One of the requirements for someone to get accepted in the union as a carpenter apprentice is to have a high school education. But what if you’re still a high school senior, can you still be accepted?
In the US, a high school senior at the age of 17 or older can apply for a carpenter apprenticeship as long as the applicant can provide a letter from their school saying that he is qualified to graduate within three months. And depending on the union, the applicant may also be asked to submit written parental consent to take the program.
The subjects in high school that will be helpful for you to prepare for this job are construction, drafting, carpentry, woodworking, industrial arts, mechanical drawing, and blueprint reading. Since you can start and run your own contracting business after completing the carpenter apprenticeship program, subjects of accounting, business introduction and entrepreneurship are important.
You must also understand that anyone who is still a minor or in high school can only start working when he reaches 18 years old. It is the legal age requirement for someone to be able to make a living in this industry as the nature of the job of carpenter is classified as hazardous.
If you want to pursue this profession of being a carpenter and want to take the apprentice route, here are the prerequisites you need to have:
Carpenter Apprenticeship Application Requirements
Being an apprentice is great opportunity to make a decent living while learning the trade. But before you get accepted, there are some basic requirements you need to obtain, some of these are:
- The nature of the job of carpenter is physical as you can work outdoors and subject to unfavorable weather condition and this, therefore, calls for someone to have good stamina and physical strength. You may be required to undergo physical and medical tests.
- Having math skills is essentially required to be a carpenter as most of the time the job involves accurate measurements, calculate distance and measure quantities of materials needed. Math skills are also important to assess timelines, look-ahead schedules and project cost. If you have good knowledge of algebra, geometry, and statistic, it is a good start.
- Good grasp of the English language to be able to understand superior’s instructions while on the job and in training class. Having an understanding of English also ensures that you are able to communicate with fellow carpenters and other people in the field.
- The carpenter apprenticeship program is offered by employers and contractors through the sponsorship of the union or employment agency. You will be required to submit a referral letter from the sponsoring union or agency to a prospective employer.
- An aspiring applicant will also need to submit evidence of legal status to be able to get employment in the US as a carpenter apprentice.
How Long It Takes to Complete the Carpenter Apprenticeship Program?
To complete this program and gain the necessary credential as a skilled carpenter, you need to finish the three (3) to four (4) years apprenticeship, that is equivalent to 7,200 hours on on-the-job training and classroom lectures. The program is broken down into 4 terms with each consisting of 1,800 hours a year.
Completing the program will lay the foundation for your career as it is the very beginning to gain the theoretical knowledge and practical experience necessary to perform the work of a carpenter in the actual work environment. As a matter of fact, it is the point many people follow to enter into the construction industry – the sector badly in need of such talents.
Completing the apprenticeship program will give the advantage to progress in this career. You can be your own boss by putting up your own contracting business or receive a competitive wage by working for an employer.
How Much You Will Get Paid While in the Program?
Please take note that the carpenter apprenticeship program consists of classroom and practical training. And while you are in the classroom, you will not get paid during this time but once you completed the classroom instructions and ready for dispatch in the field, the sponsoring employer will pay you an average hourly wage of $20.00, but still the wage will depend on the location/city where you are working and with the sponsoring company.
The starting salary you get starts at 30 to 50 percent of the journeyman. Your earning change as you finish each year of the program. For example, if you are in your second or third year, your wage will be higher compared to when you were in the first year. If you completed the four-year program, you will earn the qualification of a journeyman or a skilled carpenter, that is when you begin making good money.
You will also enjoy health and retirement benefits as well while in the program.
How to Find a Carpenter Apprenticeship?
Unions and contractors are the places you can go to apply for an apprenticeship program. Here some of them:
- Northwest Carpenter's Institute of Washington
Kent - Phone: (253) 437-5235; Fax: (253) 437-5807
Renton - Phone: (425) 235-2465
Kennewick - Phone: (509) 783-4900; Fax: (509) 783-6249
Spokane - Phone: (509) 532-8833 | (800) 794-9526; Fax: (509) 532-8833
- Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.
440 1st St., N.W., Ste., 200, Washington, D.C.
Phone: (202) 595-1505
- Ohio Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Trust
Contact: Phone: 1-800-601-1800; Email:
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Have several office and training location across the country
Follow this link to see location in your respective state/province
Apprenticeship is also being offered by a community college in your area. One thing to remember, before you go out there and apply, please make sure to read their application requirements as these may differ from sponsor to sponsor.
To Make A Conclusion
If you are a high school senior and about to finish, you can be qualified to be a carpenter apprentice as long as you can produce a letter from the school qualifying you for the graduation. You may also need to submit written consent from your parents. That way the union can make a quick decision about your application to be an apprentice.
In this profession, it is a good advantage if you start at young age. Aside from the financial reward you get, it builds valuable work experience to pair with your resume and teaches you responsibility.
While, there are instances where young individuals will start out as a construction helper or as a carpenter assistant and elevate their career by taking a course or join the apprenticeship program. There are paths you can take to enter this profession.
We always wish you good luck on your journey!