Although it may be viewed as “nontraditional”, there are women in this male-dominated field. Even before in the earlier times, women have always been involved in building trades by assisting their husbands and/or fathers.
If you’re a woman you can definitely become a carpenter if it is really the passion you want to pursue.
It is a satisfying job that you can keep because carpenters are always in demand no matter what season it might be.
The skills needed to take some time to acquire. You have to get your hands dirty. Most carpenters earned the experience by being an apprentice or join a union – the most popular way to get into.
While others, enroll in a certificate or degree program offered by a trade school or community college.
Read on to find out more about becoming a female carpenter.
Is it hard to become a female carpenter?
The reason why there are few women carpenters is that they are not aware that it is an opportunity open for them. They do not know that they can be carpenters.
Whether you are choosing to be a carpenter as your first employment or you are deciding on switching careers, or just wondering what to do next, surely you have asked yourself “Is it hard to be a female carpenter?
To ease your apprehension and to give you an idea, you must first know what it takes to be a carpenter. “As a female, will my requirements be different?”, you might ask. You would be happy to know that no, there is no difference between the requirements of the males or brothers in the trade and females who wish to enter this evergreen trade.
First, you will have to start as an apprentice and complete an apprenticeship program. You can become an apprentice even if you have no prior related work experience and no credentials but are good with basic math, of good health (this work is laborious and backbreaking), okay with working outdoors, completed high school or earned your GED, and most importantly, the willingness to learn the skills and trade. Most apprenticeship programs are operated by large employers, unions, or trade organizations. You may inquire about apprenticeship programs in your area by contacting your state’s board of labor or industry.
Other ways to learn skills to be a carpenter:
- Attend carpentry classes offered in your local technical school or community college.
- Gain skills and experience by working as a laborer or carpenter assistant.
- Become an Apprentice
Also, keep in mind that having the right attitude combined with an eagerness to learn makes you more valuable and a prime candidate.
How much does a carpenter get paid?
Being a carpenter is very rewarding work. It can be personally fulfilling and at the same time financially rewarding. Depending on some considerations, a carpenter can usually make $60,000.00 a year. You can say that in this industry, the pay is great. According to this article, “As of November 2020, the average annual pay for a Female Carpenter in the United States is $45,394 a year.” To break it down for you, that is roughly $21.82 per hour, $873 a week or $ 3,783 a month. This is the data published as of November 15, 2020.
Presently, the annual salary range of most female carpenters across the United States is $29,500 (25th percentile) to $49,000 (75th percentile) with top earners making up to $60,500 (90th percentile). In 2017, the average annual salary for construction workers in the United States according to the BLS or Bureau of Labor Statistics was $38,890.
Currently, nearly 700,000 carpenters work in the United States according to BLS. The BLS projects that the industry will see 6% growth between 2014 and 2024. The great difference in the average pay range of a female carpenter encourages many opportunities for better pay and development based on years on the following: experience, skill level, job title, and location.
An overview of carpenter’s pay based on experience level:
- Entry-level (less than 1 year of experience) - $15.44 (including tips, overtime pay, and bonus)
- Early career (1-4 years of experience) - $17.85
- Mid-career (5-9 years of experience) - $20.18
- Experienced (10-19 years of experience) - $25.00
Here are some skills that are popular for carpenters and their average hourly rate:
- Blueprints - $22
- Siding Installation - $20
- Flooring Installation - $20
- Cabinetry Installation - $21
- Window or Door Installation - $20
Here is a list of average salary by industry sector (annual):
- Residential Building Construction - $45,420
- Nonresidential Building Construction - $52,670
- Building Finish Contractors - $50,370
- Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors - $45,090
- Other Specialty Trade Contractors $51,070
Some Stories of Women Who Became Successful in this Job
- Sinade Caroll shifted from nursing to construction. She quit nursing school and enrolled in NEW’s (Nontraditional Employment for Women) eight-week apprenticeship program and then joined New York City District Council Carpenters Union where she landed a full-time, paid job as a construction worker within two weeks.
- Maria Klemperer-Johnson, a master carpenter and contractor, is one of the few females in the trade working to increase the numbers of women carpenters. She offers classes contracting company she founded.
If you want to get into this field, there are support groups that can help you start. Like for example, technical opportunities programs are offered by Chicago Women in Trades to aid women in understanding basic construction skills which you can use to get an apprenticeship in the trade of your choice. Although you will only receive a minimal hourly salary during the apprenticeship, you will be recognized as a union member. The other support you can get into is the Sisters in the Brotherhood, it’s under the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
If you want to start, there are two ways you can do it – either take the training program offered by a community college/trade school or join a union.
How to take the training at a trade school or community college?
Although most carpenters acquire their skills from on-the-job training by becoming an apprentice, completing a carpentry program and working under a seasoned carpenter will aid you in learning all the skills, tips, and tricks you need to know about the profession.
Another way to get into this career is by enrolling in the short certificate or degree program offered by many trade or vocational schools and community colleges.
The enrollment requirements will vary from school to school. If you decided to take this path, we really recommend enrolling in the nearest school in your area so that attending the classes won’t be a hassle. We have the directory of training schools by state, just the state where you’re located in the menu or visit this page.
Yes, You Can Take the Training Online
Nowadays, there are even online trade schools that offer such programs. These are very helpful in preparing aspiring individuals in becoming carpenters. Training programs and classroom instructions will include the following lessons and subjects:
- First aid
- Lessons in safety
- Various carpentry techniques
- Blueprint reading
- Hand tool selection, care, and use
- Architectural drawing
- Machine woodworking
- Identification and measurement of materials
- Project management and estimating
- Principles and procedures in residential construction
- Building code requirements
- Framing and finishing
- Building technology
- Roofing systems
- Interior and exterior finishing
- Door and window layout and construction
Surprisingly, there are now plenty of online carpentry courses and they are available to anyone. If you are a high school graduate or have worked as a carpenter for years, you would be happy to know that you can take these classes.
Here are some of the most popular online trade schools offering programs in carpentry:
- Ed2go (https://www.ed2go.com/)
- Ashworth College (https://www.ashworthcollege.edu/career-diplomas/carpentry/)
- Penn Foster Career School (https://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/construction-and-maintenance/construction-trades-career-diploma)
Woodworking is an excellent gateway if you are interested in going after a career in carpentry. If woodworking is not available in your school, you will definitely find a school that offers it in your area. A sure way to locate one is by consulting your phonebook for community colleges, local schools, and recreation centers that conduct classes in woodworking.
To Conclude This
From the discovery of evidence of its early existence up until now, carpentry has proven to be an essential and ever-evolving skill trade. Because of this, it has retained its relevance and is ever-enduring through time.
Carpentry is a skilled trade that is always in demand, many women get attracted to it not only because of the satisfaction the job gives but also of the monetary reward. There will be a place and opportunity for you in this field as we also see an increase in demand for carpenters and there are not enough employees to fill the demand.