The best thing about the trade is that you are doing a lot of things every single day although apprenticeship starts off not with the best wage but what’s good about being an apprentice is that you’re getting paid while you learn. Now, you may be asking how long does it take to complete the apprentice training in general carpentry to prepare for it, you have the same question as anyone else who wants to take this route.
It takes about three (3) to four (4) years to complete the apprenticeship training. The duration may also depend on the employers. The program consists of practical training in the field and lectures inside the classroom. But you will spend most of the time in the field working with qualified carpenters supervised by professionals to learn the trade.
Anyone can be an apprentice as long as you meet the requirements. You must be 18 years old at least, be physically fit and have a good attitude. You may be required to pass a substance abuse or alcohol test. A high school or a GED certificate will also be required.
The reward of being an apprentice is great. You will enjoy a high wage and benefits. You will become eligible to receive a good pension and have health insurance. And I absolutely sure that the best advantage you can get is a stable career in this field, you won’t run out of employment opportunities in the future as the demand for this trade is high and constantly growing.
What Is General Carpentry Anyway?
As a general carpenter, you are responsible for bringing for the architect’s drawings to reality. You will work in many aspects of the projects, from the foundations to the finishes. In order to do this, general carpentry skills are needed that includes concrete, roofing framing, trim, insulation, drywall, interior and exterior finishing, plan reading/interpretation, estimating and calculation, and in many other aspects. The general carpenter provides the technical skills on almost any type of infrastructure project.
To learn general carpentry, completion of apprenticeship training and skill advancement are required since carpentry continues to evolve as new techniques, methodologies and technologies are introduced in the industry, so you should too. Three to four years, just I said and that’s how long it takes to complete the apprenticeship program in general carpentry.
You can take apprenticeship and skill advancement training at the local union, guild or in the technical school and community college. Doing so will keep your knowledge current and will enable you to advance on the site to become a group leader, a foreman to a supervisor or perhaps, just like any other else is doing, to plan in setting up your own contracting firm. The possibilities are endless if you have practical training and skills in general carpentry.
How to Get Carpentry Apprenticeship?
To tell you my story how did I get into this profession, I got a little bit lucky that my dad is a builder and he’s already in the industry and had connections. He was managing a company and doing the hiring plumbers, electricians, laborers, carpenters, assistants and other trade workers. So, he asked me if I want to be one of his men and I said yes, I’ll try. I am lucky that I got that sort of entry into the business.
That was 20 years ago, and from then on, I honed and continuously developed my skills. I took several courses and had gone through apprenticeship programs. Now, I am managing my own contracting business just like him and I got regular clients mostly from referrals.
But say, you’re starting and you want to get into this profession, well, the easiest way to get into it is to start working as an assistant or as a helper. You’re not going to be an apprentice straight away unless you have some experience and the right attitude which you can get from having an initial job. Contractors and builders are hiring apprentices based on candidates’ attitudes first and foremost before they take you as their apprentice. They know, by experience that it takes a lot of character to become an apprentice, well basically, they just want to make sure you’re a good dude that has the right mindset for the job as a carpenter.
But let’s say you want to skip that process and you want to shorten the period of becoming an apprentice, you need to look for an employer or association that hires and trains apprentice right away or contact your state’s board on labor and employment and ask if there are openings for carpenter apprenticeship in their jurisdiction, you can also keep an eye on the local union’s apprenticeship program of which they frequently in search for beginners to become apprentices.
In some situation though, you have to go through first a pre-apprenticeship program that lasts for several weeks typically 10 weeks, that’s how long this apprenticeship program is before they can qualify you. The objective of this pre-apprenticeship training is to provide beginner carpenter with no experience the initial training and the sneak peek of what the job entails to learn the trade and enter the industry. A typical day in a pre-apprenticeship class is that you will spend a portion of the class hours in classroom lectures and most of the time in the workshop doing projects. Just like in regular school, you will do the usual assignments and take tests and quizzes.
Basic Qualifications to be an Apprentice
Just like an ordinary job application, you need to have the basic qualifications for the job. To apply for an apprenticeship is basically the same except you have specific qualification for the position. Here the basic requirement you need to have/be to become a carpenter apprentice:
- The very first requirement to be an apprentice is to have a high school diploma or a GED certification as its equivalent. If you’ve taken some carpentry training and woodworking class in high school, well, that’s an advantage.
- You need to be at least 18 years old. If you’re at the 40s above and wanting to be a carpenter, here’s a good article to read.
- It will also be helpful if you have math skills and computer skills to do basic survey and calculations and be able to interpret blueprints and technical drawings.
- You need to have good stamina and physical strength since the nature of the work is physically demanding, one must have this quality in order to stay on the job.
If you have what it takes to be a carpenter, apply to one or more apprenticeship programs in your area. The qualifications, requirements, and placement will depend on local need, wait for the feedback. Mostly, you can get a reply in just one week after applying.
Is Carpenter Apprenticeship Right for You?
Now, answer that question before you delve into it. Making a decision is the hardest part of getting into something. You need to have the best understanding of what you’re getting into. If you love working with woods and have the passion to create something from wood and don’t mind doing manual labor, there’s a good chance being a carpenter is the job right for you because at the end of the day the first you need to think of is something you’re passionate to do.
Being an apprentice is a great opportunity to make a living while learning carpentry. Since you will be working with professionals in the field, you learn while watching those experts. You will know how to get things done efficiently. There’s nothing more important than doing the job in actual.
The important skills you will learn inside the classroom are the proper use of manual and power tools, leveling, measuring, blueprint reading, safety, basic math, sketching, etc. You will get hands-on training too, doing structure design, interior, and exterior finishing, framing, and depending on the type of carpentry you’re taking, concreting and masonry may also be included.
Now, if you’re thinking how much you can make as a carpenter apprentice, well, when starting off as a beginner, you receive not the best wage. You typically start with a wage at 40 to 50 percent of a trained carpenter’s salary and expect to get a raise annually. But at the end of the program and you’ve earned the journeyman qualification, you can make more than what a typical carpenter’s pay.
To Make a Conclusion
To become a professional and qualified carpenter, you need to begin somewhere. If you chose to follow the route of apprenticeship, you need to spend time to finish the program. It takes about a maximum of 4 years, that’s how long to complete the apprenticeship training in general carpentry.
It is worth the effort, with such training and qualification, you’re setting yourself up for a career in the construction industry, the biggest sector that employs carpenters. If you ready to start your program, get in touch with a local union or guild in your area. Start being an apprentice, you won’t regret it.
We wish you good luck for the endeavor ahead in the future!