So you’ve decided that the job you are doing right now is not the one you want. You want to change and now plan of becoming a carpenter.
Getting into this profession takes time and effort just like any other occupation. We all know that it takes knowledge to get a job.
To gain knowledge, you must complete a course – a prerequisite to learning the trade to land a job or advance your career.
Where will you take the course then? Fortunately, finding a training program isn’t as difficult as you think. You can easily find carpentry schools in Florida and enroll in their program.
To help you get started, we’ve made a list of the schools so that you can easily contact them and make an inquiry about requirements.
Here are the Schools You Can Keep in Touch With
- Florida Carpenters Regional Council
Local 702: 4000 Union Hall Place Jacksonville, Phone: 904-387-4471
Local 1809: 2860 NW 27th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Phone: 305-570-1929
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
4000 Union Hall Place, Jacksonville, Phone: (904) 388-3972
4700 Distribution Court, Orlando, Phone: (407) 384-1214
2840 NW 27th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Phone: (954) 739-9200
7930 US Highway 301 North, Tampa, Phone: (813) 988-3997
- Northeast Florida Builders Association Apprenticeship Program
6747 Southpoint Parkway, Jacksonville, FL 32216
- Florida Carpenters Training Program
Central Office, 2840 NW 27th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Phone: 954-739-9200
- Atlantic Technical College
1701 NW 23rd Ave. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Phone: 754-322-2800
1400 NW 44th Ave. Coconut Creek, Florida 33066, Phone: 754-321-5350
4700 Coconut Creek Parkway, Coconut Creek, Florida 33063, Phone: 754.321.5100
- Florida State College at Jacksonville
501 West State Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202
Main: (904) 646-2300 | Help Desk: (904) 632-3151
- ABC Institute
3730 Coconut Creek Pkwy, Suite 190, Coconut Creek, FL 33066
- Florida Training Services
8011 Monetary Drive, B-1 Riviera Beach, FL 33404
Phone: (877) 898-7246
- iBuild Central Florida
1831 South Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka, Fl.
- Pensacola State College
1000 College Blvd, Pensacola,
T: (850)484-1000, Toll Free (888)897-3605
- Manatee Technical College
MTC Main Campus, 6305 State Road 70 East, Bradenton, FL 34203
- The College of the Florida Keys
5901 College Road Key West FL 33040
- Santa Fe College
3000 NW 83rd Street, Gainesville, FL 32606
- Sheridan Technical College
20251 Stirling Road, Pembroke Pines, Florida 33332
- Florida Panhandle Technical College
757 Hoyt Street, Chipley, FL 32428
- Erwin Technical College
2010 E. Hillsborough Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33610
- Okaloosa Technical College
1976 Lewis Turner Boulevard, Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32547
Phone: 850-833-3500, Fax: 850-833-3466
- Marion Technical College
1014 SW 7th Rd, Ocala, FL 34471
- Seminole State College of Florida
100 Weldon Boulevard, Sanford, FL 32773
If you're looking for woodworking schools, here are your choices:
- Florida School of Woodwork
1609 N. Franklin Street, Tampa, Phone: 813-223-3490
- South Florida Woodworking School
5400 SW 196th Lane, Southwest Ranches, Mobile: (954) 787-6188
How to Choose the Best School
- Find a school that provides students with financial aid. Since taking the carpentry training program is expensive, it would be necessary to avail of this option to help you pay for the tuition. The Seminole State College of Florida provides students with financial aid.
- Find a school with a good curriculum that is in line with the current building codes and with extensive practical training. The curriculum should also incorporate Math since it is a foundation to learn the modern design and engineering of the present construction standards.
- To get the most out of your money, find a class that has OSHA safety training and NCCER training. Safety training is important as well as the NCCER training as it prepares you to pass the certification test if you would like to advance your career in the construction industry. Inquire with the school if they teach these topics.
- Look for a school that has modern training facilities and certified instructors. I think these are two of the factors that you should consider when looking for a carpentry school. If you want to be assured that you’re enrolling in the right institution, you can personally visit the school to see first-hand their facilities and inquire about their instructor’s qualifications.
- It is important also to look for a school that has a small class size in order to get the attention and focus of the instructor. In a small class, you can do this; but in large and crowded classes, you may have a hard time getting plenty of time with the instructor.
- Is the carpentry school you are considering accredited? If you really want to know this, again, visit the school, and inquire about their accreditation. If the school has a good reputation, employers want to source talents from this institution – that’s you.
- Find a school that will help you find a job. What I like about the school is that they can place or refer you to an employer or contractor for possible employment. So before you make a decision, make sure that you’re enrolling in a school that will help you find a job since they have connections in the industry.
Which School Would You Choose – A trade school, a College/University, or a Union
If you will be choosing between a college and a trade school, well, you would find the cost and training duration are the factors that set one apart. The typical advantage of getting into a trade school is that you can finish the carpentry program in just a short span of time (a few weeks perhaps) while in a college it may take a longer time.
And time dictates the cost or tuition. If you are just needing a basic level of carpentry, you may find the trade school is the more viable option. On the other hand, if you want to get more serious and get a degree, the college/university is where you have to go to.
Trade school is specialized in giving hands-on practice to students while the college is focused more on theoretical concepts.
If you want to get your hands dirty and spend much time in the field, being a union carpenter is the choice to take. The union is specialized in the trade. You are assured of acquiring the field experience and practical skills to work as a professional carpenter if you get into a union.
If you’ve finished the apprenticeship program, you have the best competitive advantage over the candidates. Aside from that, you can expect much better pay.
What are the Requirements to be on this Trade?
- Since the nature of the job is physically demanding, you must have the ability to work outdoors and be in good physical and health conditions.
- If you have a history of substance abuse or conviction, you might have a hard time getting employed as a carpenter; with that being said, it would be necessary to assess your personal history before taking this course.
- You will need to have good knowledge of modern construction and engineering concepts that’s why getting an education is important prior to gaining employment and advancing your career – this is where the school comes in; they will supply you with that.
- You must be at least 18 years old; must have a valid Florida state driver’s license; must have a high school diploma or GED certificate as its equivalent.
- A document stating legal status in the US, only applied if you’re not a citizen.
How to Become a Carpenter in Florida
- Most people I know started as a helper carpenter. They started from the ground up. But there is a better way of gaining the experience – that’s enrolling in a trade school. What I like about going to a trade school is that in just a few weeks or so, you get the chance to complete a training program as a first step in gaining employment or advancing your career. You may expend some investment through this means. The other good side of a trade school is that they can refer you to a hiring contractor for possible entry-level employment.
Trade schools are where contractors source their talents. It is easy to get an entry-level job when you graduated from a trade school. Please see the above list of schools for your reference.
- The second option you can take is to apply for a carpenter apprenticeship program that usually takes about 3 years to complete. You can enroll in the local union nearest your location and see if the registration is open; while community college may also offer an apprenticeship to aspiring students. There are also requirements you need to submit, better check with the school what are those. What I like about becoming an apprentice is that you learn the trade while you earn a living and you get exposed to fieldwork giving you first-hand experience to hone your skills.
The Florida Carpenters Regional Council and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America have continuous applications for this program. Aspiring students are required to register, for more information, please contact them at the details stated above.
- If you already have 3-5 years of experience, you can apply for a contractor’s license. If this is the path you want to pursue, you will need written recommendations from three (3) referrals which is usually a contractor from the same state. You will also need to pass also a test of your chosen specialization (e.g: general, residential, or as a building contractor).
If you would like to be a contractor in Florida, there are two classifications you can choose – that’s either “registered” or “certified”. If you choose to be registered, you only can take work in a specific local or area, on the other hand, if you’re certified, you can take work anywhere in the state.
These two license classifications have their own respective application requirement, generally, you need to pass the exam, proof of 4 years of experience, a credit report, background check, fingerprint, and insurance. For more about the application, follow this page.
Florida Carpenters Union Wages
When you become an apprentice, please do expect that you won’t get the same wage as a journeyman but rather you get started at 60% of their wage. Expect to receive benefits as well such as medical.
Each year, you will have to complete 600 hours of classroom training and at least 1,300 hours of field experience in order to step up. As you go along and finish the year, your wage and benefits increase as well.
Being an apprentice is the popular route most carpenters do when they’re starting their careers. If this is what you prefer to follow, please contact the nearest union in your local.
What Kind of Carpenter Do You Want to Be?
Just like any other trade, you can choose a specialty. There are many different types of carpenters but the most common specializations you can get into are these: finish trim, rough framing, cabinet making, windows, flooring, or roofing.
Will the carpentry school teach you the generic program or the specialized one? That is up to the program you are taking. The school may offer several of these subjects in its curriculum or just one.
If you want to work in the construction industry, you will an NCCER certification. Getting this credential involves passing certification exams. Having this gives you the potential to work as a carpenter in the construction setting.
How Much Salary You Can Make When Working in the State of Florida
If you are planning to work as a carpenter in Florida, you may be asking how much carpenters make in this state. According to the latest July 25, 2023 report of Salary.com, the average salary is $58,643. The salary ranges between $50,677 and $67,903 depending on skills and some other factors. In Alabama, the neighboring state, the salary is a little bit lower.
But since the salary is affected by several factors, it ranges between $46,454 and $61,994. The factors that come into play that influence how much you would get are experience, the city where you are working in Florida, certifications and other applicable skills.
Carpenters are in high demand in the state of Florida as there is a shortage for this type of trade – that’s where you can capitalize. You just need basic knowledge and you can land an entry-level job. From there, you can climb the ladder and become a foreman, or a supervisor and establish your own business as a contractor.
The Bottom Line
Pursuing a career takes time and effort to prepare. If being a carpenter appeals to you, then you must know that you need to complete a training program.
You don’t need a lot of time because the course can be completed in just a short period. Glad, the trade schools and colleges/universities in your area offer such a program.
So if you are really decided that this job is the one you want to pursue and do, start finding carpentry schools in Florida.
We wish you good luck on the path you’ve chosen.