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:
Help carpenters by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying, or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
On the job, you would:
Clean work areas, machines, or equipment, to maintain a clean and safe job site.
Fasten timbers or lumber with glue, screws, pegs, or nails and install hardware.
Perform tie spacing layout and measure, mark, drill or cut.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
Arts and Humanities
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
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
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
group things in different ways
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
Cost estimating software
high school diploma/GED or no high school diploma/GED usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.