Carpentry is an exciting field for those who enjoy working with their hands. It can also be rewarding, with high job satisfaction, excellent salary potential, and the possibility for a promotion if you work hard.
If you’re deciding whether to choose carpentry as a career, consider these five reasons to join the trade.
1. There are solid job prospects for carpenters.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a positive picture for aspiring carpenters. The average wage as of May 2021 is $26.53 per hour or $55,190 per year. Pay varies widely by industry and state, so there are opportunities to make much more as you advance in your career or if you choose to relocate.
Though job growth for carpenters is only projected to grow by 2% between 2020 and 2030, there are still over 89,000 job openings each year predicted during that time. Most job openings will be created by retiring Baby Boomers.
2. Skilled tradespeople are usually very satisfied in their careers.
The hands-on work that carpenters and other tradespeople do helps create high job satisfaction. One recent survey found that 83% of skilled trade workers were either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘somewhat satisfied’ with their career choice.
Many survey respondents said that meaning and value in their work were the top reasons they were so happy. Sitting in front of a computer all day is not everyone’s ideal way of making a living. Working with your hands and seeing your labor progress in real-time can be extremely satisfying.
3. You can earn good pay with no college debt.
Another reason why tradespeople are generally happy with their career choice is the pay. As we’ve already mentioned, carpenters can potentially earn excellent pay in many areas of the country and in industries as varied as electrical power generation, education, and film and television.
However, there’s another potential perk of becoming a carpenter. Carpenters typically learn their trade through apprenticeships, paid training positions that provide you with real-life, hands-on experience while you earn a wage. This can be an attractive reason to choose carpentry as a career over a four-year college degree that may create student debt.
4. There are opportunities for career advancement.
Nearly one-third of home tradespeople are within ten years of reaching the age of 62 (the social security retirement age), and the median ages of many skilled trade professionals are higher than in most industries. Combined with an overall labor shortage in construction, younger carpenters may be able to quickly climb the career ladder.
Construction is typically a merit-based industry. If you can prove your carpentry skills and value on job sites, you could be in line to fill a future job vacancy. If you choose carpentry as a career now, you can begin learning, developing, and mastering the skills necessary to become a foreman, site superintendent, or project manager in the coming decades.
5. The results of your labor are easy to see.
Carpenters and other tradespeople are in the unique position of seeing the results of their work in real-time. You get to witness a job site as it moves from a jumbled construction ‘mess’ to a finished space. These before-and-after transformations can be very satisfying to see.
A career in carpentry is also a chance to change lives. The work you do has a real impact on those who benefit from it. Whether you’re helping build a family home, a school, or a community center, lives may be changed in the building you worked on. Though you may only spend weeks on a project, that structure could stand for decades to come!
How to Become a Licensed Carpenter
If you’re ready to choose carpentry as a career, you should research the requirements in your area. Many states require professional carpenters to be licensed by the state or a local licensing authority, though some do not.
The process of becoming a licensed carpenter varies from state to state, but generally, you will need to:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Complete a carpentry apprenticeship under the guidance of a licensed carpenter
- Pass a carpentry test and other required exams
- Pass a background check
- Show proof of business insurance
These steps and others help ensure that your carpentry skills meet a minimum industry standard and that your clients and customers are protected.
Recommended reading: How to become a successful carpenter?
Choose Carpentry as a Career
Carpenters could be looking forward to strong job growth and potential for years to come. If you’re considering a career in the skilled trades, carpentry is an excellent option.
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