What Are Some Popular Carpentry Professions?

Carpenters use hand and power tools to build structures and craft consumer goods from wood and other common materials. Most carpenters are employed in the construction industry, but they also can find jobs in government, manufacturing and retail services. Schools offering Carpentry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Popular Carpentry Professions

Working in the construction industry is the most popular choice for the approximately 567,820 carpenters in the U.S. work force. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2014, 29.21% of carpenters worked in residential building construction, while 16.17% worked for nonresidential building construction (www.bls.gov). Another 14.10% work as finishing contractors in the building trades. Carpenters also work in government, manufacturing, retail and various other industries. About 36% of carpenters were self-employed in 2012, according to BLS statistics.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $40,820
Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
On-the-job Training Apprenticeship
Job Outlook (2012-22) 24% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Working as a Carpenter

Carpenters are skilled tradesmen who work with wood, plastic, fiberglass and other materials to build structures or make consumer goods. In general, carpenters read blueprints, lay out projects, and cut and join pieces of their designated material. They then use levels, framing squares and other measuring equipment to check their work.

Beyond that, the job of carpenters varies greatly. Some carpenters specialize in one task, such as framing walls or building stairs, which others perform a variety of duties, from installing cabinets and repairing furniture to replacing ceiling tiles and building partitions.

Salary and Career Outlook

The median annual salary for carpenters was $40,820 in May 2014, according to BLS figures. In comparison, an apprentice carpenter typically earns between a third and half what an experienced, trained carpenter does. The carpentry field was expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate, about 24% between 2012 and 2022, with the best job opportunities available to those with the most formal training and work experience.

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