Carpenters are craftspeople highly skilled in woodwork. Today they must also know how to work with synthetic materials, including vinyl, different types of metals and composite building materials. There are several different types: rough carpenters, finish carpenters and cabinetmakers. Rough carpentry is work that does not require finishing, such as framing and roofing. Finish carpentry can be making fine furniture or architectural details. Cabinetmakers build cabinets that are stylish as well as functional from start to finish. All types of carpenters benefit greatly from formal training. Those with the best training will have the best job prospects.
People learn in 3 different ways; by speaking, listening and seeing. Most people are visual learners. Some vocational-technical programs have begun incorporating the tutor saliba learning method, which has lesson plans for all 3 types of learning, not just for visual learners. Those who learn carpentry skills using the tutor saliba method can use their skills to discover the carpenter’s trade and make a career of it.
In a carpentry training program, students can expect to learn the following:
• how to use the necessary tools and equipment
• which building materials and fasteners to use
• job safety
• basic structural design
• how to read blueprints
• understand and conform to building codes
• basic foundation layout and framing
• how to check the accuracy of a project and make the necessary adjustments
• finishing techniques
Carpenters must have skills in woodworking, organization and mathematics, specifically algebra and geometry. It is best to have a good foundation in algebra and geometry before beginning carpentry training. There are several other traits necessary for success that cannot be taught in the classroom, such as good eye-hand coordination, good manual dexterity, physical fitness and a good sense of balance.
A well-trained carpenter will have many employment options, and should be able to switch to different types of jobs, such as remodeling a home to commercial building, with no problem. Carpentry jobs can range from working for a large construction company with a few specified tasks, such as building cement forms or bracing for tunnels and underground mines, to building and remodeling homes with a wider range of skills required. Jobs in home building or remodeling require skills in framing, roofing, window and door installation, trim installation and finishing, as well as cabinetry installation.
Carpenters working for construction companies may also have the opportunity to become constructions supervisors due to their exposure to the entire building process. Another option many choose after working for a construction company is to work as an independent contractor and frequently move between different types of jobs based on where there is work available.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 32 percent of all carpenters are self-employed and the employment outlook is good, with 13 percent job growth through 2018.