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PERSONALIZED JOBS

Become A Builder

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Working As A Builder

  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Make Decisions

  • $38,810

    Average Salary

What Does A Builder Do

Carpenters construct and repair building frameworks and structures—such as stairways, doorframes, partitions, rafters, and bridge supports—made from wood and other materials. They also may install kitchen cabinets, siding, and drywall.

Duties

Carpenters typically do the following:

  • Follow blueprints and building plans to meet the needs of clients
  • Install structures and fixtures, such as windows and molding
  • Measure, cut, and shape wood, plastic, and other materials
  • Construct building frameworks, including walls, floors, and doorframes
  • Erect, level, and install building framework with the aid of rigging hardware and cranes
  • Inspect and replace damaged framework or other structures and fixtures
  • Instruct and direct laborers and other construction helpers

Carpenters are one of the most versatile construction occupations, with workers usually doing many different tasks. For example, some carpenters primarily insulate office buildings and others install drywall or kitchen cabinets in homes. Those who help construct tall buildings or bridges often install the wooden concrete forms for cement footings or pillars and are commonly referred to as rough carpenters. Other carpenters erect shoring and scaffolding for buildings.

Carpenters use many different hand and power tools to cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall. They commonly use hand tools, including squares, levels, and chisels, as well as many power tools, such as sanders, circular saws, nail guns, and welding machines. Carpenters fasten materials together with nails, screws, staples, and adhesives, and do a final check of their work to ensure that it is completed according to specifications. They use a tape measure on nearly every project to make sure that the pieces being cut are the proper size, which reduces waste and saves time. Many employers require applicants to supply their own tools.

The following are examples of types of carpenters:

Residential carpenters typically specialize in single-family, townhome, and condominium building and remodeling. As part of a single job, they might build and set forms for footings, walls, and slabs, and frame and finish exterior walls, roofs, and decks. They also frame interior walls, build stairs, and install drywall, crown molding, doors, and cabinets. In addition, residential carpenters may tile floors and lay wood floors and carpet. Fully trained carpenters can easily switch from new homebuilding to remodeling.

Commercial carpenters typically build and remodel commercial office buildings, hospitals, hotels, schools, and shopping malls. Some specialize in working with light-gauge and load-bearing steel framing for interior partitions, exterior framing, and curtain wall construction. Others specialize in working with concrete forming systems and finishing interior and exterior walls, partitions, and ceilings. Most commercial carpenters perform many of the same tasks as residential carpenters.

Industrial carpenters typically work on civil engineering projects and in industrial settings, where they build scaffolding and create and set forms for pouring concrete. Some industrial carpenters build tunnel bracing or partitions in underground passageways and mines to control the circulation of air to worksites. Others build concrete forms for tunnels, bridges, dams, power plants, or sewers.

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How To Become A Builder

Although most carpenters learn their trade through an apprenticeship, some learn on the job, starting as a helper.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is required. High school courses in mathematics, mechanical drawing, and general vocational technical training are considered useful.

Training

Most carpenters learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship program. For each year of a typical program, apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. In the technical training, apprentices learn carpentry basics, blueprint reading, mathematics, building code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices. They also may receive specialized training in creating and setting concrete forms, rigging, welding, scaffold building, working within confined workspaces, and fall protection. All carpenters must pass the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10- and 30-hour safety courses.

After finishing an apprenticeship, carpenters are considered to be journey workers and may perform tasks on their own.

Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications for a person to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work
  • U.S. citizen or proof of legal residency
  • Pass substance abuse screening

Some contractors have their own carpenter training program, which may be an accredited apprenticeship program.

Although many workers enter apprenticeships directly, some carpenters start out as helpers.

Some workers can earn certificates before entering an apprenticeship. The National Association of Home Builders offers Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) through the Home Builders Institute. PACT is available for several different groups, from youths to veterans, and covers information for eight construction trades, including painting.

Workers typically learn the proper use of hand and power tools on the job. They often start by working with more experienced carpenters and are given more complex tasks as they prove that they can handle simpler tasks, such as measuring and cutting wooden and metal studs.

A number of 2-year technical schools offer carpentry degrees that are affiliated with unions or contractor organizations. Credits earned as part of an apprenticeship program usually count toward an associate’s degree.

Advancement

Because they are involved in all phases of construction, carpenters usually have more opportunities than other construction workers to become first-line supervisors, independent contractors, or general construction supervisors.

Carpenters seeking advancement often take additional training provided by associations, unions, or employers. Communication in both English and Spanish also is helpful for relaying instructions to workers.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Self-employed carpenters must be able to bid on new jobs, track inventory, and plan work assignments. 

Detail oriented. Carpenters perform many tasks that are important in the overall building process. Making precise measurements, for example, may reduce gaps between windows and frames, limiting any leaks around the window.

Dexterity. Carpenters use many tools and need hand-eye coordination to avoid injury or damaging materials. Striking the head of a nail, for example, is crucial to not damaging wood or injuring oneself.

Math skills. Carpenters use basic math skills every day to calculate volume and measure materials to be cut.

Physical stamina. Carpenters need physical endurance. They frequently stand, climb, or bend for long periods.

Physical strength. Carpenters use tools and materials that are heavy. For example, plywood sheets can weigh 50 to 100 pounds.

Problem-solving skills. Because construction jobs vary, carpenters must adjust project plans accordingly. For example, if a prefabricated window arrives at the worksite slightly oversized, carpenters must shave framework to make the window fit.

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Builder jobs

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Builder Career Paths

Builder
Driver Delivery Driver Account Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Welder Technician Operations Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Driver Instructor Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Operator Foreman
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Maintenance Technician Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Operations Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Plant Operations
14 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Specialist Assistant Director
Environmental Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Foreman Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Installer Forklift Operator Carpenter
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Installer Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Foreman Lead Carpenter
Job Superintendent
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Field Service Technician Service Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Operator General Foreman Project Superintendent
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Maintenance Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Specialist Account Manager
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Operator Foreman
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Service Manager General Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Welder Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Fixture Builder 5.1 years
Tire Builder 4.6 years
Die Builder 4.4 years
Machine Builder 4.0 years
Derrick Builder 3.9 years
Band Builder 3.7 years
Building Carpenter 3.6 years
Bridge Builder 3.5 years
Car Builder 3.4 years
Tool Builder 3.4 years
Scenery Builder 3.3 years
Battery Builder 3.3 years
Arm Rest Builder 3.2 years
Wood Model Builder 3.1 years
Seat Builder 3.1 years
House Builder 3.0 years
Boat Builder 3.0 years
Form Builder 3.0 years
Deck Builder 2.9 years
Stair Builder 2.9 years
Rig Builder 2.8 years
Framer/Carpenter 2.8 years
Furniture Builder 2.8 years
Cabinet Builder 2.8 years
Exhibit Builder 2.8 years
Product Builder 2.6 years
Sign Builder 2.5 years
Roof Truss Builder 2.4 years
Manhole Builder 2.4 years
Frame Builder 2.4 years
Model Builder 2.4 years
Door Builder 2.3 years
Hose Builder 2.3 years
Load Builder 2.3 years
Casing Builder 2.3 years
Computer Builder 2.3 years
Framer 2.2 years
Dock Builder 2.2 years
Furnace Builder 2.1 years
Door Frame Builder 2.1 years
Builder 2.0 years
Harness Builder 2.0 years
Barrel Builder 2.0 years
Sample Builder 1.9 years
Stage Builder 1.9 years
Coil Builder 1.8 years
Rig Builder Helper 1.8 years
Set Builder 1.8 years
Scaffold Builder 1.7 years
Elevator Builder 1.7 years
Fence Builder 1.7 years
Truss Builder 1.5 years
Box Builder 1.4 years
Order Builder 1.4 years
Cord Tire Builder 1.4 years
Belt Builder 1.4 years
Cell Builder 1.3 years
Crate Builder 1.3 years
Pallet Builder 1.2 years
Cushion Builder 1.0 years
Chimney Builder 0.8 years
Kiln Door Builder 0.7 years
Retread Builder 0.2 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 11.5%
Cook 5.6%
Carpenter 4.2%
Internship 4.2%
Technician 4.1%
Manager 4.0%
Supervisor 3.8%
Owner 3.7%
Assembler 3.2%
Top Employers After
Technician 6.1%
Driver 5.5%
Cashier 5.5%
Owner 4.6%
Carpenter 4.5%
Manager 4.3%
Welder 4.2%
Internship 3.8%
Cook 3.6%
Supervisor 3.4%

Builder Demographics

Gender

Male

76.1%

Female

22.3%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

80.0%

Hispanic or Latino

10.3%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.3%

French

7.0%

Mandarin

3.9%

Russian

3.1%

Chinese

2.6%

Vietnamese

2.2%

Carrier

2.2%

Italian

2.2%

German

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Portuguese

1.7%

Japanese

1.7%

Polish

1.7%

Hindi

1.3%

Dakota

1.3%

Swahili

0.9%

Somali

0.9%

Hmong

0.9%

Korean

0.9%

Bosnian

0.9%
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Builder Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.0%

Michigan State University

5.9%

Oregon State University

5.2%

University of Houston

4.8%

Eastern Michigan University

4.8%

Grand Rapids Community College

4.5%

Wayne State University

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.5%

Middle Tennessee State University

4.5%

Appalachian State University

4.1%

Universal Technical Institute

4.1%

Texas Tech University

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.1%

Ashford University

3.8%

The Academy

3.8%

University of Cincinnati

3.4%

Ball State University

3.4%

Liberty University

3.4%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.4%

College of DuPage

3.4%
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Majors

Business

22.4%

Computer Science

6.8%

General Studies

6.7%

Criminal Justice

6.5%

Electrical Engineering

5.5%

Automotive Technology

4.9%

Psychology

4.6%

Communication

4.2%

Accounting

4.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.9%

Graphic Design

3.9%

Construction Management

3.7%

Education

3.6%

Management

3.5%

Precision Metal Working

3.5%

Nursing

2.8%

Fine Arts

2.5%

Information Technology

2.4%

Marketing

2.3%

Mechanical Engineering

2.3%
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Degrees

Other

38.4%

Bachelors

30.2%

Associate

14.1%

Masters

7.5%

Certificate

6.5%

Diploma

2.3%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Builder Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Planning System Builder Corning Incorporated Corning, NY Oct 01, 2010 $70,000
Senior Database Builder Premier Research International LLC Quincy, MA Oct 01, 2010 $67,275
Community Builder Camperoo, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 01, 2015 $56,000
Community Builder Camperoo, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 17, 2015 $56,000
Community Builder Camperoo, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 24, 2015 $56,000
Landscape Builder Premier Lawn & Landscape Services, Inc. New York, NY Mar 29, 2011 $51,674
Freestyle Terrain Builder Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership Flagstaff, AZ Dec 01, 2014 $42,784
Brand Builder Glima, Inc. CA Dec 17, 2009 $38,000
Ultra-Clima Greenhouse Builder Wholesum Farms Arizona LLC Amado, AZ Apr 19, 2015 $32,682
Portable Building Builders Klauspenner Inc. Seminole, TX Jan 29, 2016 $29,765 -
$30,000
Portable Building Builders Klauspenner Inc. Seminole, TX Jan 02, 2016 $29,765 -
$30,000
Portable Building Builders Klauspenner Inc. Seminole, TX Aug 12, 2015 $29,765 -
$30,000
Portable Building Builders Klauspenner Inc. Seminole, TX Aug 10, 2015 $29,765 -
$30,000
Trailer Builder Arizona Trailer Manufacturing, Inc. Buckeye, AZ Jun 15, 2011 $24,522
Trailer Builder Arizona Trailer Manufacturing, Inc. Buckeye, AZ Dec 30, 2010 $24,522

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Top Skills for A Builder

SafetyRulesCustomerServiceWindowFramesProceduresHandToolsDeliveryProjectLayoutHardwareDrywallNailGunWebAssemblyLineBuildingPlansPalletJackJobSiteSQLServerResponsibilitiesiConstructionProjectsNewConstructionHeavyEquipment

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Top Builder Skills

  1. Safety Rules
  2. Customer Service
  3. Window Frames
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Tested and troubleshooted power panels as specified in industrial control equipment safety rules.
  • Job included stuffing toys, register work, handling money, customer service, and cleaning.
  • Construct doors and window frames.
  • Recommend changes to and participate in the review of manufacturing procedures.
  • Lay out and connect electrical wiring between controls and equipment, according to wiring diagrams, using electrician's hand tools.

Top Builder Employers

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