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Become A Carpenter Helper

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Working As A Carpenter Helper

  • 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

  • $18,250

    Average Salary

What Does A Carpenter Helper 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 Helper

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 Helper Demographics

Gender

Male

89.4%

Female

9.3%

Unknown

1.3%
Ethnicity

White

59.0%

Hispanic or Latino

17.0%

Black or African American

14.6%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

80.0%

French

6.7%

Polish

3.3%

Portuguese

1.7%

Occidental

1.7%

Greek

1.7%

Carrier

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Arabic

1.7%
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Carpenter Helper Education

Schools

Delgado Community College

9.3%

Baton Rouge Community College

7.9%

Southeastern Louisiana University

6.6%

South Texas College

6.6%

University of Phoenix

6.6%

Sowela Technical Community College

6.0%

Hinds Community College

4.6%

Trident Technical College

4.6%

Hudson Valley Community College

4.6%

Universal Technical Institute

4.6%

The Academy

4.6%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

4.6%

Lee College

4.6%

River Parishes Community College

4.0%

Angelina College

4.0%

East Central Community College

3.3%

Montgomery College

3.3%

Lamar Institute of Technology

3.3%

Lamar University

3.3%

University of Southern Mississippi

3.3%
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Majors

Business

16.7%

General Studies

10.7%

Precision Metal Working

8.0%

Automotive Technology

7.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.3%

Criminal Justice

5.2%

Electrical Engineering

4.3%

Construction Management

4.3%

Industrial Technology

3.8%

Graphic Design

3.8%

Education

3.6%

Liberal Arts

3.6%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.6%

Music

3.2%

Computer Science

3.1%

Biology

2.8%

Management

2.5%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.5%

Electrical And Power Transmission Installers

2.4%

Psychology

2.4%
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Degrees

Other

50.8%

Associate

15.9%

Bachelors

15.4%

Certificate

12.0%

Diploma

3.1%

Masters

2.2%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Real Carpenter Helper Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Carpenter Helper Carter Mitchell Woodworking Nantucket, MA Apr 01, 2015 $53,636
Helpers--Carpenters Falls Framing LLC Brownton, MN Nov 01, 2016 $38,964
Carpenter Helper Maxime & Co. ND Apr 02, 2015 $35,354
Carpenter Helper Maxime & Co. Fargo, ND May 03, 2016 $35,041
Carpenter Helper D and M Roofing Company Fargo, ND Apr 06, 2016 $35,041
Carpenter Helper Dropmasters Co Hamilton, NJ Aug 22, 2008 $34,602
Helper of Carpenter Focus Framing, Door and Trim LLC. Las Vegas, NV Jun 29, 2016 $33,872
Helper of Carpenter BMC West Corporation Las Vegas, NV Apr 05, 2016 $33,872
Helper of Carpenter BMC West Corporation Las Vegas, NV Feb 02, 2016 $33,872
Helpers--Carpenters Falls Framing LLC Edgeley, ND Nov 15, 2016 $33,225
Carpenter Helper Erickson Construction Roseville, CA Apr 15, 2016 $32,933
Helper of Carpenter BMC West Corporation Vacaville, CA Jul 26, 2016 $32,933
Carpenter Helper Erickson Construction Roseville, CA May 02, 2016 $32,933
Helper of Carpenter BMC West Corporation Vacaville, CA Apr 15, 2016 $32,453
Helpers--Carpenters Ottavio de Vivo D/B/A 'Ottavio's Custom Woodworking Shop' New Rochelle, NY Jan 31, 2014 $29,994
Helpers-Carpenters John Santos Construction, Inc. Fall River, MA Apr 09, 2012 $29,910
Carpenter Helper Peterson and Collins, Inc. Washington, DC Oct 25, 2011 $29,827
Carpenter Helper J.A.J. Suarez Framing, Inc. TX Feb 02, 2015 $29,552
Carpenter Helpers H2 Incorporated MN Aug 15, 2014 $29,385
Carpenter Helper Timon, LLC. MN Apr 01, 2014 $29,197
Carpenter Helper Phoenix Framing, LLC TN Mar 27, 2014 $29,155
Helpers-Carpenters Mike Ferrell Construction San Mateo, CA Nov 24, 2010 $29,016
Capenter Helper Seashore Builders, Inc. NC Oct 01, 2015 $26,171
Carpenter Helper Texas General Builders LLC TX Mar 14, 2014 $25,900
Helpers-Carpenters Everlast Construction NJ Feb 19, 2010 $25,858
Helpers-Carpenters P.M. Construction & Home Improvement Corp. NJ Jan 30, 2009 $25,691
Helpers-Carpenters K & R Farms, LLC TN Jul 05, 2014 $25,274
Carpenter Helper TC Thompson Builder, Inc. Artesia, NM Apr 23, 2008 $24,783
Helper Carpenter Jc Roadrunner, Inc. GA May 01, 2014 $24,627
Carpenter Helper Seashore Builders Inc. NC Oct 29, 2013 $24,606

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Top Skills for A Carpenter Helper

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  1. Door Hardware
  2. Drywall Repair
  3. Window Frames
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Fitted and installed windows and door frames, door hardware, interior and exterior trim using caps.
  • Build houses* Assist with electrical, plumbing, drywall repairs* Transport lumber supplies* Construction cleanup
  • Build window frames, doors, staircases and frame buildings by using raw materials.
  • Inspect ceiling or floor tile, wall coverings, siding, glass, or woodwork to detect broken or damaged structures.
  • Followed established safety rules and regulations maintaining a safe & clean environment.

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Top 10 Best States for Carpenter Helpers

  1. Alaska
  2. Nevada
  3. Washington
  4. Hawaii
  5. Wyoming
  6. Illinois
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Connecticut
  9. Arizona
  10. New Jersey
  • (18 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)
  • (100 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)
  • (62 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (45 jobs)

Top Carpenter Helper Employers

Jobs From Top Carpenter Helper Employers

Carpenter Helper Videos

Training for a Career as a Union Carpenter

Carpentry Apprentice

Career Advice on becoming a Carpenter by Jermaine S (Full Version)

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