Carpenters cut, shape, level, and fasten together pieces of wood and other construction materials, such as wallboard, plywood, and insulation. Many carpenters work on constructing, remodeling, or repairing houses and other kinds of buildings. Other carpenters work at construction sites where roads, bridges, docks, boats, mining tunnels, and wooden vats are built. They may specialize in building the rough framing of a structure, and thus be considered rough carpenters, or they may specialize in the finishing details of a structure, such as the trim around doors and windows, and be finish carpenters. Approximately 580,570 carpenters work in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Finish Carpenters, Rough Carpenters
Duties Build structures out of wood; rough carpenters build structures; finish carpenters install hardwood flooring, staircases, shelves, cabinets, window and door trim, and many other items; review blueprints or instructions; use measuring devices and power tools
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) California, New York; opportunities exist in all regions
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Apprenticeship
School Subjects
  • Mathematics
  • Technical/Shop
Experience Apprenticeship
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Realistic
  • Technical
  • Building/Trades
  • Math
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Independent Contractor
  • General Construction Supervisor
  • Supervising Carpenter
  • Journeyman Carpenter
  • Apprentice Carpenter

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