A Career in Construction - Becoming a Carpenter

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A carpenter constitutes a major part in the construction industry and they are mostly self-employed. To become a skilled carpenter one should preferably have 3 to 4 years of on the job training as well as classroom training.

Carpenters are needed in various types of construction work like building bridges and highways, setting up household furniture, installation of kitchen cabinets, etc. Their main raw material is wood and they install, construct, erect, and deal with fixtures, and repair structures made out of wood.

Carpentry work may be seen as one of the more laborious jobs of all the building jobs. The carpenter has to stand for long hours, and has to climb or bend, and even kneel while working for a prolonged time. They also face risk from injury while working with rough materials and sharp tools. Carpenters working on outdoor jobs also face extreme weather conditions and have the threat of falling or slipping from high heights. Usually a carpenter works for 40 hours in a week. However, that may stretch to longer hours at a time of demand.



There are informal and formal training courses for learning the trade of carpentry. Normally a formally earned training opens up doors for job opportunities. One can begin learning carpentry right from high school where classes on subjects like algebra, mechanical drawing, geometry, blue print reading, physics, and English will train them for the relevant studies in this trade.

An aspiring carpenter can join an experienced carpenter after passing out from high-school and assisting him while gaining on job experience. Alternatively he can join a vocational training center or community college to enhance his knowledge in the related field and thus become a professional carpenter. Then there are apprenticeships offered by some employers where the candidate is given on job training along with classroom lessons. The apprentices are required to be within the age limit of 18 years and should also meet the other requirements specified. Such programs last for 3-4 years and may also depend on the skill of the apprentice.

Training in elementary structural design is given to the apprentices on the job and are made familiar with the necessary carpentry tasks like layout, rough framing, form building, and finishing inside and outside. Here they also explain how to use various relevant machines and tools as well as equipment that is associated with the trade. Classes on safety measures, first aid, freehand sketches, reading of blueprint, basic mathematics, and other relevant carpentry techniques are taught to the apprentices in the class-room programs.

Normally when someone is interested in pursuing a career in carpentry, they opt to go for classroom training first before taking up a job as carpenter. There are various private and public vocational training institutes which provide training on carpentry. Employers too opt for these professionally trained carpenters and they are also offered higher salaries or wages as compared to those without such training.

Apart from this training, a carpenter will also need mental skill or quickness in doing work, coordination between the eye and hand, mental and physical agility, as well as a strong sense of balance. Knowledge of measurements and calculating them fast and accurately is another skill that is needed for which one has to be good in arithmetic. After completing the apprentice training program the carpenters will be given a certificate as journeymen. Others may also get certificates for high torque bolting, scaffold building or pump work.

A carpenter may proceed to become carpentry supervisor or may also become a general construction supervisor. With substantial experience in this trade, one can also choose to be independent contractors. Carpenters need to have good communication skills as they have to interact with the clients, subcontractors, and others in the trade. Estimating the quantity of material needed for a certain project and the expected time to complete the same is a prerequisite of this profession.

A carpenter can earn an hourly wage from $15 to $35 per day. However, earnings may go down at times due to poor weather conditions or during the time of recession. Generally carpentry work encompasses the primary steps of reading the blueprints, taking instructions from the supervisors, preparing the layout, taking measurements, and acquiring the raw material as per the requirement of the project.

All through the construction industry there is a large demand for carpenters. They are responsible for shaping and fastening the wood to make houses as well as other buildings along with doors, cabinets, and other objects made from wood. They use hand tools and tools operated by power like drills, chisels, saws, and hammers.

There is always a need for carpenters due to overall growth in this job along with a need for replacement of fixtures.
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