What Are Apprenticeships In Carpentry? (And How To Pursue)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Consider completing an apprenticeship if you are interested in a carpentry job. Apprenticeship programmes allow you to gain technical skills and industry knowledge while working and attending instructional classes. Learning more about a carpentry apprenticeship can help you decide if it is the correct path for your professional goals. In this article, we examine what a carpenter apprenticeship is and what it entails, along with the benefits it offers, duties and the average salary for apprentice carpenters.

What Are Apprenticeships In Carpentry?

Apprenticeships in carpentry are training programmes that assists aspiring carpenters in honing their technical skills early in their careers. Typically, these programmes can span around three to five years. Apprentice carpenters work under the direction of a senior or master carpenter during this time. The master carpenter provides on-the-job instruction and assistance during their apprenticeship.

An aspiring carpenter normally completes instruction hours or classroom training during an apprenticeship. They learn about safety procedures, building codes and construction materials through the course of this instruction. Apprenticeships can be beneficial if you want to become a licenced or certified carpenter and start your own business, as some qualifications need an apprenticeship or related job experience. Apprentices receive remuneration for their labour, so they can learn and practise carpentry while also earning an income.

Related: 16 Apprentice Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

What Do Carpenter Apprentices Do?

Carpenter apprentices work under the direction of master carpenters and help with carpentry tasks. They have various responsibilities on a routine basis, including:

  • Training under the supervision of a master carpenter

  • Attending courses and instructional classes

  • Cleaning up a site after completion of work

  • Handling carpentry equipment

  • Handing tools and materials to a carpenter to assist them

  • Keeping construction tools and materials in good condition

  • Understanding how to read a blueprint and fulfil required specifications

  • Observing and learning from professional carpenters on a job site

  • Asking questions during training to learn more about duties

  • Reading blueprints and developing small build plans under the guidance of a skilled carpenter

Related: What Is A Carpenter? And How To Become One

How To Pursue A Carpenter Apprenticeship

Consider the following steps if you are interested in completing a carpentry apprenticeship:

1. Complete high school or equivalent education

Completing your high school education or equivalent is the first step towards becoming an apprentice carpenter. Although most apprenticeship programmes require a high school certificate, some may accept students who are nearing the completion of their studies. For example, some apprenticeships accept seniors in their final semester of high school. Following graduation, these individuals can begin their apprenticeship.

Consider taking maths and drawing classes in high school to improve your carpentry skills. Woodworking and carpentry lessons are available at some schools. These classes assist students in honing their technical skills and gaining hands-on experience working with tools and wood. Examine the courses available at your school to learn vital career skills.

Related: High School Student Resume Examples And Tips

2. Gain professional experience

Many apprenticeships require prospective carpenters to have prior construction experience. You can try to get at least six months of experience assisting professionals at a construction site and gaining familiarity with construction materials. Consider looking for entry-level positions near you to obtain professional experience.

A programme may only accept apprentices who have relevant course training. You can meet the basic requirements if you complete a vocational course. Take into account any construction experience you have gained, including part-time or summer jobs, while you apply for an apprenticeship.

Related: Vocational Training: Definition, Types And Examples

3. Meet application requirements

You can review the requirements of a programme before applying, to make sure you meet them. Most apprenticeships require candidates to be 18 years old or older even though this varies based on the programme. Some may accept 17-year-old candidates with parental permission. Aside from education and experience, many apprenticeship programmes include other requirements that allow them to select individuals who can safely and successfully conduct carpentry work. It is vital for you to be at least 18 years old and possess the physical strength and stamina to lift and move big objects, among other qualifications.

Related: 8 Carpenter Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

4. Research apprenticeship options

After meeting the basic requirements, you can explore apprenticeship opportunities in your area. Consider asking carpenters or building specialists if they are aware of any local programmes. You can also look for job openings online or through a local union network. These resources can assist you in finding a master carpenter in need of an apprentice. Consider looking for local apprenticeships in a few different areas of carpentry to help you find a programme that fits your interests, abilities and long-term career ambitions.

Related: What Are Internships And How Do You Find One?

5. Apply for an apprenticeship

You can begin compiling the application materials once you discover an apprenticeship that interests you. This usually entails filling out a form and submitting the following documents:

  • Driver's licence copy or a copy of any other valid photo identification

  • Copy of high school diploma or equivalent education records

  • Resume

  • A letter of recommendation from a construction expert, tutor or manager

You can start working as an apprentice once a master apprentice accepts you into their programme.

Related: How To Write An Objective For A Carpentry Resume (With Tips)

Benefits of completing a carpenter apprenticeship

A carpenter apprenticeship could help you achieve specific career goals. Besides helping you prepare for your future profession, becoming an apprentice in this field can teach you the skills you require to succeed, such as industry language, how to use various tools, read blueprints and how to execute your tasks while adhering to safety standards and recommendations. The following are some advantages that an apprentice programme can offer:

  • Extensive job opportunities: Professionals who complete an apprenticeship can register as journeymen carpenters, which opens up more job opportunities. This may enable them to apply for more open positions.

  • Advanced skill training: An apprenticeship allows you to develop your skills while working on the job.

  • Improved job security: Carpentry is a vast subject with a variety of career opportunities, including commercial carpentry and cabinet carpentry. You may have an easier time finding work opportunities after completing an apprenticeship, which can boost your career stability.

  • Higher salary potential: Carpenters who have finished an apprenticeship may have specialised training and abilities that can help them in earning higher pay.

  • Combined training and work experience: Aspiring carpenters finish some form of training before they can work independently. You can finish your training requirements while earning a paycheck if you choose an apprenticeship.

Tips For Pursuing A Carpenter Apprenticeship

The following tips can help you prepare for pursuing a carpenter apprenticeship:

  • Review the requirements thoroughly. Since every apprenticeship programme may have slightly different requirements for applicants, it is critical to know what skills and qualifications you require for an apprenticeship. Consider compiling a list of all the documents, credentials and resources you need for an application to make sure you forget nothing.

  • Communicate with people in your network. Experienced carpenters and recent apprentices can assist you in learning more about being an apprentice and the specific measures that you can take to become one. Contact people in your network who are familiar with apprenticeship programmes or meet local carpenters who can provide further information.

  • Consider taking extra vocational classes. Vocational classes are an excellent approach to improving your skills and proving your commitment to becoming a carpenter to potential mentors and employers. You can take up several subjects apart from those that your high school provides and they are usually available at nearby vocational schools, colleges and community centres.

  • Pose questions to potential mentors. Once you find an apprenticeship programme that appeals to you, reach out to the carpenters who can serve as your mentors in the programme and ask them questions regarding the job tasks, work environment and expectations. By asking these questions to potential mentors, you can find out if a programme is a suitable fit for your professional aspirations.

  • Identify your career objectives. While becoming an apprentice is the first step toward becoming an independent carpenter, establishing your career goals is typically the most important part of preparing for the future of your career. During your interview with potential mentors, clearly describe how joining an apprenticeship programme can help you achieve those goals, as this can add value to your application.

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