Carpenters are a very versatile occupation that performs several different tasks. They construct and repair building structures and frameworks that are wood and other materials and may also install cabinetry for kitchens or bathrooms, as well as, drywall and siding. They can be found working in a variety of types of construction, from building bridges and highways to construction of a house or other buildings.
Carpenters have a higher rate of injury and illness than average of other occupations and the work is often times strenuous.
How to become a Carpenter
Carpenters require a high school diploma or the equivalent and it would be advisable for one desiring this career choice to begin to take classes in mechanical drawing and math while still in school. Most aspirants learn their skill in an apprenticeship program that usually lasts 3-4 years.
For each year of apprenticeship, one must complete 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. A student receives technical training in the basics of carpentry, like safety and first-aid practices and building code requirements and they also get specialized training in various areas such as scaffold building or rigging.
All carpenters must pass the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety course. Some unions and contractor associations sponsor apprenticeship programs with the basic qualifications being, at least 18 years old, holding a high school diploma or the equivalent, physically fit for the job, be a U.S. Citizen or proof of legal residency, and pass substance abuse screening. Veterans may receive preferred entry.
Job Description of a Carpenter
The duties of a carpenter vary depending on the job, but typically they have the tasks of reading and following blueprints and building plans for the job. They may install windows and molding and measure, cut, and shape materials, such as, wood or plastic. He or she constructs building frameworks like floors, door frames, and walls.
A carpenter must level, erect, and install building framework using cranes and rigging hardware. They inspect damaged framework or other structures and replace it if necessary. They need to use various tools on the job, such as, measuring tapes, hammers, power tools, and other tools that are critical to competing a job properly. He or she may need to oversee and direct construction helpers or those that are learning the trade. Carpenters must ensure that their final work is completed according to specifications.