Carpentry Trade Schools

Carpentry is one of the most in-demand trades, ranking 6th in the best construction jobs according to U.S. News & World Report. This means it’s not only a very useful trade skill, it tends to pay well and offers a number of job opportunities. 

Education & Training

A robust carpentry trade school program equips trainees with essential hands-on experience, enabling them to excel within this diverse industry.

How Can I Learn Carpentry Online?

Many institutions, including trade schools and vocational colleges, offer comprehensive online carpentry courses, allowing aspiring carpenters to develop their skills from the comfort of their homes. 

Thanks to the use of modern technology, many online carpentry schools now offer a blend of text-based lessons, video tutorials, and interactive exercises, giving students a well-rounded understanding of the trade.

Trade Schools with Carpentry Programs

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While attending classes in person is beneficial for networking and personal feedback, you don’t necessarily need to attend a physical school.

How Long Does it Take ?

Typically, a good course should take around 6 months to complete.

However, many programs offer the option of fast-tracking, meaning students can complete the course more quickly if they have the time and dedication to do so.

For example, with the Penn Foster’s Construction Trades Career Diploma, aspiring carpenters can be job-ready in as little as 6 months if they choose to fast-track their learning experience. 

What Do You Study?

Within such a course, students can expect to learn essential skills, such as:

  • Framing
  • Design Techniques
  • Tools, Foundations, and Concrete Work
  • Understanding Building Codes
  • Insulation and Exterior Finishes
  • Construction Drawings and Building Materials
  • Construction Safety
  • Career Opportunities

By offering a comprehensive curriculum delivered online, these programs provide you with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to carve out your career within the construction industry.

How Much Does It Cost To Take a Course in Carpentry?

The cost of a carpentry course can range widely, typically varying between $750 and $6,500 depending on the institution and the depth of the program.

At the time of writing, the Penn Foster’s Construction Trades Career Diploma program is available at a discounted rate of $799, providing even more value.

For an easier payment route, most institutions offer monthly installments, breaking the cost down to manageable payments of around $59 per month.

Requirements to Take the Course

Getting started in a carpentry course typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent and an interest in the trade.

High school students can explore carpentry through shop courses offered at their schools. Post high school, an online carpentry course can further enhance your knowledge and skills in the trade. 

These online platforms offer flexibility, allowing you to balance other commitments like an apprenticeship.

Salary

Below is pay data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for each state.

StateHourlyYearly
Alabama$22.14$46,040.00
Alaska$34.72$72,220.00
Arizona$26.18$54,460.00
Arkansas$21.92$45,590.00
California$35.28$73,370.00
Colorado$27.32$56,830.00
Connecticut$31.25$65,000.00
Delaware$29.30$60,940.00
District of Columbia$31.36$65,220.00
Florida$23.35$48,570.00
Georgia$22.41$46,620.00
Guam$18.34$38,150.00
Hawaii$40.03$83,250.00
Idaho$24.10$50,120.00
Illinois$35.58$74,010.00
Indiana$27.32$56,820.00
Iowa$24.56$51,080.00
Kansas$25.21$52,430.00
Kentucky$24.84$51,660.00
Louisiana$23.21$48,280.00
Maine$26.52$55,160.00
Maryland$28.33$58,930.00
Massachusetts$36.01$74,900.00
Michigan$27.79$57,800.00
Minnesota$32.29$67,170.00
Mississippi$21.35$44,400.00
Missouri$30.20$62,810.00
Montana$24.91$51,810.00
Nebraska$23.65$49,190.00
Nevada$32.09$66,750.00
New Hampshire$29.03$60,370.00
New Jersey$38.07$79,180.00
New Mexico$23.62$49,130.00
New York$32.91$68,450.00
North Carolina$22.33$46,450.00
North Dakota$26.28$54,660.00
Ohio$26.45$55,010.00
Oklahoma$22.68$47,180.00
Oregon$32.32$67,230.00
Pennsylvania$28.78$59,860.00
Puerto Rico$13.12$27,300.00
Rhode Island$29.46$61,270.00
South Carolina$23.36$48,600.00
South Dakota$21.42$44,550.00
Tennessee$23.50$48,870.00
Texas$23.44$48,760.00
Utah$24.68$51,330.00
Vermont$27.96$58,150.00
Virgin Islands$25.58$53,210.00
Virginia$24.36$50,670.00
Washington$36.13$75,150.00
West Virginia$22.70$47,210.00
Wisconsin$29.40$61,160.00
Wyoming$26.54$55,200.00
Occupation: Carpenters (SOC Code472031)
source: data.bls.gov

Becoming a Carpenter

Educational and certification requirements for carpenters may vary depending on their employment location. After fulfilling the requirements for a high school diploma or equivalent certificate, prospective carpenters may choose to pursue either a vocational training pathway, an apprenticeship route, or both.

How Old Do You Need to Be to Become a Carpenter?

Because carpentry presents hazards from working with power tools and machinery, most employers request that candidates are at least 18 years of age.

The minimum age for prospective carpenters may vary significantly depending on their state, agency of employment, and specialization. 

Certifications

After course completion, certification in a specialized area of carpentry may be pursued.

Relevant certifications can include:

Although they are not required by law, certifications attest to your competence and can be a distinguishing factor in job applications. Also, the practical training provided by these courses allows you to explore hands-on work after completion, helping you to hone your skills further.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a valuable way for prospective carpenters to acquire the skills necessary for a career in carpentry. Underage hopefuls may pursue apprenticeships under a senior carpenter before seeking employment and may provide a well-rounded skillset that emphasizes trade skills and customer relations.

Job Description

A carpenter is a skilled tradesperson who works with wood, cutting, shaping, and installing the material to create, fix, or install structures in homes or larger construction projects.

Carpenters work in various settings, including residential, commercial, and industrial projects.

After completing a good carpentry course, your job might entail framing, roof installation, cabinetry, or furniture-making, among others.

Responsibilities of a carpenter may include:

  • Reading and interpreting construction blueprints, drawings, and plans.
  • Measuring, marking, and cutting wood, plywood, and other construction materials accurately.
  • Selecting and using various hand and power tools, such as saws, drills, chisels, and hammers.
  • Constructing, installing, and repairing structures and fixtures, such as frameworks, cabinets, doors, windows, and furniture.
  • Framing walls, floors, and roofs and ensuring they are level, plumb, and properly aligned.
  • Installing and finishing wood trim, molding, and other decorative elements.
  • Conducting on-site measurements and calculations to ensure precise fit and alignment.
  • Collaborating with other construction professionals, such as architects, contractors, and plumbers.
  • Following safety procedures and using personal protective equipment to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Maintaining and organizing tools and equipment, ensuring they are in good working condition.
  • Keeping work areas clean and free from debris.
  • Estimating materials and labor costs for carpentry projects.
  • Adhering to building codes, regulations, and quality standards.
  • Continuously improving carpentry skills and staying updated on industry trends and techniques.

Carpentry Job Outlook & Salaries

The future of carpentry is highly promising, offering both job security and competitive salaries. As of May 2022, the median annual wage for carpenters was $51,390, indicating substantial earning potential in this skilled trade.

And despite limited employment growth, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 79,500 job openings for carpenters each year over the decade.

What’s more, the unique blend of creativity and practical skills needed in carpentry makes it a future-proof career. Despite advancements in technology, no robot can currently match the artistry and craftsmanship of a skilled carpenter, especially for highly tailored woodworking projects.

Therefore, choosing to become a carpenter now not only offers a secure career trajectory but also an opportunity to engage in creative and fulfilling work.

Related Resources

How to Become a Carpenter in California