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Become A Carpenter Foreman

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Working As A Carpenter Foreman

  • 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

  • $42,574

    Average Salary

What Does A Carpenter Foreman 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 Carpenter Foreman

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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Carpenter Foreman Jobs

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Carpenter Foreman Career Paths

Carpenter Foreman
Welder Foreman General Contractor
Building Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Welder Electrician Handyman
Building Superintendent
7 Yearsyrs
General Foreman Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Lead Carpenter General Contractor
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Superintendent Construction Superintendent
Construction Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Carpenter Maintenance Technician Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
12 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Superintendent Construction Manager Operations Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Foreman Service Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Driver Field Supervisor
Field Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Property Manager
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor General Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
General Contractor Forklift Operator Installation Technician
Installation Manager
7 Yearsyrs
General Contractor Technician Foreman
Lead Carpenter
5 Yearsyrs
Foreman Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Construction Superintendent Project Superintendent Estimator Project Manager
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
General Foreman General Superintendent
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Superintendent Project Superintendent
Project Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Project Superintendent Project Manager Construction Manager
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Carpenter Foreman Demographics

Gender

Male

96.0%

Female

2.7%

Unknown

1.3%
Ethnicity

White

65.9%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

5.9%

Unknown

3.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.8%

Carrier

8.8%

Japanese

5.9%

Venetian

2.9%

Finnish

2.9%

Turkish

2.9%

Cherokee

2.9%

French

2.9%

Occidental

2.9%

Russian

2.9%

Dakota

2.9%

Polish

2.9%
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Carpenter Foreman Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.7%

University of Central Missouri

5.4%

Sierra College

5.4%

Nassau Community College

5.4%

Orange Coast College

5.4%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

5.4%

Honolulu Community College

5.4%

More Tech Institute

5.4%

Sinclair Community College

5.4%

Ashford University

4.3%

Fresno City College

4.3%

Vincennes University

4.3%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

4.3%

Bristol Community College

4.3%

Santa Rosa Junior College

4.3%

West Virginia University

4.3%

Hennepin Technical College

4.3%

Suffolk County Community College

4.3%

College of DuPage

4.3%

Union County College

4.3%
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Majors

Construction Management

19.9%

Business

17.6%

General Studies

8.4%

Drafting And Design

6.6%

Education

4.3%

Project Management

4.0%

Civil Engineering

4.0%

Electrical Engineering

3.3%

Criminal Justice

3.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.3%

Management

3.1%

Engineering

3.1%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.6%

Precision Metal Working

2.5%

Industrial Technology

2.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.3%

Computer Science

2.3%

Automotive Technology

2.3%

Liberal Arts

2.3%

Construction Engineering Technologies

2.3%
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Degrees

Other

50.9%

Associate

17.2%

Bachelors

15.9%

Certificate

10.7%

Masters

2.7%

Diploma

1.9%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Top Skills for A Carpenter Foreman

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  1. Safety Procedures
  2. Project Layout
  3. Drywall Repair
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Train workers in construction methods, operation of equipment, safety procedures, or company policies.
  • Study specifications in blueprints, sketches or building plans to prepare project layout and determine dimensions and materials required.
  • Installed rough door and window frames, subflooring, fixtures, and temporary supports in structures undergoing construction.
  • Worked independently and with a team remodeling residential homes.
  • General carpentry and construction for new construction homes and renovation/remodeling of existing homes.

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