If you want to work in the US as a carpenter if you’re from another country such as the UK or Australia, there are two (2) route you can pursue.
You can either be an employee of a contracting company or put up your own contracting firm offering carpentry services. These are two different paths you can take and depend on what you choose, the requirements will differ.
If you want to be an employee, there are not many requirements to be as a carpenter in the US but you need to have the skills and talent of a journeyman. While others may say that a “journeyman” is someone who completed a union apprenticeship program who spend years being an apprentice but here, in this sentence, I refer to him as an individual who is a skilled carpenter.
For work legality, in terms of visa application, I am not sure what do you need to submit to apply for a work visa.
In the US, the average salary of carpenter $55,150 on average per year but it ranges between $47,624 and $63,560. This figure is based on July 30, 2019 of Salary.com.
If you’re wondering what are the best-paying states in the US where you can work as a carpenter, well, here are the top ten (10) states: Illinois, Missouri, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Alaska, Wyoming, Pennsylvania.
What Type of Carpenter You Want to Be?
Do you want to be a finish, rough, trim or a ship’s carpenter, a roofer or a joiner, a framer or a cabinet maker? Just like any other trades, there is a specialization and depending on the skill you’ve acquired, you can be specialized in one or more areas.
- A finish carpenter, as its name implies, is someone who does the final or finishing touches on the interior of the house or structure after it had been fully constructed. They give the house its aesthetic appeal by handling the decorative sections of the project such the trim, cabinet, wood flooring, stairs, etc.
- The work of the rough carpenter starts on the first day of the project because they are ones who build rough wooden structures such as wooden scaffolds, concrete forms, temporary frames, metal supports; you will need to study the blueprints and drawings to determine if these comply with building codes.
- Trim carpenter may be classified as a finish carpenter. They are skilled at repairing or installing trim or molding to produce fine appearance and texture to give the interior a polished look.
- A roofer is someone who works in the commercial or residential project who specialized in the construction of the roof, they’re mostly working on the trusses, rafters, beams. If you’re not afraid of heights, you can work as a roofer. They work in houses or commercial structures to build and maintain roofs, install insulation, inspect the damage to do a cost estimate for repair or do soundproofing of the structure.
- A joiner is a craftsman who specialized in “joining” of wood to produce decorative pieces of furniture. A joiner makes doors, window frames, fitted furniture, or staircases in a workshop off-site. A skilled joiner is usually compared to a cabinet maker because they have the same skillset as they both product decorative pieces of art out of wood.
- A cabinet maker, as the name says, is an artisan who makes built-in cabinets and other crafts that require fine woodworking. They design and shape and assemble wood components into a finished product. They make high-quality furniture for houses, boats, planes, and office buildings.
Carpenters are Very Much in Demand
Builders and contractors across the country are always in continuous search for skilled carpenters to cope with the demand of the project but they are having difficult times finding talents. The growing demand is due to the recovery of the housing sector.
The job market in the US for carpenters is in continuously high in fact carpenters make up the largest building trades occupation and this continues until the next coming years. The construction of new residential projects, hotels, commercial buildings, factories, and other infrastructures is expected to contribute to the further demand growth of this occupation.
The shortage of carpenters is also attributed to switching of job. Many who have been in this trade have now changed career. What does this mean to you? There will be a better chance for you to work in the US as a carpenter if you are from another country, and now is the time to make a decision.
If You Want to Work in the US as a Contractor, Requirements Vary by State
On the other hand, if you want to start a contracting business, make sure you have the proper license. If you plan to operate in the state of Nevada where I am, a contractor’s license is required and you cannot do other services such as plumbing or HVAC. Being a contractor has a lot of benefits and the most obvious one is higher earning potential.
If you want to put up a contractor business, consider also the legal requirements of the state where you want to come over to since they differ by state.
Should you get carpentry contractor’s License? Please do remember that if you get a carpenter license, you are not legally able to offer other work such as maintenance, repair, painting, tiling or other services that are not under the scope you contractor license; you are allowed to perform these work only if you have a general contractor’s license for each trade/service you want to do.
To Make a Conclusion
Once you have the skills and experience to be a carpenter, going to the US is much easier because this country is in dire need of trade like this. The carpenter trade is in the skills shortlist which means anyone who wants to apply for a work visa is easier to get approved.