  • Foreman
  • Crew leader
  • Lead hand
  • Superintendent
  • Site manager
  • Project manager
  • Job coordinator
  • Job planner
  • Safety director

You could also work for yourself by becoming an independent contractor. Many carpenters find it helpful to get some additional training in construction management when making that transition.

Is carpentry dangerous?

Data from the BLS shows that, in 2019, 99 carpenters died from work-related injuries. That's out of 734,170 carpenters who were employed that year. So the fatality rate in this trade was just 0.013 percent.

Most carpenters learn how to work safely, and they use protective clothing and equipment while on the job. But there is always some inherent risk. Injuries can happen from tripping, slipping, falling from high places, straining while lifting heavy objects, or accidentally coming into contact with sharp objects (such as the blades on power saws).


A Carpentry School Can Teach You More Than the Basics

Whether you want to prepare for an apprenticeship or pursue entry-level opportunities in this trade, formal vocational training can be a major help in your journey toward becoming a fully qualified carpenter.


Why Carpentry Jobs Are Awesome: 9 Powerful Rewards

Woodworking and carpentry jobs are often well-loved by the people who have them. In fact, some adults end up changing careers so that they can experience what many skilled tradespeople already know: Being a professional carpenter or woodworker can make you feel more alive, more connected, and more accomplished.

Maybe it's because carpentry goes back hundreds of years. It's one of the world's oldest and most important trades. Building and making things out of wood has been essential to humanity's progress. And the trade has continued to expand and evolve as new techniques, technologies, and materials have been developed.

Or maybe woodworking jobs and carpentry careers feel so worthwhile because of their close relationship with the cycle of creation. After all, they involve using a natural product of the forest to create structures and items that enable human beings to live comfortable and enjoyable lives.

Of course, the biggest reasons why a lot of carpenters and woodworkers love their jobs may have more to do with the practical benefits. For example, check out these nine top carpentry benefits:

1. An Amazing Variety of Job Paths

Learning skills for this trade can allow you to pursue many types of carpentry jobs. As a matter of fact, carpentry and woodworking represent one of the most versatile occupational sectors that you can enter. It doesn't just touch most aspects of construction; it also touches many aspects of our lives that we might not think about as much.

As a result, people who go into this wide-ranging trade often have the chance to specialize in particular areas that align with their own interests and abilities. For instance, after some basic carpentry training, you might choose to pursue a career as one of the following types of carpenters or woodworkers:

  • Framing and residential carpenter: Help build various kinds of homes, from condos and townhouses to single-family residences. Carpenters in this category are often involved in framing exterior and interior walls, building stairs, and framing decks and roofs. Some of them even build forms for concrete foundations or put up drywall. And some carpenters in this category specialize in working on finishing touches such as installing cabinets, doors, wood floors, and crown molding. They often use job titles like "finish carpenter" or "trim carpenter."
  • Commercial carpenter: Assist in the construction of hotels, office towers, schools, hospitals, restaurants, retail developments, and other types of commercial buildings. In addition to wood, carpenters in this area of the trade also frequently work with steel or other materials when framing exterior walls, curtain walls, and interior partitions. Many of them also specialize in building concrete forms or performing various finishing tasks like laying floors or installing paneling, ceilings, and windows.
  • Industrial carpenter: Work on important public infrastructure projects or in major industries like resource extraction, energy production, or manufacturing. Big construction projects often require specialized carpenters to build safe and sturdy scaffolding, strong bracing, firm partitions, or precise concrete-pouring forms. Such carpenters often contribute their skills to civil engineering projects such as bridges, tunnels, and dams. And they can also be found working on the construction of industrial projects like power plants or underground structures for mining.
  • Bench carpenter or cabinetmaker: Contribute to the cutting, shaping, and assembling of wood products. Or take on tasks like setting up and operating power saws, mortisers, jointers, and other kinds of woodworking machinery. Many cabinetmakers don't just get to fabricate wooden cabinets; they also frequently get to design custom cabinets and install them in customers' homes or offices.
  • Carpentry assistant: Help established carpenters with basic tasks as you learn fundamentals like how to read blueprints, make accurate measurements, and use hand tools and power tools safely and effectively. This job path is good for getting a feel for the trade before beginning an apprenticeship.
  • Furniture finisher: Take on jobs that involve restoring worn or damaged furniture by using skills related to shaping wood and applying stains, sealing agents, or topcoats. Many woodworkers in this part of the trade repair or refinish wooden antiques and educate people on how to best preserve them.
  • Woodworking machine operator: Specialize in the use of automated equipment such as computerized numerical control (CNC) machines for the production of various kinds of items made from wood, laminates, veneers, or a combination of wood-related materials.

While exploring this trade, you might also wonder what the difference is between rough carpentry and finish carpentry. Basically, rough carpenters specialize in building things like concrete forms, scaffolding, and frameworks for large structures. In contrast, finish carpenters are specialists at final touches such as laying floors, building stairs and banisters, and installing trim, paneling, and moldings.

As carpenters advance in their careers, many of them have the opportunity to take on higher-paying roles with more responsibility. Those can include job paths like becoming construction supervisors or starting their own companies as independent contractors. In addition, some carpenters venture into related areas of construction, such as becoming industrial millwrights or heavy equipment operators.

2. Opportunities to Earn Good Wages

For a highly skilled carpenter or woodworker, the sky is the limit when it comes to earning potential. The pay is often especially compelling if you become a lead carpenter (i.e., a supervisor), operate your own contracting business, or gain a management position in the commercial or industrial sector. Of course, everyone who gets into this trade begins at the entry level as an apprentice or carpenter helper. But even many carpentry apprenticeship jobs pay good wages once you've moved beyond the basics. And most apprenticeships only take between three and four years to complete, which can earn you the title of "journeyman carpenter."

Based on 2020 estimates from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, average annual wages for tradespeople in this career sector looked like this:

  • Construction supervisors (including lead carpenters): $67,840 ($32.61 per hour)
  • Journeyperson carpenters: $49,520 ($23.81 per hour)
  • Cabinetmakers: $36,710 ($17.65 per hour)
  • Furniture finishers: $32,970 ($15.85 per hour)
  • Woodworking machine operators: $32,160 ($15.46 per hour)
  • Carpenters' helpers: $34,280 ($16.48 per hour)

Many carpentry and woodworking professionals earn well above the national average wages for their trades, especially if they have a lot of experience or work in high-paying industries or regions. For example, OEWS program data shows that, in 2020, the most high-paid carpentry jobs offered yearly wages of over $87,410 ($42.02 per hour). The electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry paid carpenters the highest average wages—$85,900 ($41.30 per hour). And the states where carpenters earned the most money, on average, were Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Alaska, and New Jersey. Average pay in those states ranged from $65,500 ($31.49 per hour) to $80,810 ($38.85 per hour).

Plus, some carpentry and woodworking jobs come with employer benefits such as paid vacation, health and dental insurance, and retirement savings plans. Union jobs, in particular, are known to provide excellent benefits. So it's worth looking into organizations such as the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC). Getting some basic woodworking or carpentry training before applying for union apprenticeships can make you a more attractive candidate. Many vocational and trade schools offer short carpentry programs that provide exactly that.

3. The Ability to Take On Woodworking Jobs From Home

Carpentry is a good job for people who are interested in working from home. Having the skills to cut, shape and finish wood can mean having a huge world of other moneymaking opportunities available to you. In fact, you don't have to confine yourself to just building privacy fences or decks in your spare time for extra cash. With relatively few startup costs, you might also be able to begin doing fun woodworking jobs from home.

Even a lot of non-professional woodworkers are able to succeed with home-based businesses. So imagine what you might be able to do as a true craftsperson with professional carpentry skills and a better knowledge of the tools, materials, and possibilities. For example, some people have achieved success by making and selling products such as:

  • Unique birdhouses
  • Handcrafted wooden toys
  • Dollhouses and related accessories
  • Distinctive wooden signs or plaques that are funny, clever, or inspirational
  • Custom-designed furniture like chairs, coffee tables, and bookshelves
  • Laser-cut or laser-engraved wooden objects like clocks, maps, rolling pins, cuff links, or ornamental trinkets
  • Customized wooden instruments like guitars or violins
  • Various types of home decor and accessories

The point is to use your imagination and master a particular niche. People all over the world are seeking high-quality wooden products that have a distinctive flair. And they are often willing to pay top dollar for them. Plus, the Internet has made it easier than ever to find and serve niche markets. Etsy is just one of many online marketplaces where you can easily begin selling what you make from home.

Other possibilities for doing woodwork at home include restoring or repairing wooden antiques, refinishing old furniture, or assembling or painting wooden products for various manufacturers. Just be careful about signing on with work-from-home companies. Although many of them are legitimate, some of them are scams. So it's best to check out every company thoroughly, especially if you're being asked to send upfront payments for supplies.

4. Potential Growth in the Number of Job Openings

Why Carpentry Jobs Are Awesome: 9 Powerful RewardsAmerica's population continues to rise. And the fastest-growing areas of the country always experience an upsurge in demand for qualified carpenters. After all, as more people move into a region, the need to construct new homes, schools, hospitals, and commercial developments tends to grow.

But even in slower-growing regions, many homeowners and organizations need professional carpenters for remodeling and renovation projects. Older buildings are abundant in America. And so are older pieces of public infrastructure. When governments decide to invest in the construction of new bridges and other infrastructure projects, the demand for commercial and industrial carpenters often rises significantly.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), America was already home to 942,900 carpenter jobs in 2020. Yet, between 2020 and 2030, that number could rise by 20,100 jobs.

5. Enjoyment and Satisfaction

A lot of carpenters and woodworkers genuinely look forward to each day's work. They enjoy building things with their hands while using plenty of skill, precision, and creative ingenuity. And they put their hearts into their jobs so that they can stand back at the end of a project and see that it was built to last. They always know that their efforts can be easily measured and appreciated.

Plus, many people in the woodworking and carpentry trade are able to set their own hours. In fact, the OOH says that about one-quarter of carpenters were self-employed in 2020.

6. Mental and Emotional Benefits

Carpentry and woodworking require a lot of focus, especially for complex projects. Paying attention to the details is essential since accurate cuts and measurements are what allow projects to be successfully completed. As a result, this trade is terrific for helping you develop laser focus while also forcing you not to rush through things.

That's why many experienced carpenters and woodworking professionals get to the point where their jobs feel almost like meditation. Their minds are focused, yet they become so good at what they do that their minds are also free to wander and think through other things. So they often end their days feeling grounded and good about themselves.

7. Physical Health Advantages

It's true that using carpentry tools and working on building sites requires paying special attention to safety precautions. Some tradespeople do get injured while on the job. But if you're careful, this trade can actually benefit your health. Since it involves a lot of daily physical activity, having a carpentry job might lower your long-term risks of contracting illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And the trade is well known for its positive impacts on physical strength, endurance, body control, and hand dexterity.

8. Opportunities to Save Money

Why pay huge markups on wooden furniture or pay someone else to build you a deck, fence, or tool shed? When you're a master craftsperson and have all of the necessary tools and woodworking skills, you can build and create a lot of items that other people usually have to pay high prices for. And as a professional carpenter, you might even be able to buy the raw materials you need at wholesale prices.

9. Transferable Skills

One of the most overlooked benefits of working in this vocational area is that some of the skills you acquire might be valuable if you ever decide to pursue a different career. For example, consider the ability to visualize 3D objects and understand how 2D renderings or blueprints translate into built reality. In today's technology-driven world, more and more industries are utilizing computerized 3D modeling, so having such visualization skills can be highly advantageous. Or consider the communication skills that you might attain while working with various clients, builders, designers, or architects. The ability to listen and communicate clearly and effectively is something that employers in every industry place a high value on.


Build a Future That You Can Be Proud Of

Is carpentry a good career for you? If the carpentry benefits described above match what you want from a job, then it's probably a great choice. Plenty of excellent woodworking and carpentry jobs are out there, ready for motivated people like you to fill them.


* Length of training information is based on a combination of information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Department of Education, and a wide sampling of relevant program lengths from about 30 individual school websites. They are a mix of public, private non-profit, and private for-profit institutions.