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Become A Framer/Carpenter

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Working As A Framer/Carpenter

  • 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

  • $40,101

    Average Salary

What Does A Framer/Carpenter 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 Framer/Carpenter

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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Framer/Carpenter Videos

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What's great about becoming a carpenter

Training for a Career as a Union Carpenter

Framer/Carpenter Jobs

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Framer/Carpenter Career Paths

Framer/Carpenter
Lead Carpenter General Contractor
Building Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Maintenance Supervisor Handyman
Building Superintendent
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Operator Foreman
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Operator Foreman Construction Superintendent
Construction Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineering Technician Project Engineer
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Foreman Maintenance Technician Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Service Technician Field Technician
Field Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Technician Foreman
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Foreman General Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Carpenter Assistant Superintendent Construction Superintendent
Home Builder
5 Yearsyrs
Operator Delivery Driver Installation Technician
Installation Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Installer Forklift Operator Carpenter
Lead Carpenter
5 Yearsyrs
Installer Mechanic Painter
Lead Painter
5 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Electrician Estimator Project Manager
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Foreman Foreman
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Field Engineer Project Superintendent
Project Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Foreman General Manager Security Officer
Site Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Union Carpenter 4.8 years
Lead Carpenter 4.5 years
Building Carpenter 4.2 years
Carpenter 3.6 years
Carpenter/Painter 3.5 years
Finish Carpenter 3.4 years
Trim Carpenter 3.4 years
Form Carpenter 3.0 years
Framer/Carpenter 3.0 years
Rough Carpenter 3.0 years
Framing Carpenter 2.9 years
Concrete Carpenter 2.8 years
Carpenter/Labour 2.6 years
Framer 2.2 years
Top Careers Before Framer/Carpenter
Carpenter 15.5%
Framer 10.0%
Welder 7.2%
Cook 4.8%
Roofer 4.3%
Installer 4.0%
Foreman 3.8%
Cashier 3.8%
Technician 3.2%
Server 3.2%
Top Careers After Framer/Carpenter
Carpenter 19.9%
Welder 5.9%
Owner 5.5%
Foreman 5.2%
Framer 4.7%
Installer 4.6%
Technician 3.8%
Operator 3.7%
Roofer 3.4%
Supervisor 3.1%
Mechanic 3.1%

Do you work as a Framer/Carpenter?

Framer/Carpenter Demographics

Gender

Male

96.8%

Female

2.6%

Unknown

0.6%
Ethnicity

White

64.0%

Hispanic or Latino

17.3%

Black or African American

9.2%

Asian

5.9%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.0%

Japanese

5.6%

Dakota

5.6%

Portuguese

2.8%

Finnish

2.8%

German

2.8%

French

2.8%

Cherokee

2.8%
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Framer/Carpenter Education

Schools

Northwest Lineman College

9.5%

University of Phoenix

9.5%

Fox Valley Technical College

6.8%

Des Moines Area Community College

6.8%

University of Northern Iowa

5.4%

Wallace State Community College - Hanceville

5.4%

College of the Albemarle

4.1%

Ferris State University

4.1%

Pellissippi State Community College

4.1%

Mid-State Technical College

4.1%

The Academy

4.1%

Southeastern Louisiana University

4.1%

Pima Community College

4.1%

Ozarks Technical Community College

4.1%

Everett Community College

4.1%

Monroe Community College

4.1%

San Juan College

4.1%

Iowa Central Community College

4.1%

Davidson County Community College

4.1%

Utah Valley University

4.1%
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Majors

Business

16.8%

General Studies

9.3%

Construction Management

8.4%

Drafting And Design

7.8%

Precision Metal Working

7.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.9%

Automotive Technology

5.4%

Criminal Justice

5.1%

Computer Science

3.9%

Electrical Engineering

3.3%

Psychology

3.0%

Graphic Design

3.0%

Medical Technician

3.0%

International Business

2.7%

Management

2.7%

Mechanical Engineering

2.4%

Construction Engineering Technologies

2.4%

Industrial Technology

2.1%

Political Science

2.1%

Property Management

2.1%
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Degrees

Other

52.7%

Associate

16.7%

Bachelors

15.3%

Certificate

9.7%

Diploma

2.8%

Masters

1.9%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.3%
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Framer/Carpenter Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Rope Access Supervisor by Paul T (Full Version)

What's great about becoming a carpenter

Training for a Career as a Union Carpenter

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Top Skills for A Framer/Carpenter

  1. Window Installation
  2. Project Layout
  3. Building Custom Homes
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • set grade, roofing, siding, window installation, finish work
  • Prepared project layout and determined dimensions and materials required.
  • Assisted in design development and build drawings for custom decks made of redwood, composite and pressure-treated woods.
  • Frame new construction and remodeling projects
  • Maintained high standards in sanitation and safety and complied with regulatory guidelines.

How Would You Rate Working As a Framer/Carpenter?

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Top Framer/Carpenter Employers

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Jobs From Top Framer/Carpenter Employers

Framer/Carpenter Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Rope Access Supervisor by Paul T (Full Version)

What's great about becoming a carpenter

Training for a Career as a Union Carpenter

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