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Carpenter: Occupational Outlook and Training Requirements for Carpenters

Carpenters work with different types of wood, tools and hardware to build and repair furniture and other types of structures. Individuals who enjoy working with their hands may want to consider learning more about this career.

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Occupational Outlook for Carpenters

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth is expected to be 20% for carpenters during the 2010-2020 decade (www.bls.gov). This growth is due to population increases and demand for home remodeling. Although there will always be a need for carpenters, job prospects are expected to be best for those who are located in areas with large population increases.

Training Requirements for Carpenters

Carpenters can receive both formal and informal training in preparation for a career in this field. Formal training can start as early as high school in the form of drafting and shop classes. After high school, prospective carpenters may continue their formal training in trade schools, vocational schools and community colleges, where they can pursue a technical diploma, certificate or an associate's degree in carpentry. Courses offered may include foundations and forms, framing, cabinetmaking and construction remodeling.

In terms of informal training, prospective carpenters often gain the skills they need by assisting experienced professionals in the field. This on-the-job training may also be paired with formal training to give aspiring carpenters a more well-rounded education.

Apprenticeships

Classroom training and on-the-job training can also be combined through formal apprenticeship programs in commercial carpentry, residential carpentry, interior work, cabinetry millwork or floor covering offered by unions or commercial contractors, though availability of apprenticeships is limited. Applicants to most apprenticeship programs need to be at least 17-18 years old and may need to take a pre-apprenticeship course. Apprentices are paid and split their time between the classroom and the job site, with about 6,000 hours of practical training over four years, and coursework in basic mathematics, job site safety and blueprint reading. Upon completing an apprenticeship, carpenters earn journey worker status, and some program may confer an associate's degree.

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