Framing Carpenter: Career Profile, Job Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for framing carpenters. Get the facts about training requirements, salary and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Carpentry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Framing Carpenter?

Framing carpenters build the structure of a house, from the wood studs in the walls to the roofing trusses. These tasks involve reading blue prints, taking measurements, and cutting and shaping materials such as lumber and plastic. For larger projects, they may use rigging hardware and cranes to put up and level frame work. Framing carpenters may also inspect existing frame work and make repairs. Get information on the training and skills you'll need, as well as the projected job growth rate for this career, as provided by the table below.

Training Required On-the-job; apprenticeships are also available
Key Skills Physical strength/stamina, time management, attention to detail, math
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for all carpenters)*
Median Salary (2015) $42,090 (for all carpenters)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Framing Carpenter?

As a framing carpenter, you will likely find employment in the construction industry through contract work. According to CareerBuilder.com job searches in July of 2011, you are primarily responsible for erecting the skeletal structure of a building, and in some cases fashioning windows and exterior doors. While regular working hours are the norm, sometimes employers may have you working overtime in order to complete projects on schedule. Like other construction jobs, the work you perform can be physically demanding, requiring heavy lifting, kneeling and standing for prolonged periods of time.

What Outlook Can I Expect for the Career?

In May 2015, the mean hourly wage for all carpenters (including frame carpenters) was $22.49, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projected a 6% job growth rate for all carpenters between 2014 (when about 945,400 people worked as carpenters) and 2024. Prospects will be better for carpenters who possess more skill and experience. Additionally, bilingual carpenters who can speak English and Spanish will be especially useful to supervisors who must convey instructions or warnings to Spanish-speaking team members. Carpenters' work hours may vary, depending on the amount of construction taking place from season to season.

What Do I Need to Know?

Traditionally, the primary education available in framing carpentry came in the form of an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. Nowadays, technical certificate and degree programs exist in addition to the older traditional educational methods. A technical degree program might require you to complete about 17-28 credit hours consisting of basic skills essential for the job, such as site layout, foundations, wall and floor framing and roof framing.

The more traditional method involves you getting into an entry-level carpentry job and working your way up the career ladder. You might also complete an apprenticeship in carpentry, which will have its own entry requirements. For example, to you might have to be at least 17 years old, provide proof of a job offer with a contractor and successfully apply to a training center before being accepted as an apprentice.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Other careers related to carpentry include construction labors - who provide physical labor on construction sites, flooring installers - who layout and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile, and masonry workers - who build walls out of bricks or stone. All of these professions may play a role in the construction of a building, and in some smaller projects one person may take on multiple roles.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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