Become an apprentice carpenter by earning a high school diploma or GED and then applying for an apprenticeship program. An apprentice carpenter studies under a more experienced carpenter in order to learn the fundamentals of the trade.
A high school degree or GED is necessary to enroll in all carpentry apprenticeship programs. Students studying at the high school level can better prepare themselves for a career in carpentry by studying subjects such as algebra, geometry, physics, wood shop or metal shop. Prior experience in construction or other related fields can also help with an apprenticeship.
Locating an apprenticeship is the next step. Many construction companies, commercial and industrial contractors and labor unions offer carpentry apprenticeships. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America offers many carpentry apprenticeships across the United States. Applicants for an apprenticeship program must be at least 18 years old, and many programs require applicants to pass a qualifying exam. Most carpentry apprenticeships take around four years to complete, though sometimes they can be finished more quickly if the apprentice demonstrates advanced skill.
A carpentry apprenticeship focuses on the fundamentals of the trade, including sawing, nailing, measuring and leveling. Apprentices receive hands-on experience related to structural design, framing techniques and inside and outside finishing. An apprenticeship often includes a classroom component, focusing on basic mathematics, design, sketching, job site safety and first aid training.