What Qualifications Are Needed to Become a Carpenter?

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For someone who wants become a carpenter, an associate’s degree or certificate to become employed in the profession is needed. Most carpenters need to learn and master basic carpentry skills through formal education and apprenticeships. This is accomplished through attending vocational or technical colleges that offer degrees in general carpentry or various carpentry crafts.

The type of training and level of expertise that carpenters acquire in these schools varies considerably. Technical college programs offer classroom instruction to teach students building codes and proper layouts as well as how to read blueprints and understand basic math, safety and related areas. In technical and vocational schools, students generally learn practical hands-on skills in framing and finishing. This allows them to use hand and power tools to work with lumber and other building materials.

Before embarking on careers in carpentry, many students begin as carpenter’s assistants. There, they watch and learn from skilled carpenters to master skills and hone their own techniques by observation and practice. Some students seek internships through private firms or trade unions. Carpentry internships generally last several years and may culminate with giving students formal certifications as journeymen (entry-level) carpenters. Apprenticeships are not required to become a carpenter but are valuable ways to learn and practice essential skills.