Carpenters construct, erect, install, maintain and repair structures and components of structures made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel and other materials.
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People in this occupation:
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 5,820
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.
Source: 2016 Census
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.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Visit our trades training page at www.workbc.ca/trades to learn about apprenticeship and trades training in B.C.
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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.
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.