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Carpentry and building maintenance

l'm going to school to learn Carpentry. what should l expect in this field? #career

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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Mitchell:

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

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 and install building frameworks, including walls, floors, and door frames
• Inspect and replace damaged framework or other structures and fixtures
• Instruct and direct laborers and other construction helpers

Carpenters work indoors and outdoors on many types of construction projects, from installing kitchen cabinets to building highways and bridges. Carpenters may work in cramped spaces and frequently alternate between lifting, standing, and kneeling. Those who work outdoors are subject to variable weather, which may affect a project’s schedule.

Most carpenters work full time, which may include evenings and weekends to meet clients’ deadlines. Extreme temperatures or inclement weather may impact building construction timelines, which in turn may affect carpenters’ work hours.


A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to enter the occupation. Certain high school courses, such as mathematics and mechanical drawing, may be useful. Some vocational-technical schools offer associate’s degrees in carpentry. The programs vary in length and teach basics and specialties in carpentry.

Carpenters typically learn on the job or through apprenticeships. They often begin doing simple tasks, such as measuring and cutting wood, under the guidance of experienced carpenters or other construction workers. They then progress to more complex tasks, such as reading blueprints and building wooden structures.

Several groups, such as unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. For each year of a typical program, apprentices must complete a predetermined number of hours of technical training and paid on-the-job training. Apprenticeship program requirements differ based on the type of program and by region. 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, and working within confined work spaces.

Carpenters may need a driver’s license to travel to job sites.

Optional programs offer certification by specialty that may allow carpenters to find additional work opportunities or lead to career advancement.

I hope this was helpful. Best of luck to you!

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

How to Become a Carpenter •

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Cordelio’s Answer

Carpentry is one of those professions that never gets totally replaced by technology. Be as open minded about the field and learn as much as possible the tools of the trade. The tools will include not just the manual ones but of course, the powered ones which will definitely include safe operations and handling. Also, it is not just building the physical stuff but you will definitely learn how to read plans, designs and the like. A good understanding of mathematics will be useful to have in your arsenal. Of course, a creative mind will be helpful if you intend to have a niche product of you own.

All the best!