What Do Carpenters Do?
A carpenter is someone who constructs, repairs, installs and erects structures made of wood. This could include building frameworks, joists, studding, rafters, stairways, door and window frames, hardwood floors, cabinets, siding and drywall.This type of position is expected to see a 24% increase in the United States. That would translate to about 32,920 annual job openings.
Carpenters Skills and Abilities
No matter what sort of work a carpenter does, they have to be able to work with their hands. They know about woodworking, construction, mathematics and design. A carpenter has to be able to assess their own performance, solve complex problems and coordinate with coworkers. Many carpentry projects require teamwork, which means a carpenter has to be good at time management and communication. A carpenter should be strong, able minded and sensitive to problems.
As a carpenter, you are expected to do a lot of different duties. These duties may include, but are not limited to:
- Following established safety rules.
- Studying specifications found in blueprints, sketches and building designs in order to prepare project.
- Cutting materials to specified measurements.
- Maintaining records, documents and progress reports.
- Inspecting buildings and fixtures to find broken or damaged structures.
- Finishing surfaces of woodwork.
- Applying paneling to ceilings and walls that absorb shock, deaden sound and decorate.
- Filling cracks and other defects in plaster.
- Preparing cost estimates for clients, employers or other appropriate parties.
- Erecting scaffolding.
- Assembling materials to make frameworks.
- Selecting and ordering lumber and other necessary materials.
- Building and repairing doors, frameworks, cabinets, floors and other wooden fixtures.
What you are expected to do as a carpenter will be determined by the institution you work for and your level of experience.
Carpenters Tools and Technology
In order for you to be able to perform all of those duties, you have to know how to use some important tools and technology:
- Tape Measures
- Framing Squares
- Accounting Software like Intuit QuickBooks
- Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software like Drawing and Drafting Software
- Information Retrieval or Search Software like Renaissance MasterCarpenter
- Project Management Software like Bosch Punch List
- Word Processing Software like Microsoft Word
These tools and technologies make carpentry much more efficient.
Education and Training for Carpenters
In order to become a carpenter, you have to have at least a high school diploma. It can be helpful to go to a technical college in order to learn the more technical aspects of carpentry, but it is not necessary. In order to become a skillful carpenter, you do have to undergo an apprenticeship, which is a type of on the job training. If you do go to college, you might take courses like:
- Carpentry Safety
- Site Layout, Footings and Foundations
- Construction Print Reading Fundamentals
- Overview of Building Construction Practices
- Exterior Finishes and Trim
- Floor and Wall Framing
This education and training ensure that you have to knowhow needed to skillfully and safely use carpentry abilities.
The salary for a carpenter can vary greatly. One end of the extreme is $25,600 and the other is $74,800. The average carpenter in the United States makes about $40,800. The biggest factors on your salary as a carpenter are your level of education, your prior experience and where you live. If you are just starting out, you will probably be on the lower end of the spectrum.
Carpenters Jobs by Geography
Just as the salary depends on geography, so do a few other factors about the carpentry industry. For example, California, New York and Florida have the most carpenters per capita. However, Nevada, Arizona and Guam are expected to see the largest growth. Hawaii, Alaska and Illinois are some of the best states to be a carpenter in because they have the highest average salary for carpenters. As you start to think about your future as a carpenter, you have to consider where you want to live and what sort of education you plan on pursuing.