Carpenter Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A carpenter is responsible for working with wood to build and repair structures and other items and they also may have to select and source appropriate materials depending on project needs. Their duties include calculating quotes, meeting with clients and creating design plans for remodeling projects.

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Carpenter duties and responsibilities

Carpenters can work in a range of different settings, but most jobs will include duties such as taking measurements, drawing up plans for proposed works, sourcing materials, preparing estimates and undertaking site visits. Carpenters do a variety of different jobs, but some of their duties might include:

  • Installing wooden structures such as roofing frames, rafters, partitions, joists and stud work
  • Designing and installing cabinets, shelving, fitted furniture, drywall and insulation
  • Adding fixtures and fittings such as door handles, locks, hinges and closures
  • Selecting lumber by size and strength to suit each job, sourcing wood to suit the customer’s budget and style
  • Calculating the number of fasteners required for each job
  • Liaising with clients, suppliers and other construction professionals
  • Reading blueprints and designs to work to specifications prepared by other construction professionals, architects and building code recommendations
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Carpenter Job Description Examples

What does a Carpenter do?

Carpenters are typically employed in domestic and commercial settings, on construction sites and in factories and workshops. Carpenters undertake a range of jobs including installing doors and windows, building furniture, designing and fitting kitchens and rebuilding roofs. They may also be responsible for negotiating with suppliers and working with other specialists on construction projects.

Carpenter skills and qualifications

A successful Carpenter candidate will need a combination of qualifications and practical experience including:

  • An associate degree or an apprenticeship in carpentry
  • Creativity and design skills
  • Experience of using hand and power tools such as drills, chisels, sanders, saws and nail guns
  • Joinery or cabinet-making skills
  • Knowledge of building regulations and codes to be adhered to

Carpenter salary expectations

A Carpenter makes an average salary of $21.52 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Carpenter training and education requirements

Carpenters usually need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Most Carpenters complete an apprenticeship program where they can get practical training and classroom instruction. Carpenters can also complete specific programs at technical schools and colleges or earn a carpentry diploma, certificate or associate degree. They need to have a working knowledge of building codes and regulations, and some Carpenters specialize in a particular aspect of carpentry and gain specific qualifications in that skill.

Carpenter experience requirements

A Carpenter who has gained certification will have completed a set number of hours of experience. Most Carpenters gain experience through a variety of jobs, from small domestic repair and installations to working on construction sites building timber-framed structures and so will be able to work in a variety of settings. Some Carpenters specialize in a specific area, such as joinery or laying wood flooring, so experience in a specialty may be required for certain jobs. 

Job description samples for similar positions

If you’re looking for a job description sample for another type of construction professional, then these similar roles may help you to find what you need to recruit a suitable candidate:

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Frequently asked questions about Carpenters

What is the difference between a Carpenter and an Architect?

The difference between a Carpenter and an Architect lies in seniority and scope of job duties. Architects typically design blueprints and choose materials for buildings and other structures. Carpenters work with Architects to actually build one or more parts and make their vision become a real structure. 

Who does a Carpenter report to?

Who a carpenter reports to depends on their place of employment. If they operate their own business, they may report to a contractor on a temporary basis or particular clients. In contrast, Carpenters working in full-time positions for a construction company may report to a Master Carpenter or Construction Manager. A Master Carpenter is someone with years of experience working as a Carpenter and related roles. They typically direct other carpenters and delegate tasks on job sites to other carpenters. Similarly, Construction Managers oversee the entire construction site. This means that they may coordinate carpenter tasks in addition to trades onsite.

What industries do Carpenters typically work in?

Carpenters typically work in the construction industry working for construction companies or contractors on commercial and residential properties. However, they can also work in the trade industry as sole-proprietors, using their craftsmanship to create detailed wooden structures. Further, they may work for the manufacturing or maritime industries to contribute to projects related to shipbuilding and product-making.

What is the difference between a Carpenter and a Joiner?

The difference between a Carpenter and a Joiner is that a Joiner typically completes woodwork in a workshop before transporting it to a construction site or retailer. In contrast, a Carpenter typically completes woodwork projects on a construction site. Further, Joiners usually make basic wood structures like doors and window frames whereas Carpenters can make basic structures but also go further to create intricate woodworking designs. 

Job Description Examples

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