From sanding a board perfectly smooth to transforming two by fours into a finished structure… carpentry fills the bill for those who want a hands-on career. Carpenters construct and repair wooden building frameworks and structures— such as stairways, doorframes, and windows. They use hand and power tools to cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall. They use a tape measure on nearly every project and need math skills to calculate the proper size for pieces they cut. They also train and direct construction and carpenters helpers. Carpenters helpers work under carpenters’ direction. Typically, they gather and carry materials, clean work areas and equipment, measure and cut materials, and position equipment. Carpenters and helpers work both indoors and outdoors. Worksites vary from tall buildings and bridges to homes and industrial sites. The work is sometimes strenuous, and involves physical risk, requiring protective equipment and safety practices. Most carpenters learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship program that combines technical training with paid on-the-job training. Apprentices must have a high school diploma or equivalent, have the physical ability to do the work, and meet additional criteria. Carpenter helpers usually learn on the job and have no specific education requirement.
What they do:
Construct, erect, install, or repair structures and fixtures made of wood and comparable materials, such as concrete forms; building frameworks, including partitions, joists, studding, and rafters; and wood stairways, window and door frames, and hardwood floors. May also install cabinets, siding, drywall, and batt or roll insulation. Includes brattice builders who build doors or brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in underground passageways.
On the job, you would:
Follow established safety rules and regulations and maintain a safe and clean environment.
Study specifications in blueprints, sketches, or building plans to prepare project layout and determine dimensions and materials required.
Measure and mark cutting lines on materials, using a ruler, pencil, chalk, and marking gauge.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
exercise for a long time without getting out of breath
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
order or arrange things
imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Project management software
Turtle Creek Software Goldenseal
Word processing software
Wilhelm Publishing Threshold
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.