All You Need To Know About A Carpenter Career
You think about becoming a carpenter but are not sure whether this is the right career path for you or not?
Great! This article is exactly for you since I will show you all you need to know about a carpenter career in the following chapters.
Not only will you learn what you can make as a carpenter, but we will also talk about job satisfaction, working hours, educational requirements, job prospects of carpenters and much more.
At the end of this article, I also provide you with an FAQ section where I answer more than 60 questions about being a carpenter.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what working as a carpenter really looks like and can make a more profound career choice.
What does a Carpenter do?
Carpenters produce nice furniture for clients. They also manufacture doors, windows and many other things that are needed in the construction process of buildings to make sure that the interior of the building looks as best as possible while it is still functional at the same time.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Carpenter
- Production of doors
- Production of windows
- Manufacture of furniture
- Production of custom-made things out of wood
- Installation of building materials
- Installation of roof framing
- Repair work on all sorts of objects made out of wood
- Renovation of wood structures
- Installation of doors, windows and other interior design elements
- Installation of flooring
- Building foundations
- Planning big projects for clients
- Preparation of blueprints and sketches
- Price estimation
- Making sure that everything is safe
What a Typical Day of a Carpenter looks like?
Carpenters work in a classical 9 to 5 job. Quite often carpenters get to work between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Thus, carpenters don’t have a long workday but rather work 40 hours per week or even less.
After getting to your workplace, you will often get some instructions from your boss regarding what you have to do that day.
After that, you will often drive to the location of the client you have to work for and get some data for the project you should work on.
For instance, if you have the job to make a nice custom-made window, you will have to make sure that the window perfectly fits and this can only be done if you take measures properly in person.
After getting all the information you need, you will get back to your workplace and start producing the window.
Finally, you will get back to your client and complete your work by installing the window.
Sure, this is only a rough description of what your workday could look like since every day will be different and depending on the things you have to produce, the sort of work you have to do can change quite a bit.
Carpenter Salary 2021
Carpenter salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $78,000||> $38.81|
|Top 25 %||$61,000 – $67,000||$30.28 – $33.31|
|Bottom 25 %||$39,000 – $46,000||$19.27 – $22.76|
|Bottom 10 %||$29,000 – $34,000||$14.35 – $16.84|
|Range||$29,000 – $83,000||$14.35 – $41.26|
Carpenter salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$29,000 – $36,000||$14.35 – $17.78|
|Junior||$34,000 – $45,000||$16.82 – $22.37|
|Professional||$43,000 – $59,000||$21.41 – $29.38|
|Senior Professional||$49,000 – $65,000||$24.36 – $32.39|
|Expert||$57,000 – $71,000||$28.28 – $35.37|
|Top Expert||$63,000 – $83,000||$31.41 – $41.36|
Carpenter salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$59,400||$29.59|
Job Security for Carpenters
Carpenters enjoy pretty decent job security. In fact, if you are good at what you are doing, you will not have to worry about getting unemployed right now since due to the many construction projects that are around, good carpenters are in high demand right now.
Future Job Prospects of Carpenters
Not only are job prospects for carpenters pretty good right now, but they will also likely continue to be good in the future.
In fact, many people don’t want to work with their hands anymore and rather go for an office job.
In turn, good carpenters will have excellent future job prospects and also their wages tend to increase.
Working Hours of Carpenters
Carpenters usually start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m. most of the time.
Consequently, carpenters don’t work more than 40 hours per week and therefore have lots of leisure to spend with their loved ones or on their favorite hobbies.
Job Satisfaction of Carpenters
Most carpenters are pretty happy with what they are doing for a living.
In fact, carpenters have a pretty good work-life balance while they can still make decent money at the same time.
Therefore, many people who work in this field love going to work and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Promotion Opportunities of Carpenters
Carpenters also have decent promotion opportunities. While you will start out as a carpenter apprentice right at the beginning, you can climb the ladder soon if you are willing to work hard and also have some talent for what you are doing.
Over time, you may get personnel responsibilities or other leading roles in the carpentry company you work for.
Career Levels of Carpenters
- Carpenter intern
- Carpenter apprentice
- Junior carpenter
- Senior carpenter
- Senior carpenter with budget and/or personnel responsibility
- Manager of carpentry firms
- Owner of a carpentry business
Fields and Types of Carpenters
- Carpenters who specialize in furniture
- Carpenters who specialize in the interior construction of buildings
- Carpenters specialized in windows and doors
- Carpenters specialized in roofs
- Rough carpenters
- Ship carpenters
- Trim carpenters
- Structural carpenters
Educational Requirements for Carpenters
Carpenters don’t need a degree. Instead, you can apply for a carpentry apprenticeship right after finishing high school.
Consequently, while many of your friends may have to go to college and spend lots of money on education, you can make money right from the beginning as a carpenter.
How to become a Carpenter
- Make sure that a carpenter career is right for you
- Get decent grades in school
- Apply for an internship at a local carpentry
- Do a good job during your internship
- Stay in touch with your colleagues
- Successfully finish high school
- Apply for jobs in the carpentry industry
- Master the job interview
- Sign your employment contract
- Work hard on your skills
- Get into a leading position in the carpentry you work for
- Start your own carpentry business
Character Traits you need for Working as a Carpenter
- Willingness to accomplish something
- Attention to detail is crucial so that your woodwork fits
- Openness to individual preferences and wishes of customers
- Willingness to learn many different skills over time
- Curiosity helps to develop your skills further
- Outgoing personality helps to get in touch with experts in this field
- Fascination for working with wood
- You should be willing to work with your hands
Hard Skills for Carpenters
- You need to be in good physical condition
- Excellent knowledge of processing wood
- Knowledge about safety issues related to woodwork
- Good knowledge of construction
- Good knowledge of statics
- Math skills can be helpful as well
- Good spatial thinking
- Good problem-solving skills
- Acquisition skills help you find new clients
- Business skills help you run your own carpentry firm
Soft Skills for Carpenters
- Empathy to deal with difficult clients
- Good people skills
- Willingness to always learn and improve your skills
- You should trust in yourself
- Drawbacks should not bother you much
- You should stay calm during stressful periods
- You need to work efficiently while still meeting safety requirements
Exit Options for Carpenters
Since carpenters are pretty skilled when it comes to working with wood and other materials, carpenters are able to work in many different industries.
For instance, if you no longer want to work in the construction industry, you may want to switch to a career in interior design or you may just work in the management department of a carpentry firm instead of doing actual carpentry work.
Carpenter – Similar Careers
- Interior designer
- Manager of a carpentry firm
- Construction worker
- Technical director
Carpenter Career FAQs
Is working as a carpenter physically demanding?
Working as a carpenter can be pretty hard from a physical standpoint.
In fact, wood can be quite heavy and carpenters have to lift those heavy things on a regular basis to process it and to shape it in the right way.
Consequently, you should be willing to work with your hands before you decide for becoming a carpenter.
Is working as a carpenter mentally demanding?
While carpentry work is physically demanding, it will not be that mentally demanding.
Sure, you have to use your head since you will produce pretty poor results otherwise.
However, you still don’t need to be a genius for working in the carpentry industry.
Is it dangerous to work as a carpenter?
Working as a carpenter can be dangerous. Depending on the type of work you do, you may have to work with saws and other machines that could potentially hurt you.
Consequently, many carpenters suffer from injuries related to their work and chances are that you will be one of those unlucky guys sooner or later.
How long do carpenters stay in their jobs?
Carpenters stay in their jobs for quite a long time. While some carpenters have to quit their jobs early since they are no longer able to work in a hard physical manner, most carpenters stay in this field for many years or even decades since they are happy with their salary and also like what they do for a living.
Is it easy for carpenters to find a new job?
Since there are so many construction projects out there and repairs have increased quite a lot in this field, there is a huge demand for qualified carpenters and in case you get fired, you will find a new job pretty soon, at least if you are good at what you are doing and have realistic salary expectations.
Is it hard to switch from being a carpenter to another field of work?
It is also not that difficult for carpenters to switch from carpentry to another field of work.
Since carpenters learn many technical skills and also get a good feeling for working with different materials, they can also work as a roofer, construction worker or just in the sales or management departments of companies in the construction sector.
Do carpenters have a high social status?
While carpenters are important to keep our system running and to assure a high living standard, they still don’t have a pretty high social standing.
In fact, if you want to be admired by the general public, you should rather become a doctor or lawyer instead of a carpenter.
Can you help out your family and friends as a carpenter?
Since you will learn many skills that help you make things out of wood, you can be of great help to your loved ones since you can make nice furniture and also help to fix the roof or other vital parts of a house.
In turn, your family and friends will not have to spend lots of money on those things and will greatly appreciate your support.
Can carpenters work remotely?
Carpenters are not able to work remotely. As a carpenter, you just need to be present at work in person and cannot work from your computer.
In turn, you will be less flexible compared to someone who works in an office job and will also have to spend lots of time and money commuting to work.
Is it easy to find a partner as a carpenter?
Since carpenters make decent money and are also able to fix many things around the house, they have pretty good prospects when it comes to finding a partner since many people search for romantic encounters with people who are able to work with their hands and who can really produce things.
Do carpenters have to work on weekends?
Carpenters usually don’t have to work on weekends. Instead, they often only work Monday to Friday in a regular 9 to 5 job.
Hence, while waiters and many other people out there have to work on weekends, you as a carpenter will be able to spend your weekends with your loved ones instead.
Do carpenters have to work on holidays?
Carpenters don’t have to work on holidays. Instead, you can enjoy national holidays with your family or friends or you can also make nice trips.
You may also use those days to get better at hobbies or just relax in your garden.
Do carpenters have to work at nighttime?
Carpenters most often don’t have to work at nighttime. Instead, they will just get to work in the morning and come home from work in the late afternoon or early evening.
Thus, becoming a carpenter can be great for you if you want to work rather moderate working hours and don’t want to work in the late evening or at nighttime.
Do you have to travel as a carpenter?
There is no need to travel long distances as a carpenter. Most of the time, the projects you will have to work on will be within a few miles from your home and while many other people who work in demanding office jobs will have to travel and be away from home quite often, you will be able to spend lots of precious time with your family.
Are carpenter pensions good?
Since carpenters can make good money, also their pensions will be decent. However, you should still save and invest additional money so that you have additional funds for the time you retire and don’t have to solely rely on your pension that might not be enough to cover your bills, especially if you live in expensive regions of our planet.
Are carpenter salaries going up?
Carpenter salaries have been going up over the past years and due to a lack of qualified workers in this field, chances are that salaries will continue to go up in the future.
Hence, if you are really good at what you are doing, chances are that you will be able to make good money as a carpenter in the long run.
Can you have a positive effect on society as a carpenter?
While carpenters are important to keep our system running and to assure a high living standard, they still don’t have a significant positive effect on society since they just work with wood instead of people most of the time and cannot have the same positive educational effect like teachers who work with kids all day long.
How long does it take to become a carpenter?
You can become a carpenter pretty early in your life since there are no high educational requirements you have to meet.
You just need to apply for a carpentry apprenticeship after getting your high school diploma and can become an experienced carpenter within a few years.
Is it difficult to become a carpenter?
It is not difficult to become a carpenter. In fact, formal requirements for working in this field are rather low.
What’s much more important is that you have a passion for producing things out of wood so that you stay motivated with what you are doing in the long run and can become a real expert in your craft.
Do you need to be smart to work as a carpenter?
While you don’t need to be a genius for working as a carpenter, you still need some good technical and spatial knowledge and you should also have some talent in this regard.
If you are not talented at all in working with your hands, you will just make too many mistakes and may also not learn fast enough.
Do carpenters have a good work-life balance?
Carpenters have pretty decent work-life balance. They often just work in a regular 9 to 5 job and will come home from work quite early.
In turn, carpenters can make good money from what they are doing while still having enough time to spend with their family and on their hobbies.
Do carpenters have to work many extra hours?
Carpenters don’t have to work many extra hours. Instead, carpenters just finish their workday rather early and get back to work the next day most of the time.
Thus, carpenters don’t have much time pressure and the more experience you get in this field, the easier it will become to meet your goals.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a carpenter?
If you want to maximize your chances of becoming a carpenter, you should gather experience in this field pretty early in your life.
You should apply for internships in the carpentry industry while you are still at school to learn some practical skills and also to get in touch with people who may be willing to employ you later once you have finished school.
Can carpenters work part-time?
While the majority of carpenters work full-time, it may also be possible to work part-time in this field.
However, you will often not be able to pay your bills from a part-time job in carpentry and most of the time, you will have to work full-time due to financial reasons.
Do carpenters work indoors or outdoors?
Depending on the project you work on, you may have to work both indoors and outdoors as a carpenter.
However, you will still spend most of your time indoors since you will have to produce things out of wood and have to assure that wood doesn’t get in contact with rain.
What does the workplace of a carpenter look like?
Carpenters spend most of their workdays in a carpenter’s workshop where they produce many different items out of wood.
Since you will also often have to use machines, you will also be exposed to lots of noise and your ears may suffer in the long run if you don’t wear proper protection.
Do you have to look good for working as a carpenter?
You don’t need to look good as a carpenter. In fact, your looks don’t matter at all as long as you are really good at what you are doing.
After all, clients don’t pay you to look good, but they pay you to get decent woodwork which they can enjoy for quite a long time.
Is a carpenter career beneficial for your private life?
Working as a carpenter can also help you in various parts of your private life since you can make many nice things for your own home.
Instead of buying expensive furniture, you can just make all of the furniture yourself and can save lots of money in the long run.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a carpenter?
You don’t need a college degree for a carpentry career. Instead, you just need to finish high school and apply for a carpentry apprenticeship.
Hence, you can avoid the huge expenses related to college and can earn money from a pretty early age while many of your friends who aspire to a college degree may be in pretty bad financial condition.
Do you need to be certified to work as a carpenter?
While you could get additional certificates as a carpenter, those certificates are not urgently necessary for working as a carpenter in most states.
What’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you have talent for woodwork and that you pay great attention to detail so that clients are happy with your work and will come back to your carpentry in the long run.
How much does it cost to become a carpenter?
Since you don’t need a college degree for becoming a carpenter, you also don’t have to spend lots of money on college education.
Instead, you can make money right from the start of your apprenticeship and can become independent of your parents early in your life.
Is being a carpenter a good career?
Many carpenters are pretty happy with what they are doing since they are able to make decent money while they still have lots of leisure to spend with their loved ones or on hobbies they like even more than work.
Thus, working as a carpenter can be considered a good career if you are really interested in woodwork and are also willing to work with your hands.
Is it easy to start your own business as a carpenter?
Since you need many machines that can be quite costly and also have to build a good reputation in this field, it is not easy to start your own carpentry.
However, it is also not impossible and if you are willing to save enough money as an employee, you may be finally able to make the switch to having your own carpentry business after many years or even decades.
Can carpenters teach themselves?
While there is a lot you can teach yourself and learn on the job as a carpenter, you will still need some theoretical knowledge as well to avoid certain mistakes that could lead to serious adverse outcomes.
You can also learn a lot from your colleagues and you should therefore not solely rely on teaching yourself all the skills you will need in the long run.
Do carpenters make good money?
Carpenters can make decent money. While you may not get wealthy or rich, you can still make a decent living from a carpentry career, especially if you live in regions where living costs are rather low and an average salary will be enough to afford a decent lifestyle.
Is it ever too late to become a carpenter?
While it is never too later to become a carpenter, you should still start a carpentry career while you are still young since working as a carpenter can be physically demanding and the older you get, the harder it will be for you to work under those physically stressful conditions.
Do carpenters have to quit their careers early?
Some carpenters also have to quit their careers early in their 40s or 50s since their bodies just no longer work properly and they are no longer able to deal with the physical nature of the job.
In turn, some carpenters have to retire early and may no longer be able to pay their bills.
What is the most challenging thing about working as a carpenter?
The most challenging part of being a carpenter is that you have to pay great attention to detail while you still have to work in an economical manner to get things done in time so that costs for your clients don’t skyrocket.
Can you provide for your family by working as a carpenter?
Many carpenters are able to provide for their families. While their income may not be as high as the income of people who work in office jobs, carpenters are able to fix many things themselves and can also produce their own furniture which saves them lots of money in the long run.
In turn, they may be able to afford a similar lifestyle as people who earn more money but are not talented in producing things with their hands.
Will carpenters suffer from old-age poverty?
Carpenters make enough money so that they don’t necessarily have to suffer from old-age poverty. However, this also greatly depends on how much carpenters save and invest for retirement.
Thus, if carpenters just spend all their money on short-term consumption, chances are high that they will still suffer from old-age poverty and from the unpleasant consequences related to it.
Can carpenters retire early?
Most carpenters are not able to retire early since they still need the money to pay their bills and to save money for the time they quit their active careers.
Consequently, many carpenters have to work during their 60s or even 70s.
Can you get rich as a carpenter?
While carpenters can make decent money, most of them will never get wealthy or rich.
If you really want to get rich, you have to start your own carpentry business and expand it as much as possible to scale your profits.
Do carpenters need a second job?
While most carpenters don’t need to work a second job, some may still have to do so, especially if they want to afford some luxury or just live in an expensive region where living costs and rents are quite high.
Do you get continuous training as a carpenter?
Once you finish your apprenticeship, you will no longer get continuous training as a carpenter.
Instead, you will just learn many things on the job and you will also have experienced colleagues on your side who can help you in case you need support.
Are carpenters organized in unions?
Carpenters are organized in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters that aims to improve working conditions and salaries in this field as best as possible.
However, you should not solely rely on unions in this regard and rather give your best at work to increase your salary even without the support of unions.
Do you get paid when you are sick as a carpenter?
If you have a long-term contract and work for a renowned carpentry firm, chances are that you will also get paid when you are sick.
However, this is not true for all carpenters and you should therefore have a look at your employment contract or ask your colleagues in this regard.
Do carpenters have a high level of responsibility?
Carpenters have a pretty high level of responsibility. For instance, if carpenters install roofs, mistakes on their side can lead to statical issues and the roof may just collapse sooner or later.
Consequently, you will always have to stay focused to avoid serious adverse outcomes.
Can carpenters work abroad?
Since carpenters are in high demand all over the world, you will also have a pretty easy time finding a carpentry job in a foreign country, at least if you speak the local language.
However, in some cases, you may need to get additional formal education since requirements in this regard greatly vary across states.
Is it stressful to work as a carpenter?
Working as a carpenter is not that stressful since there is not that much time pressure and you will also not have to work with your brain in a heavy physical manner.
However, working as a carpenter can still be stressful from a physical perspective since you have to lift heavy things all day long.
Is it boring to work as a carpenter?
Carpentry work never gets boring, at least if you are really passionate about what you are doing and like working with your hands.
In such a case, you will love to go to work most of the time since you can produce new things all the time and this enables you to really get better at what you are doing.
Is being a carpenter hard?
Working as a carpenter can be hard from a physical standpoint since you will have to lift heavy things all day long and this can really stress your body.
In the long run, you may also suffer from serious physical health issues and working as a carpenter may be a real pain once this happens.
Is burnout a problem for carpenters?
While carpenters have to work in a physical manner, they don’t have to work with their brains that much.
Consequently, their risk of suffering from burnout will be rather low compared to people who work in classical office jobs and have to deal with numbers or code all day long.
Is there a dress code for carpenters?
There is no specific dress code for carpenters. However, the carpentry you work for will often provide you with standardized clothes so that you represent the firm you work for in a proper manner and can build a strong brand in the long run.
What kind of carpenters are paid the most?
The more experience and responsibility you have as a carpenter, the more money you will earn.
Hence, carpenters who have personnel or budget responsibility usually earn much more compared to normal carpenters who just have to do their work without having to care about those additional issues.
What percentage of carpenters are women?
Under 5% of carpenters are women right now. Hence, the vast majority of carpenters are men and this industry is really dominated by men power.
In fact, it is pretty hard for women to succeed in this industry since they often lack the physical power that is needed to lift heavy things.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a carpenter?
There is no need to have a mentor in the carpentry business. What’s much more important is that you work on your skills every day and that you also have a good relationship with your colleagues at work so that you can ask them in case you get stuck.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a carpenter?
As an employed carpenter, you will often not be liable for mistakes. However, things may change if you have personnel responsibilities or if you even own a joinery.
In such a case, you may want to get insurance so that you are covered in case of emergency.
Do carpenters have a high life expectancy?
Carpenters have a relatively high life expectancy. Since they work in a physical manner, carpenters often have a high fitness level and this is great to lower the risk of all sorts of health issues.
Moreover, since carpenters make decent money, they are often also able to afford proper medical treatment in case they urgently need it.
Do carpenters suffer from sleeping problems?
Since carpenters don’t have to work at nighttime, they will often also not suffer from sleeping problems.
Instead, since they will have to work in a physical manner, they will often come home tired from work and may fall asleep pretty soon.
What states are best for working as a carpenter?
The best states for carpenters are the states where there is a lot of construction going on while living costs are still low.
Hence, you should work in an area with many big cities around while you still don’t want to live in the inner city where rents are usually too high for carpenters.
Who do carpenters work with?
Carpenters work with many different clients. In fact, you will often only work for a client for a few days until you finish the job and will move on from there.
Consequently, you can meet many people over time and can build a strong business network.
Is working as a carpenter cool?
Working as a carpenter is considered cool by many people since you can produce things with your hands instead of just sitting in front of a computer screen and doing boring presentations as in many office jobs out there.
Can you start a side hustle as a carpenter?
It is also pretty easy for carpenters to start a side hustle. In fact, since carpenters are in high demand right now, you can easily find additional jobs which you can do on the side on weekends or also after you come home from your day job.
You can also start a YouTube channel or a blog about carpentry and make additional money on the side.
Do you have to be creative as a carpenter?
Being creative really helps as a carpenter since things often don’t work out as planned and you have to find alternative solutions to problems.
If you are not creative, you may just get stuck and may not be able to carry out your work in time.
How employable are carpenters?
The demand for qualified carpenters is pretty high right now and due to the increasing population and the need for more construction projects, chances are that carpenters will also be highly employable in the near future.
Are carpenters happy with their jobs?
Many carpenters are pretty happy with their jobs. In fact, most carpenters report pretty good work-life balance and are also really interested in what they are doing for a living. In turn, most carpenters are happy to leave their home to go to work.
Is working as a carpenter exciting?
Working as a carpenter can be pretty exciting since you will always have to work on new projects and you will just learn so many new things over time.
You will also experience many issues and it can be a real challenge to overcome them.
However, learning from those things can really keep you motivated and excited in the long run.
What are the pros and cons of working as a carpenter?
If you are still interested in becoming a carpenter, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a carpenter career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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