Strength, dexterity, and stamina are those basic skills that carpenters must have. The profession requires heavy lifting, physical labor, good eye-hand coordination and a natural sense of balance. When not performing physical labor, carpenters must be able to quickly solve mathematical problems. Carpentry classes online teach aspiring carpenters all the skills needed for a successful career, such as framing, scaffolding, roofing, cornice work, doors installation, trimwork, stairway construction, proper use of power tools, reading blueprints, and understanding building codes.
Aspiring carpenters often take shop and carpentry classes in high school before pursuing additional education. Guidance counselors can help students find opportunities to learn essential carpentry skills — not only science and math proficiencies, but also skills related to communication, teamwork, and reading comprehension that enable workers to see the big picture as they focus on smaller tasks at hand.
Most carpenters begin their career as apprentices that study fundamentals of the trade and take part in extensive hands-on training in order to earn a journeyman certificate. Many choose to enroll in online courses during their apprenticeship. These carpentry certificate programs online include instruction in power tool safety; different types of wood and their specific qualities; properties of panel and plywood; building processes for cabinets, drawers, and other structures, as well as doors, windows, floors, and ceilings; and various construction codes. Carpentry apprenticeship programs are offered by chapters of the Associate Builders and Contractors (ABC), Associated General Contractors (AGC), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and other professional organizations, as well as private businesses.
A vocational certificate in carpentry enables graduates to compete for positions and apprenticeships with developers, general contractor businesses, and civil construction projects. For apprentice positions, employers generally prefer applicants who are 18 years or older and have earned a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). As competition for jobs remains stiff, apprentices and newly hired workers can quickly build their knowledge of the industry by enrolling in a carpentry certificate online program. Most programs last roughly four to six months, depending on the pace of the student.
Apprentices are generally taught three types of carpentry: commercial, industrial, and residential. Commercial carpenters typically remodel property belonging to public and private sector businesses and organizations, and this work may entail light gauge and load-bearing steel framing, concrete forming systems, interior and exterior walls, and high ceilings. Industrial carpenters generally participate in civil construction projects, such as tunnels, dams, and bridges, by building scaffolding and constructing frames for pouring concrete. Residential carpenters often work single jobs specializing in new homes, apartments and condominiums, townhouses, and other dwellings. Highly skilled residential carpenters may also tile floors, lay wood flooring and/or carpet, and install certain fixtures (such as doors or fireplaces). These specializations often overlap each other, and all three may share the same job site.
What’s Next for Carpentry Certificate Holders?
Carpenters earned a median annual salary of $40,820 in May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS). Jobs are projected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024.
A carpentry apprenticeship usually takes between three and four years to complete. Every year, apprentices complete 144 hours of paid technical training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. They may also participate in specialized training from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) 10- and 30-hour safety courses; topics covered during these courses include concrete, rigging, scaffold building, confined workspaces, and fall protection.
Some carpenters pursue additional education with an associate degree. The advanced education provides coursework in management and business that helps carpenters to obtain supervisory positions and, in some cases, finance and operate their own companies.