Carpentry can be an excellent career choice for those who enjoy working with their hands. It pays well, there is plenty of room for advancement, and jobs are plentiful. But you can’t just wake up one day and decide to call yourself a carpenter. Here’s how to get started in the trade.
Learn the Basics
Like any job, carpentry requires some core skills. As you gain knowledge and experience, you will build on these skills to vastly improve your craftsmanship. But in the beginning, you need to know how to:
- Measure accurately
- Operate a variety of tools, such as chisels, hammers, and saws
- Cut a straight line
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles and dust masks
- Keep a worksite clean, organized, and free from hazards
You can learn many of these skills on your own, through home projects or hobbies. They may seem simple, but they are skills you will use on every job throughout your career.
Get Some Training
You have options when deciding how to learn the carpentry trade. You might work as a carpenter’s helper or a general laborer for a carpentry business. These positions allow you to work side by side with an experienced carpenter, learning the trade as you go along.
Another option is to attend trade school. You’ll get both classroom and hands-on training and will likely complete an apprenticeship as part of your education. If you learn best in a more formalized setting, this may be the right option for you.
Land Your First Job
Once you have some training and experience under your belt, you’ll be ready to apply for your first job as a carpenter. If you’re interested in a particular type of carpentry, such as cabinet making or finish carpentry, now is the time to start looking for entry-level positions in your area of choice. Or you could stick with more general carpentry positions for now and consider whether to specialize later in your career.
Either way, you’ll need to prove that you have the skills and background to be successful. Highlight the training you have received and projects you have completed both on your resume and in your interview. It takes years to become a master carpenter, but many companies are willing to take a chance on someone new who has put in the work to learn the basics of the trade.
Ready for a New Skilled Trade Position?
At Great Lakes Skilled Trades, we specialize in connecting professionals in the skilled trades with contractors who need their services throughout the Great Lakes region. If you’re a skilled trade worker looking for your next position, check out our available jobs today!