Carpenter School and College Program Information
Individuals interested in becoming carpenters may choose to enter certificate or associate degree programs. Both programs teach students the technical skills required for entry-level careers in construction. Certificate programs usually take a year or less to complete, while associate degree programs usually take about two years.
Students in carpentry certificate programs can learn how to work safely and efficiently on a construction site. They can also practice framing windows and doors, laying out walls and rafters, or estimating materials. Some programs even offer specialized certificates in areas such as interior or exterior finishing, framing and concrete foundations.
Graduates are prepared to work on commercial and residential construction projects. Usually, the only entrance requirement for a these 1-2-semester programs is a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Carpentry programs usually involve some classroom work, but much of the training is hands-on and takes place in a lab or carpentry shop. Students may study carpentry tools, carpentry techniques, construction materials and construction methods. Other topics may include:
- Woodworking calculations
- Blueprint reading
- Concrete construction
- Finishing techniques
- Stair construction
- Construction computer programs
- Building codes and laws
- Wall construction
Popular Career Options
Graduates of certificate programs in carpentry may find work with construction firms, contractors or lumber supply companies. They may also enter apprenticeship programs. Sample job titles can include the following:
- Weatherization specialist
- Carpentry assistant
- Drywall applicator
- Finishing carpenter
Associate Degree in Carpentry
Students in carpentry associate degree programs learn about every phase of a construction project. These programs often combine course topics found in both general and specialized certificate programs. Additionally, students may learn managerial responsibilities, such as project scheduling, billing calculation and cost estimating. Graduates can enter the job field or apply for apprenticeships. Most programs only require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission.
Course topics for an associate degree program are similar to those found in a certificate program. However, these 2-year degree programs also include general education courses in composition, computers and mathematics. Other topics of study may include:
- First aid
- Rafter assembly
- Cabinet building
- Construction management
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 1.3 billion carpenters were employed in 2008 (www.bls.gov). Job opportunities for these construction professionals were projected to grow 13% from 2008-2018. This growth was attributed to an increasing demand for remodeling services. The need for new or more environmentally friendly structures was also expected to drive demand. The mean annual salary for carpenters was $43,890 as of May 2010.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals interested in continuing their education can enter apprenticeship programs offered through local unions or employers, according to the BLS. Graduates of these on-the-job training programs may earn certification as journeypersons. However, this credential is not required for employment.
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