What is a Carpenter?
Carpenters construct, erect and repair buildings and other structures made of wood, wood substitutes, steel and other materials.
Duties vary according to the type of job.
In residential jobs, carpenters crib the basement; build the house framework, walls, roof, exterior and interior finishes; and install doors, windows, flooring, cabinets, stairs, handrails, paneling, molding and ceiling tiles.
In commercial or industrial jobs, they build concrete forms, scaffolding, bridges, trestles, tunnels, shelters, towers and other structures.
In maintenance jobs, they repair and remodel existing structures of all kinds.
Some carpenters specialize in one type of work such as framing, bench work or finishing work.
Most carpentry tasks involve:
- Reading blueprints and/or getting instructions from a supervisor
- Doing the layout including selecting materials, planning sequences and methods of work, measuring and marking materials to avoid costly mistakes or omissions
- Cutting and shaping materials and joining them with nails, screws, bolts or glue
- Checking completed units to be sure they are level, square, plumb and the right size, shape and location
Skills & Abilities
The work is most rewarding for those who take pride in creating a variety of things with their hands and honing their expertise in woodcraft.
To be successful in the trade carpenters need:
- The ability to stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time
- Manual dexterity
- Balance for working on scaffolding
- The ability to lift between 11 and 25 kilograms
- The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately
- The ability to get along well with others
The term of apprenticeship for a carpenter is 4 years (four 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1360 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.
An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the Carpenter trade or holds a related journeyman certificate and has the employer’s recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship.
A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may apply for a Prior Learning Assessment.
To learn the skills required of a carpenter in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice.
To find answers to your questions and learn more about a career as a Carpenter, contact the Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers Local 1325 or Local 2103.
For a quick summary of a career as a carpenter, ask about the carpenter trade card.