Carpenter Career

Job Description: Construct, erect, install, or repair structures and fixtures made of wood and comparable materials, such as concrete forms; building frameworks, including partitions, joists, studding, and rafters; and wood stairways, window and door frames, and hardwood floors. May also install cabinets, siding, drywall, and batt or roll insulation. Includes brattice builders who build doors or brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in underground passageways.


Is Carpenter the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

What Carpenters do:

  • Follow established safety rules and regulations and maintain a safe and clean environment.
  • Verify trueness of structure, using plumb bob and level.
  • Measure and mark cutting lines on materials, using a ruler, pencil, chalk, and marking gauge.
  • Install structures or fixtures, such as windows, frames, floorings, trim, or hardware, using carpenters' hand or power tools.
  • Erect scaffolding or ladders for assembling structures above ground level.
  • Study specifications in blueprints, sketches, or building plans to prepare project layout and determine dimensions and materials required.
  • Anchor and brace forms and other structures in place, using nails, bolts, anchor rods, steel cables, planks, wedges, and timbers.
  • Shape or cut materials to specified measurements, using hand tools, machines, or power saws.
  • Remove damaged or defective parts or sections of structures and repair or replace, using hand tools.
  • Bore boltholes in timber, masonry or concrete walls, using power drill.
  • Select and order lumber or other required materials.
  • Install rough door and window frames, subflooring, fixtures, or temporary supports in structures undergoing construction or repair.
  • Build or repair cabinets, doors, frameworks, floors, or other wooden fixtures used in buildings, using woodworking machines, carpenter's hand tools, or power tools.
  • Assemble and fasten materials to make frameworks or props, using hand tools and wood screws, nails, dowel pins, or glue.
  • Inspect ceiling or floor tile, wall coverings, siding, glass, or woodwork to detect broken or damaged structures.
  • Finish surfaces of woodwork or wallboard in houses or buildings, using paint, hand tools, or paneling.
  • Maintain records, document actions, and present written progress reports.
  • Apply shock-absorbing, sound-deadening, or decorative paneling to ceilings or walls.
  • Arrange for subcontractors to deal with special areas, such as heating or electrical wiring work.
  • Perform minor plumbing, welding, or concrete mixing work.
  • Examine structural timbers and supports to detect decay, and replace timbers as required, using hand tools, nuts, and bolts.
  • Fill cracks or other defects in plaster or plasterboard and sand patch, using patching plaster, trowel, and sanding tool.
  • Maintain job records and schedule work crew.
  • Cover subfloors with building paper to keep out moisture and lay hardwood, parquet, or wood-strip-block floors by nailing floors to subfloor or cementing them to mastic or asphalt base.
  • Construct forms or chutes for pouring concrete.
  • Prepare cost estimates for clients or employers.
  • Work with or remove hazardous material.
  • Dig or direct digging of post holes and set poles to support structures.
  • Build sleds from logs and timbers for use in hauling camp buildings and machinery through wooded areas.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Holland Code Chart for a Carpenter