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Career Profile: Carpenters

Construct, erect, install, or repair structures and fixtures made of wood and comparable materials, such as concrete forms; building frameworks, including partitions, joists, studding, and rafters; and wood stairways, window and door frames, and hardwood floors. May also install cabinets, siding, drywall, and batt or roll insulation. Includes brattice builders who build doors or brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in underground passageways.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 942,900 people employed as carpenters in the United States. The median annual salary is $49,500. Entry level employees earn approximately $31,200 per year and senior employees earn approximately $87,410 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Maintain records, document actions, and present written progress reports.
  • Build or repair cabinets, doors, frameworks, floors, or other wooden fixtures used in buildings, using woodworking machines, carpenter's hand tools, or power tools.
  • Erect scaffolding or ladders for assembling structures above ground level.
  • Anchor and brace forms and other structures in place, using nails, bolts, anchor rods, steel cables, planks, wedges, and timbers.
  • Inspect ceiling or floor tile, wall coverings, siding, glass, or woodwork to detect broken or damaged structures.
  • Assemble and fasten materials to make frameworks or props, using hand tools and wood screws, nails, dowel pins, or glue.
  • Bore boltholes in timber, masonry or concrete walls, using power drill.
  • Maintain job records and schedule work crew.
  • Remove damaged or defective parts or sections of structures and repair or replace, using hand tools.
  • Install rough door and window frames, subflooring, fixtures, or temporary supports in structures undergoing construction or repair.
  • Finish surfaces of woodwork or wallboard in houses or buildings, using paint, hand tools, or paneling.
  • Arrange for subcontractors to deal with special areas, such as heating or electrical wiring work.
  • Prepare cost estimates for clients or employers.
  • Construct forms or chutes for pouring concrete.
  • Build sleds from logs and timbers for use in hauling camp buildings and machinery through wooded areas.
  • Work with or remove hazardous material.
  • Dig or direct digging of post holes and set poles to support structures.
  • Examine structural timbers and supports to detect decay, and replace timbers as required, using hand tools, nuts, and bolts.
  • Apply shock-absorbing, sound-deadening, or decorative paneling to ceilings or walls.
  • Cover subfloors with building paper to keep out moisture and lay hardwood, parquet, or wood-strip-block floors by nailing floors to subfloor or cementing them to mastic or asphalt base.
  • Fill cracks or other defects in plaster or plasterboard and sand patch, using patching plaster, trowel, and sanding tool.
  • Perform minor plumbing, welding, or concrete mixing work.
  • Follow established safety rules and regulations and maintain a safe and clean environment.
  • Study specifications in blueprints, sketches, or building plans to prepare project layout and determine dimensions and materials required.
  • Measure and mark cutting lines on materials, using a ruler, pencil, chalk, and marking gauge.
  • Shape or cut materials to specified measurements, using hand tools, machines, or power saws.
  • Install structures or fixtures, such as windows, frames, floorings, trim, or hardware, using carpenters' hand or power tools.
  • Verify trueness of structure, using plumb bob and level.
  • Select and order lumber or other required materials.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
942,900
Annual Openings:
89,300
Increase in Openings by 2030:
2%
Annual Salary Range:
$31,200 - $87,410
Education Requirements:
High school diploma