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Crafting Your Carpentry Career
As the global population continues to expand, so the demand for skilled trades and construction workers increases – people have to live somewhere.
Carpentery is one of the skills that is much in demand.
Carpenters are not just needed for the obvious construction jobs, such as building roof trusses for new homes; large developments like power plants and factories also need carpenters, and of course they will always be in demand for repairing wooden buildings or the wooden parts of other structures.
What does carpentry entail
Carpenters can be employed for construction, repairing, and/or installing the framework of buildings; this includes stud walls, wooden floors, door frames, window frames, and many other building parts constructed from wood.
They have to know how to follow a blueprint or building plan, how to install fixtures and structures, how to measure, cut and shape all types of wood, plastic, and other material, and how to repair or replace wooden parts of a building framework when they have aged or failed.
What education does a carpenter need
Although it is possible to get a college degree in carpentry, you don’t have to have a degree to be a carpenter.
Associate degrees in carpentry are available from certain technical schools and community colleges, but generally a high school diploma is sufficient.
Graduating high school means that you have proven you have the essential mathematical and language skills to work effectively as a carpenter. Many carpenters start out in the trade on apprenticeship programmes.
Licensing, certification, and registration
Though not compulsory, it is very useful for a carpenter to have a driver’s licence or some other reliable type of transport, because nearly all their work will be undertaken on external sites.
Carpenters don’t need to be certified, but certificate programs are available for carpenters who have an interest in undertaking an apprenticeship, e.g., the Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) provided by the Home Builders Institute.
Other certification is available in particular areas, e.g. certification can be obtained for remodelling from the National Association of the Remodelling Industry.
What do carpenters earn, and what are their prospects
The average salary for carpenters is approximately $50,000 a year.
The poorest-paid 10% earn below $30,000, with the highest 10% earning over $80,000.
The employment outlook for carpenters is healthy.
It has been predicted that over the next 10 years employment in the carpentry industry will rise more quickly than the national average.
What skills does a carpenter need
Carpenters have a whole range of skills; some will work as general carpenters, with others being specialised in a specific area, e.g., kitchen design or building insulation. Carpenters are needed for every type of construction contract, whether industrial, commercial, or residential.
Types of carpentry skill
A carpenter needs good mechanical skills as there are numerous machines in tools used in the trade, including electronic tools such as drills, power saws, electronic levels and electric sanders; numerous handtools are also employed such as saws, chisels, etc.
Carpenters need to be able to handle a range of tools and also know how to maintain and repair them as necessary.
Carpenters have to be extremely accurate in their measuring skills and are often involved in planning projects, so maths skills are very important.
Carpenters have to be able to read a blueprint, make measurements, calculate costs and operate a budget.
Good basic arithmetic and geometry skills are essential, and even advanced mathematical skills like algebra, statistics and calculus can be useful.
Attention to detail
Carpentry is a very exact trade. Carpenters have to be experts in measuring and cutting materials so that they fit exactly; a good eye for detail can be an immense help for a carpenter, both when they are working on the job and when they are planning, studying blueprints etc.
Even the best-run projects will occasionally throw up problems, and a good carpenter needs to be skilled in resolving them.
Projects can overrun, the wrong materials can be delivered, and so on. Carpenters need critical thinking to resolve any such problems.
Good critical thinking skills can help with design, layout, project management, time management, troubleshooting and more.
Good physical strength is essential for carpenters because their work inevitably deals with heavy materials. Carpenters must also have a good level of stamina as most of the work they do will be highly physical and involve being on their feet for many hours of the day.
Effective communication with clients is essential for carpenters; they should be able to listen to what the client wants and make sure that they take it into consideration, and they should be able to explain any technical issues in a way that is easy for a client to understand.
It is extremely useful for a carpenter or any other tradesman to know their way around a computer.
A lot of design is now done on computers, and many carpenters will receive plans from architects and designers as computer files.
It is essential that they know how to interpret and if necessary modify such plans.
In addition, most communication with clients will be by email, and good computer skills can help with budgeting, invoicing, advertising and more.
If you decide to take the plunge and become a carpenter, don’t forget that insurance for carpenters is a must.
Several types of insurance for carpenters are available, including carpenter business insurance and carpenter tool insurance.
If you are going to work as a carpenter you need to make sure that you are covered in the event of any accidents or claims against you from clients, and you may wish to protect your expensive tools and trade vehicles against any mishaps or theft.
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