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What does it take to become a carpenter?

How do I get started doing carpentry? Is carpentry a hard job for first-timers? What type of degree I will need to become an carpenter?

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Robert’s Answer

Dan's answer is on the money.
There are many types of carpentry and some require more accuracy, some more patience.
Here is how I see it.
1. Personality / Effort - do you like talking to customers and being sincere. If your doing commercial work it matters less then doing residential. Commercial I have found to be less personal. (I specialize in residential but I'm more picky) I have seen most jobs be in the quick get it done type. I say the 80-20 rule. Do 80% accurately and the other 20% just get it done so we can meet a deadline. (Not always the case I'm sure but from what I have been associated with it's true). Residential is more of the 100% rule.DO IT RIGHT THE 1ST TIME! Some customers might not have your degree of pickiness that you do but it is their home and they want it right. I have the saying in my quotes that there will be a ZERO punch list (little things that need addressing to complete) when I'm done. So if you are picky in anything you do, do residential if not as overly picky like me stick with commercial. Although I have seen residential jobs where I say what were they thinking.
2. Listen - Do you like to learn? In any job you will have a boss that talks, teaches or even reprimands you. I always try to find the best thing that is wrong with a mistake made instead of calling you stupid or just just yelled at for doing it wrong. We as humans make mistakes, that's how you learn. Try it, don't be afraid, ask questions and LISTEN to the response and learn from it. The old saying, cut once measure twice applies here and in most mistakes made with anything. What you don't want to do is make the same mistake twice. I am self taught. I wish I went to a trade school or taught be a professional. My dad taught me a lot but I also ask questions. I've stopped at construction sites and watched, asked questions or now (social media) watch You Tube videos to learn (But watch videos from professionals nor DIY'ers as most of the time the pros are correct. I usually watch a couple that come up listed so I can compare or even take the best practices of both. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK A QUESTION. My dad said the only stupid question is the one NOT asked.
3. Any trade requires you to be a visual learner as well as from a book. If you can see something in your head before it's done then you are ahead of most customers which is why they contacted you in the 1st place.
4. REMENBER YOU ARE NEVER DONE LEARNING in any job or endeavor. A good friend of mine always says, "You have to be smarter at the end of the day then you were at the beginning." Then it is a great day!
I hope this helps!

Robert recommends the following next steps:

If you like the outdoors and weather doesn't bother you, framing, windows, doors, decks etc. will work for you. If not maybe cabinet making or remodeling like kitchens, baths, basement finishing etc. is more for you. It also depends on where you live or want to work.
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Dan’s Answer

Hello Kyree,

I began my journey in carpentry because I have always had a passion for building things and seeing my creations come to life. To get started in this field, I found it helpful to search for someone local who was hiring an entry-level student that they could mentor and help develop their skills.

I was fortunate enough to find a small company that specialized in framing houses. This turned out to be the most enjoyable summer job I've ever had! Working outdoors, I was able to gain hands-on experience and learn the intricacies of framing a house where a family would eventually call home. I find it to be an incredibly rewarding endeavor, and that's something I truly cherish about this line of work.

I recommend seeking out a skilled carpenter who would be willing to hire and train you simultaneously. This approach will give you a better understanding of whether you genuinely enjoy the field of carpentry. The good news is that there are multiple options within the trade, ranging from rough framing (like I started with) to finish carpentry, or even building cabinets and furniture. Each type of carpentry work demands slightly different skills and effort levels.

For instance, rough framing usually involves outdoor work, heavy lifting, and considerable strength. Finish carpentry, on the other hand, might still require some lifting and physical effort, but it depends on the specific job and work environment. Overall, carpentry is a fantastic field to enter, in my opinion.

At the end of each day, it's truly gratifying to look back at what you have built and feel a sense of accomplishment. I hope this comprehensive insight into my personal experience with carpentry helps guide you in your decision-making process.

Best regards,
Thank you comment icon I appreciate your support, Dan kyree
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hey there, Kyree!

If you're interested in becoming a carpenter, there are a few steps and points to consider. The good news is, you don't necessarily need a degree! It's more about a mix of formal education, hands-on training, and real-world experience. Here's a friendly guide to help you get started:

Education: You don't need a degree, but finishing high school with subjects like math, mechanical drawing, and general technical training can be super helpful. Plus, vocational schools and community colleges have carpentry programs that can give you a solid foundation.

Apprenticeship: A lot of future carpenters kick off their careers with apprenticeship programs. These usually last about 3-4 years and blend on-the-job training with classroom learning. You'll get to learn all sorts of carpentry stuff, like how to read blueprints, build layouts, frame techniques, and safety practices.

Skills and Qualities: Being a carpenter means you need to be physically strong, have good stamina, and be handy. It's also important to have good coordination, be a problem solver, and be precise with measurements and calculations.

Licensing and Certification: It's not always necessary, but getting a license or certification can really boost your job opportunities. Some places or employers might even ask you to pass an exam to show off your skills and knowledge.

Continuing Education: The world of construction is always changing, so it's key for carpenters to keep up with the latest trends and techniques. You can do this through continuing education courses or workshops, which can help you grow your skills.

Is carpentry tough for beginners? Well, it can be physically demanding and needs a keen eye for detail, so it might be a bit challenging at first. But don't worry, with some dedication, practice, and the right training, you can develop the skills you need to be successful in this field.

Here are the top 3 authoritative reference publications to check out:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -
National Association of Home Builders -
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) -

Remember, success is within your reach, and your efforts can help people in many ways!

Best of luck,