Carpenters (NOC 7271)

About this job

Carpenters construct, erect, install, maintain and repair structures and components of structures made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel and other materials.

See what a day in the life of this job is like—watch WorkBC’s Career Trek video about this occupation.

Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

People in this occupation:

  • are employed by construction companies, carpentry contractors and maintenance departments of factories, plants and other establishments
  • may be self-employed
  • must be able to work precisely and solve mathematical problems accurately and efficiently
  • must have good observation skills, as well as the ability to handle multiple tasks
  • should be able to work well within a team
Common job titles
  • carpenter, boat
  • carpenter, bridge
  • carpenter, construction
  • carpenter, rough
  • carpenter, sign
  • carpenter, stage / studio
  • carpenter, boat
  • carpenter, bridge
  • carpenter, construction
  • carpenter, finish / interior finish
  • carpenter, floor / access floor specialist
  • carpenter, form / concrete form builder

Earnings

Annual provincial median salary

$53,183

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report

Duties

Carpenters: 

  • read and interpret blueprints, drawings and sketches to determine specifications and calculate requirements
  • prepare layouts conforming to building codes, using measuring tools
  • measure, cut, shape, assemble and join materials made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel and other materials
  • build foundations, install floor beams, lay sub-flooring and erect walls and roof systems
  • fit and install trim items, such as doors, stairs, moulding and hardware
  • maintain, repair and renovate residences and wooden structures in mills, mines, hospitals, industrial plants and other establishments
  • supervise apprentices and other construction workers
  • may prepare cost estimates for clients

Work environment

Carpenters typically work 40 hours per week, but may have to work longer hours to complete projects on time. Work may also be seasonal in nature. Construction activity is limited in the winter outside of the Mainland/Southwest and Vancouver Island/Coast regions. As a result, carpenters in these regions may work longer hours during the summer. Options for work during winter months in these regions may also be limited.

Carpenters work alone or in teams. The work environment can be indoors and outdoors, and is often noisy and dirty.

Carpenters must take appropriate safety precautions when lifting materials, working from heights and working with equipment and tools.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

Completion of secondary school is usually required. Completion of a four-year apprenticeship program (or a combination of more than four years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses) is required to be eligible for trade certification, although it is not required to work as a carpenter in B.C. For more information, please see the Industry Training Authority website at www.itabc.ca.

The carpenter apprenticeship requires a combination of work experience and class time instruction. The classroom educational training typically takes place over four six-week periods, but part-time and distance education may be available. Apprenticeships can be started in secondary school, through entry-level training at colleges and technical institutes, or by direct entry, where workers find a sponsor employer who is willing to participate in the program.

Interprovincial Red Seal certification, is available to qualified carpenters through the Industry Training Authority. For more detailed information, contact the provincial regulator. A list of provincial regulators can be found at http://www.jtst.gov.bc.ca/labourmobility/docs/AIT_OccupationsRegulators.pdf

Workers with 7,500 hours of documented directly related work experience can challenge the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Entry-level training programs in carpentry, which generally range from four to 10 months, are also available. These programs are designed to introduce students to the carpentry trade. People completing these programs typically start in entry-level carpentry/construction positions.

Skills

  • Numerical Ability
  • Object-Oriented
  • Spatial Perception
  • Motor Coordination
  • Manual Dexterity
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Carpentry/Joinery
  • Construction - Other (Commercial/Residential)
  • Fine Woodworking/Furniture Related

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Trades training resources

Visit our trades training page at www.workbc.ca/trades to learn about apprenticeship and trades training in B.C.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Cariboo
Employment in 2016:
1,150
Average annual employment growth:
0.9%
Expected number of job openings:
420
Kootenay
Employment in 2016:
1,920
Average annual employment growth:
0.4%
Expected number of job openings:
520
Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
16,360
Average annual employment growth:
0.4%
Expected number of job openings:
4,410
North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
780
Average annual employment growth:
0.0%
Expected number of job openings:
180
Northeast
Employment in 2016:
660
Average annual employment growth:
1.9%
Expected number of job openings:
330
Thompson-Okanagan
Employment in 2016:
3,880
Average annual employment growth:
2.1%
Expected number of job openings:
1,920
Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
6,770
Average annual employment growth:
1.1%
Expected number of job openings:
2,480

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Insights from industry

Future demand for workers will depend on growth in the Construction industry. Slowing growth in residential construction will likely have a considerable effect on future employment job opportunities, as more carpenters work in this area.

Experienced and/or certified carpenters will likely have an advantage in finding work.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

People typically begin in this occupation by working as carpenter apprentices or as construction labourers.

With experience and additional training, carpenters can move into supervisory positions, such as foreman or construction superintendent. They may also become self-employed and work as contractors or subcontractors.

Additional resources