A carpenter is a skilled worker responsible for different areas of construction. Carpenters perform fabrication from raw materials. They use tools to create a successful finished product on their client's request. Carpenters must be able to multi-task, resolve any possible complications, strictly follow safety standards, and ensure that the project adheres to protocols without compromising quality and accuracy of work. Since carpentry is physical labor, carpenters are expected to be physically fit to accomplish various maintenance and production tasks.

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Carpenter Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real carpenter resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Remodel homes, roofing, electric, plumbing, framework, Sheetrock, finishing work.
  • Hoist tar and roofing materials to roofs, using ropes and pulleys, or carry materials up ladders.
  • Follow establish safety rules and regulations as specified by OSHA and maintain a safe and clean work environment.
  • Perform new construction, concrete foundations, layout framing, formwork, roofing, site preparation through fine finish.
  • Perform work including, fiberglass framing, concrete form, scaffolding, erecting metal stud walls, drywall and general carpentry
  • General labor practices, carpentry, masonry, cement pouring, hardwood floors, cleanup, and other duties as assigned.
  • Perform general carpentry duties in construction and remodeling of private residential dwellings, including roofing and painting.
  • Complete residential construction projects using carpentry skills including framing, interior/exterior trim, roofing, and flooring installation and repair.
  • Remodel apartments from frame to finish.
  • Carpenter, Sheetrock finisher and plaster repair.
  • Train to administer first aid and CPR.
  • Program CNC machines, lead development runs through factory.
  • Install steel strand barrier cable around the perimeter structure, guard rails, barricades, wood framing and build safety ladders.
  • Ensure compliance with all local building codes and OSHA requirements.
  • Concrete, brick, wood, and metal framing demolition.

Carpenter Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a carpenter does, you may be wondering, "should I become a carpenter?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, carpenters have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 8% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of carpenter opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 80,100.

Carpenters average about $20.07 an hour, which makes the carpenter annual salary $41,748. Additionally, carpenters are known to earn anywhere from $31,000 to $54,000 a year. This means that the top-earning carpenters make $24,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

Once you've become a carpenter, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a construction foreman, journeyman, construction assistant, and mason.

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Carpenter Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 17% of Carpenters are proficient in Hand Tools, Ladders, and Install Windows. They’re also known for soft skills such as Business skills, Detail oriented, and Dexterity.

We break down the percentage of Carpenters that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Hand Tools, 17%

    Worked with hand tools/ machinery to assist with different projects including bridges/drywall/painting etc.

  • Ladders, 8%

    Followed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guides for scaffolding, fall protection, ladders, stairways, etc.

  • Install Windows, 7%

    Read blue prints, frame houses, cut wood to specific measurements, deck roofing, and install windows and doors.

  • Roofing, 7%

    Completed residential construction projects using carpentry skills including framing, interior/exterior trim, roofing, and flooring installation and repair.

  • Safety Rules, 6%

    Organized safety rules and regulations for all machinery.

  • Scaffolding, 6%

    Coordinated with crane operators and heavy equipment operators for structural assembly/ material / scaffolding location.

Some of the skills we found on carpenter resumes included "hand tools," "ladders," and "install windows." We have detailed the most important carpenter responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a carpenter to have in this position are business skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a carpenter resume, you'll understand why: "self-employed carpenters must bid on new jobs, track inventory, and plan work assignments." According to resumes we found, business skills can be used by a carpenter in order to "provided general construction services for private business, while focusing primarily on carpentry. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling carpenter duties is detail oriented. According to a carpenter resume, "carpenters make precise cuts, measurements, and modifications." Here's an example of how carpenters are able to utilize detail oriented: "participated in the construction of large, uniquely designed houses from rough carpentry to finish details. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among carpenters is dexterity. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a carpenter resume: "carpenters use many tools and need hand-eye coordination to avoid injury or damaging materials" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "aided in lifting, arrangement, and fastening of roofing panels. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "math skills" is important to completing carpenter responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way carpenters use this skill: "carpenters frequently use basic math skills to calculate area, precisely cut material, and determine the amount of material needed to complete the job." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical carpenter tasks: "shop safety rough framing finished carpentry roofing drywalling crane/hoist operation hand/power tools/table saw operation measuring/constrution math"
  • Another common skill for a carpenter to be able to utilize is "physical strength." Carpenters use heavy tools and materials that can weigh up to 100 pounds a carpenter demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "evaluated strength of structure with help of level tools and plumb bob. "
  • Another skill commonly found on carpenter resumes is "problem-solving skills." This description of the skill was found on several carpenter resumes: "carpenters may need to modify building material and make adjustments onsite to complete projects" Here's an example from a resume of how this skill could fit into the day-to-day carpenter responsibilities: "gained knowledge in general construction work as well as solution resolution. "
  • See the full list of carpenter skills.

    Before becoming a carpenter, 22.7% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 1.7% carpenters went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, some carpenters have a college degree. But about one out of every two carpenters didn't attend college at all.

    Those carpenters who do attend college, typically earn either a business degree or a general studies degree. Less commonly earned degrees for carpenters include a construction management degree or a criminal justice degree.

    Once you're ready to become a carpenter, you should explore the companies that typically hire carpenters. According to carpenter resumes that we searched through, carpenters are hired the most by Tradesmen International, Aerotek, and PeopleReady. Currently, Tradesmen International has 281 carpenter job openings, while there are 81 at Aerotek and 80 at PeopleReady.

    Since salary is important to some carpenters, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Argonne National Laboratory, AbbVie, and Sandia National Labs. If you were to take a closer look at Argonne National Laboratory, you'd find that the average carpenter salary is $62,490. Then at AbbVie, carpenters receive an average salary of $61,029, while the salary at Sandia National Labs is $58,694.

    View more details on carpenter salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Tradesmen International, Carpenters Union, and Solid Platforms. These three companies have hired a significant number of carpenters from these institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious carpenters are:

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    What Construction Foremans Do

    A construction foreman is responsible for overseeing construction operations and determining the construction progress by monitoring plans and schedules. A construction foreman allocates tasks to the workers and ensures that everyone adheres to the safety guidelines and regulations, preventing potential hazards in the work area and avoiding construction delays. They also identify cost-reduction opportunities by handling negotiation with trusted suppliers and third-party vendors. A construction foreman inspects the quality of materials, including the equipment and machinery, allocates adequate resources for production, and resolves issues immediately.

    We looked at the average carpenter annual salary and compared it with the average of a construction foreman. Generally speaking, construction foremen receive $15,373 higher pay than carpenters per year.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both carpenters and construction foremen positions are skilled in hand tools, ladders, and roofing.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a carpenter responsibilities require skills like "install windows," "scaffolding," "drywall installation," and "door installation." Meanwhile a typical construction foreman has skills in areas such as "work ethic," "cdl," "osha," and "strong work ethic." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Construction foremen really shine in the professional industry with an average salary of $62,811. Whereas carpenters tend to make the most money in the construction industry with an average salary of $47,370.

    The education levels that construction foremen earn is a bit different than that of carpenters. In particular, construction foremen are 0.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a carpenter. Additionally, they're 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Journeyman?

    A journeyman is an experienced worker whose role will vary on the line of industry where one is involved. They work without supervision from a master craftsman. Most of the responsibilities will revolve around performing manual work such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical and mechanical tasks, and other forms of trade. Furthermore, a journeyman can choose whether to work independently or to be part of a business entity. They can also recruit and train an apprentice, or even pursue to become a master in their preferred field.

    The next role we're going to look at is the journeyman profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $15,934 higher salary than carpenters per year.

    While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both carpenters and journeymen are known to have skills such as "hand tools," "plumbing," and "power saws. "

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real carpenter resumes. While carpenter responsibilities can utilize skills like "ladders," "install windows," "roofing," and "safety rules," some journeymen use skills like "work ethic," "strong work ethic," "osha," and "pvc."

    It's been discovered that journeymen earn higher salaries compared to carpenters, but we wanted to find out where journeymen earned the most pay. The answer? The construction industry. The average salary in the industry is $62,379. Additionally, carpenters earn the highest paychecks in the construction with an average salary of $47,370.

    In general, journeymen study at similar levels of education than carpenters. They're 0.9% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Construction Assistant Compares

    A construction assistant performs various clerical and operational support tasks to assist construction managers and maintain smooth workflow operations. Their responsibilities usually include monitoring budgets and costs, handling calls and correspondence, purchasing construction materials according to project requirements, liaising with suppliers and construction contractors, and participating in managing the schedules and activities of the workers. A construction assistant may also perform inspections to identify problem areas and ensure that all procedures adhere to the safety codes and standards.

    The construction assistant profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of carpenters. The difference in salaries is construction assistants making $2,676 lower than carpenters.

    By looking over several carpenters and construction assistants resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "drywall installation," "construction projects," and "power saws." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from carpenters resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "hand tools," "ladders," "install windows," and "roofing." But a construction assistant might have skills like "general contractors," "equipment operators," "manual labor," and "construction management."

    Interestingly enough, construction assistants earn the most pay in the construction industry, where they command an average salary of $59,937. As mentioned previously, carpenters highest annual salary comes from the construction industry with an average salary of $47,370.

    When it comes to education, construction assistants tend to earn similar education levels than carpenters. In fact, they're 0.8% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Mason

    A mason is responsible for shaping artificial mineral products, concrete blocks, stone pieces, and bricks to create structures essential for construction or other building purposes using various machinery and equipment, following the highest safety standards and production procedures. Masons analyze schematics and blueprints, applying the clients' specifications and customization to their product expertise. They also inspect tools and equipment, ensuring that the materials are free from any defects to avoid hazards and construction delays.

    Now, we'll look at masons, who generally average a higher pay when compared to carpenters annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $2,226 per year.

    While both carpenters and masons complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like scaffolding, construction projects, and power saws, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a carpenter might have more use for skills like "hand tools," "ladders," "install windows," and "roofing." Meanwhile, some masons might include skills like "masonry," "safety regulations," "dump truck," and "retaining walls" on their resume.

    The average resume of masons showed that they earn similar levels of education to carpenters. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 3.8% more. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 1.1%.

    What a Carpenter Does FAQs

    Is Carpentry A Good Career?

    Yes, carpentry is a good career. Carpenters seem to think so, anyway. They reported to US News average to above-average job satisfaction rates, citing work environment, flexibility, and career progression.

    What Are The Best Gifts For A Carpenter?

    The best gifts for a carpenter are a thermotherapy paraffin bath, an insulated water bottle, and a magnetic wristband. Carpenters are often working with their hands throughout the day, and they are on their feet, so anything to help them relax and unwind can be great.

    Thermotherapy paraffin baths are wonderful gifts for carpenters. They are used to help with medical issues such as arthritis pain and sore joints. They can also be especially beneficial for treating sore hand muscles. Strong, working hands are essential for carpenters to be able to successfully work, so this can be an extremely beneficial and appreciated gift for them.

    Buying tools for a carpenter can be extremely helpful, as there are so many helpful, but expensive tools to make some aspects of carpentry easier. A magnetic wristband is a great gadget for a carpenter. It fastens around the wrist and secures screws, nails, and other small tools. This helps for quick access to things carpenters will use often while working.

    If you do not know the exact items a carpenter already owns, or if they are very specific about their toolset, buying them tools may not work. Another option would be a water bottle. Purchasing a large, insulated water bottle that will keep their water cold throughout the day is a great idea. Try to buy one that is at least 40 oz, so they will not need to refill it as often.

    Where Do Carpenters Work?

    Carpenters work on buildings and homes, as well as on large city structures. These jobs can be indoors and outdoors, depending on what they are working on. Carpenters can be found building or reading and following blueprints at any job site. They are typically well-versed in the use of large machinery and hand tools.

    Working in homes and buildings can typically be both an indoor and outdoor job depending on if they see a project from beginning to end or just doing some renovation. They are often working on foundations, walls, roofs, and windows. They can also be the person who installs cabinetry or special pieces within the house. They often oversee the implementation of electricity and plumbing.

    A carpenter who is working on larger city structures is not always, but often outside. These are things like bridges and highways. This type of construction involves the use of big machinery. These jobs also typically require regulations to be met, and certifications to be kept up with. These carpenters are often working with the county throughout the process.

    Where you are working can depend on who you are working for. If you are self-employed you can choose your clients, set your schedule, and set your price. Being self-employed you also get to choose your co-workers, as opposed to a company where you are assigned your team. If you are working for a company you are working on their projects, on their schedule, and you are working at their pay rate.

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