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. Like any other trade, carpentry is learned through doing an online construction trades course or going through an apprenticeship program.
While it doesn’t require spending 3 years at a university like some other trades do, there are some important things to know before you sign up for one. In this article, we’ll look at the ins and outs of carpentry and how to become a carpenter.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is Carpentry?
Carpentry is a skilled trade that focuses on the construction, repair, and installation of wooden structures and components. 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.
Education & Training
A robust carpentry trade school program equips trainees with essential hands-on experience, enabling them to excel within this diverse industry. While attending classes in person is beneficial for networking and personal feedback, you don’t necessarily need to attend a physical school.
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. All you need to do is to have a reliable internet connection and a computer or other devices for access to course materials.
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.
National Trade Schools that offer Carpentry Courses
How Long Does it Take To Complete a Carpentry Trade School Program?
Completing a carpentry trade school program depends on the school and the pace at which you can progress through the coursework. 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.
Taking Penn Foster’s Construction Trades Career Diploma program as an example, aspiring carpenters can be job-ready in as little as 6 months if they choose to fast-track their learning experience. This accelerated approach allows you to dive into the world of carpentry sooner without compromising the quality of the education received.
Within such a course, students can expect to learn essential skills, such as:
- Design Techniques
- Tools, Foundations, and Concrete Work
- Understanding Building Codes
- Insulation and Exterior Finishes
- Construction Drawings and Building Materials
- And much more
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.
After course completion, certification in a specialized area of carpentry may be pursued. Relevant certifications can include:
- OSHA training
- NWFA Certified Installer
- National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC)
- Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) Woodworking Skill Standards
- Certified Remodeler (CR) certification
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.
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.