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What Skills Will I Learn in a Carpentry Course?

Carpenters are skilled craftspersons who create structures and consumer goods from common materials, like wood and concrete. Enrolling in carpentry courses at a trade school or community college is one way to gain the knowledge and techniques needed for a career as a carpenter. Skills learned in carpentry courses may include safety awareness, building layout design and blueprint reading. Continue reading for more information about carpentry courses.

What Carpenters Do

Carpenters craft structures and products from wood, steel, fiberglass and other materials. There are different types of carpenters, including residential, industrial and commercial carpenters. Residential carpenters may build new homes or do remodeling work, building structures like walls, stairways, floors, roofs and decks. Commercial carpenters, who may construct schools, malls and hospitals, use many of the same skills, but they may work more with concrete and steel. Industrial carpenters build infrastructure like tunnels, sewers and dams.

Important Facts About This Occupation

On-the-Job Training Apprenticeship
Work Environment Residential and non-residential buildings
Median Salary (2018) $46,590 *
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% (average growth)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Taking Courses in Carpentry

There are no formal education or training requirements to become a carpenter in the U.S., but the BLS reports that three to four years of experience is the industry standard for becoming a skilled craftsperson. Training and experience can be acquired by working with an experienced journeyman or through an apprenticeship offered by an employer or labor union. Formal in-class instruction is offered through certificate, diploma or associate's degree programs in carpentry at trade or vocational schools. Employees with some formal carpentry education generally start at higher positions in the field. Carpentry courses may include carpentry math, building layouts, foundation work, roofing, stair construction, siding and moldings. You can also study interior and exterior finishes.

Skills Learned

Carpenters learn many physically-oriented skills, like joining, framing and refinishing. Carpenters also must be adept at measuring and planning to complete the layout portion of their tasks. Errors in this important pre-step to the building process can negatively impact, or even ruin, a finished product. Additionally, mathematical skills and blueprint reading and sketching are vital skills for carpenters.

Here are descriptions for a few of the important skills that you can learn in carpentry courses:

  • Safety awareness: Carpenters must be aware of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety regulations, and they also need to know first aid in the case of any job accidents.
  • Use of hand and power tools: Some of the tools you may need to be familiar with are chisels, levels, circular saws, drills, welding machines and sanders.
  • Building frameworks: Carpenters learn how to incorporate rafters, partitions, joists and studs to make strong frameworks.
  • Installation: You can learn how to install internal components of a building, like insulation and drywall, as well as features such as cabinets, doors, counters, ceilings and windows.