What does a Carpenter do?

Carpenters construct, install, and repair a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial structures and fixtures. In general, carpenters work with wood, steel, and concrete. Carpenters are also often involved with demolition and maintenance of these structures and fixtures. These jobs can vary from installing doors on an office building to building bridges.

Most carpenters learn the trade through an apprenticeship that lasts 3 to 4 years and focuses on the fundamentals like sawing, measuring, sketching, and reading blueprints. In addition to the technical training, there is a focus on safety training as well. Carpenters must have manual dexterity, an eye for detail, and the ability to solve problems quickly as they arise.

  • Install, maintain, and repair a variety of products, ranging from cabinets to insulation to tile to drywall
  • Perform work in accordance with safety best practices
  • Maintain tools and equipment in safe operating condition
  • Conduct building inspections and identify needed repairs
  • Document repairs and maintain thorough records
  • Cut, shape, and alter materials as needed
  • Build doors, cabinets, and windows
  • Measure and mark materials for alterations
  • High school diploma or general education degree (GED) required
  • Minimum of 3 years of general carpentry experience and completion of an apprenticeship, or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience
  • Must possess a valid driver's license
  • Forklift certification preferred
  • Asbestos awareness training preferred
  • Strong reading, writing, and speaking skills (in English)
  • Ability to read, interpret, and follow blueprints, technical diagrams, and schematics
  • Comfortable using ladders and scaffolding
  • Demonstrated ability to operate hand, air, and power tools
  • Able to lift and move up to 50 pounds regularly
Work/Life Balance
3.4 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Carpenter Salaries

Average Base Pay

$36,000 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
Median: $36K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Carpenter Career Path

Learn how to become a Carpenter, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Carpenter III
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Lead Carpenter
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Carpenter Insights

Read what Carpenter professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Dilawri Group of CompaniesDilawri Group of Companies
Assistant Pre-Owned Manager
19 Dec 2019

“They make such a fun and friendly environment to work in you don't want to go work anywhere else.”

Lord & TaylorLord & Taylor
26 May 2021

“pay was good for the job I had to do but not for the abuse I took from store management”

27 Dec 2019

“Good hourly pay and flexible around any schedule.”

City of New YorkCity of New York
16 Mar 2020

“Good pay is good to work”

Cascade Bridge
Bridge Carpenter/Laborer
27 May 2021

“prevailing wage and good pay”

Cruiser RV
Cabinet Maker
3 Jan 2021

“Management is top notch and keeps everything rolling smooth”

W. F. MagannW. F. Magann
22 Jun 2021

“No Vaca and sick time no holiday nothing”

Bryan Construction INcBryan Construction INc
18 Sep 2020

“The pay is decent but not great.”

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Carpenter Interviews

Related Careers

Construction Project Manager
Construction Manager
13% skills overlap
Construction Estimator
13% skills overlap
Construction Superintendent

Carpenter jobs

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a carpenter

When working as a carpenter, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are Strong WORK Ethic, Professionalism, Roofs, Well Organized and Written Communication.

The most similar professions to carpenter are:
  • Construction Project Manager
  • Construction Manager
  • Construction Estimator
  • Construction Superintendent