Carpentry

If you like solving problems and working on your own, you could be a successful carpenter. Most carpenters learn all-around skills, but you might specialize in framing, interior finishes, siding, roofing, drywall, acoustic ceilings or maintenance. You could also work on a larger team as a millwright, bridge builder or prefab component maker. You can advance to crew supervisor or job superintendent with a construction company. Or even go into business for yourself as a builder or remodeler. Some carpenters work in sales, at lumber yards, as building inspectors or factory reps.

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Essential Skills and Salary Information

State and National Wages & Employment Trends

Location Pay Period 2011
10% 25% Median 75% 90%
United States Hourly $11.96 $15.01 $19.24 $26.23 $34.56
Yearly $24,900 $31,200 $40,000 $54,600 $71,900
Pennsylvania Hourly $12.17 $14.98 $18.52 $24.42 $31.55
Yearly $25,300 $31,200 $38,500 $50,800 $65,600
United States Employment Percent Change Job Openings 1
2010 2020
Carpenters 1,001,700 1,197,600 +20% 40,830
Pennsylvania Employment Percent Change Job Openings 1
2008 2018
Carpenters 55,100 55,650 +1% 800

1 Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

Note: The data for the State Employment Trends and the National Employment Trends are not directly comparable. The projections period for state data is 2008-2018, while the projections period for national data is 2010-2020.

Information provided by CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Tasks

  • Study specifications in blueprints, sketches, or building plans to prepare project layout and determine dimensions and materials required.
  • Shape or cut materials to specified measurements, using hand tools, machines, or power saws.
  • Follow established safety rules and regulations and maintain a safe and clean environment.
  • Measure and mark cutting lines on materials, using a ruler, pencil, chalk, and marking gauge.
  • 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.
  • Build or repair cabinets, doors, frameworks, floors, or other wooden fixtures used in buildings, using woodworking machines, carpenter's hand tools, or power tools.
  • Assemble and fasten materials to make frameworks or props, using hand tools and wood screws, nails, dowel pins, or glue.
  • Remove damaged or defective parts or sections of structures and repair or replace, using hand tools.
  • Inspect ceiling or floor tile, wall coverings, siding, glass, or woodwork to detect broken or damaged structures.

Tools used in this occupation

  • Ladders — Extension ladders; Fold-up ladders; Non-conducting ladders
  • Levels — Calibrating electronic levels; Laser levels; Torpedo levels; Visible beam laser levels
  • Power sanders — Belt sanders; Drum sanders; Handheld rotary tools; Random orbital sanders
  • Power saws — Beam saws; Circular saws; Reciprocating saws; Worm-drive saws
  • Squares — Combination squares; Framing squares; Layout bars

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Accounting software — Intuit QuickBooks software; Intuit Quicken software; Job costing software
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
  • Project management software — Bosch Punch List; Craftsman CD Estimator; Turtle Creek Software Goldenseal Architect; Virtual Boss software
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word; Wilhelm Publishing Threshold

Knowledge

  • Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Skills

  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Selection — Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Abilities

  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Work Activities

  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Interests

Interest code: RCI

  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.