Construction Skilled Trades

Carpenters are involved in many different kinds of construction activity. They cut, fit, and assemble wood and other materials for the construction of buildings, highways, bridges, docks, industrial plants, boats, and many other structures. Carpenters’ duties vary by type of employer. Builders increasingly are using specialty trade contractors who, in turn, hire carpenters who specialize in just one or two activities. Such activities include setting forms for concrete construction; erecting scaffolding; or doing finishing work, such as installing interior and exterior trim. However, a carpenter directly employed by a general building contractor often must perform a variety of the tasks associated with new construction, such as framing walls and partitions, putting in doors and windows, building stairs, laying hardwood floors, and hanging kitchen cabinets. Carpenters also build brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in underground passageways to control the proper circulation of air through these passageways and to worksites.

Construction skilled trades also include many of the same trades as the industrial skilled trades. Just about every construction project requires electricians, plumbers, HVACR technicians, welders and sheet metal technicians. Information on these careers can be found in the “Iindustrial Skilled Trades” career category.

Job Outlook and Growth Potential:

Job opportunities for carpenters are expected to be excellent over the 2002-12 period, largely due to the numerous openings arising each year as experienced carpenters leave this large occupation. Contributing to this favorable job market is the fact that many potential workers prefer work that is less strenuous and that has more comfortable working conditions. Because there are no strict training requirements for entry, many people with limited skills take jobs as carpenters but eventually leave the occupation because they dislike the work or cannot find steady employment

Wages and Earnings Potential:

Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of carpenters in 2002 are shown below:

Nonresidential building construction $18.31
Building finishing contractors $17.30
Residential building construction $16.02
Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors $16.01
Employment services $12.58

Earnings can be reduced on occasion, because carpenters lose worktime in bad weather and during recessions when jobs are unavailable.

Some carpenters are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Copyright © 2014, Ohio's 2-Year Council of Deans and Directors of Engineering & Industrial Technologies

Career information from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition and member schools.