House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Become a Carpenter – Everything you Need to Know!

Roofer, carpenter working on roof structure on construction site

If you like to work with your hands and are good at using tools, a career as a carpenter can be fun and rewarding. There is always plenty of work to do, and it pays quite well. However, many people aren’t sure what steps to take to become one. If this sounds like your situation, keep reading as we discuss what a carpenter does, the skills you need, and recommended education so you can see if this career path is right for you.


tool divider

Before You Begin

Understand What a Carpenter Is

A carpenter uses natural materials, like wood and nails, to construct and install wooden structures and fittings. They often build and install doors, cabinets, flooring, decks, and porches. They also frequently make furniture, storage boxes, picture frames, gun racks, etc.

Understand What a Carpenter Does

  • A carpenter reads blueprints and follows and complies with all building regulations.
  • A carpenter determines the amount and cost of building materials needed to complete a project.
  • Carpenters will have the equipment and tools that they need to complete a project and know how to use them.
Carpenter cutting wood with circular power saw in building construction site interior
Image By: Juice Flair, Shutterstock

Understand What Skills a Carpenter Needs


Carpenters need great math skills to build projects and estimate the materials and costs.


Carpenters need to own and be proficient at operating a wide range of tools, from saws to ladders, and they must know how to maintain them

Decision Making

Carpenters need to be great decision-makers. This skill helps them choose the right materials for a job by balancing cost with quality and helps them determine the best approach to a project so they can complete it quickly.

Physical Fitness

Carpenters need to be physically fit to have the strength and stamina to complete many types of jobs. Much of the equipment can be heavy, and carpenters often need to climb, walk, and stand while holding it. Hand sawing, hammering, and many other jobs will also use a large amount of energy.


Communication skills are extremely important for a carpenter because you must discuss your plans with customers. The better you communicate, the less likely there will be a problem later.

Computer Skills

Computer skills are crucial for carpenters, especially when they are just starting. Computers can help small businesses keep track of everything that they are doing, from scheduling to taxes. Many programs are also available to help carpenter plan their next project and estimate the required materials and time.

carpenter using a planer in woodworking
Image Credit: Ono Kosuki, Pexels

tool divider

How to Become a Carpenter (6 Steps)

1. Finish Secondary School

The first step in becoming a carpenter is finishing secondary school or obtaining a general education diploma, which will allow you to receive carpentry training. In addition, many secondary schools offer elective courses in woodworking or carpentry that can help you jump-start your career.

2. Get Carpentry Training

Once you finish secondary school, you can attend college or technical school to take a carpentry course. Adult courses can last from a few weeks to several months and will teach all the basics of carpentry and show you how to use many of the tools. This training looks great when bidding for a job and will help you charge a higher rate.

3. Pursue an Apprenticeship

Pursuing an apprenticeship is the perfect way to get hands-on experience in carpentry. Some schools that offer carpentry training will also offer apprenticeship programs, but you might need to search for one by contacting local carpenters in your area. These programs cover four 12-month periods where you will receive 5,440 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training. The apprentice will earn an hourly wage, and it’s possible to speed up the process if you have prior experience in carpentry or evidence that you completed a carpentry program before pursuing the apprenticeship.

4. Get Certified

Group of students in woodwork training course
Image Credit: goodluz, Shutterstock

Once you complete your 4-year apprenticeship program, you can get certified as a carpenter. You can also get certified after working in the field for at least 4 years. To get certified, you will need to complete an exam to show that you understand all aspects of carpentry. While optional, this certification will help you receive a higher wage and make customers more confident about choosing you.

5. Consider Career Advancement

Taking additional carpentry courses after you receive your certification can help increase your wages and prepare you for bigger jobs and more responsibility. Additional training can also help you specialize in a specific area of carpentry.

6. Find Work

Once you receive your training, it will be time to find work in the field, which will help you hone your skills even further. Doing a good job will also help your name spread by word of mouth, which is the best way to expand your business and ensure that you keep working for many years.

tool divider


Becoming a carpenter is not difficult and only requires getting carpentry training followed by a 4-year apprenticeship or working in the field, which enables you to get certified. After that, additional training in class or in the field will help you command higher wages or even specialize in a specific area of carpentry. Having good math, mechanics, decision-making, computer, and communication skills will make your journey easier, and taking woodworking or carpentry classes in secondary school can give you a head start.

Featured Image Credit: sculpies, Shutterstock


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools