Attending a trade school is perhaps the best route to take if you would like to be a carpenter in Michigan in a short period of time.
Their programs take less time to complete but provide you with the practical skills and knowledge to get you on the job quickly – how nice is that?
But going to the trade school is not the only path you can take to pursue a career in carpentry. You can be an apprentice as well.
Attending a trade school can be completed in a month while completing an apprenticeship program takes a longer amount of time. Both paths give you the opportunity to get into the job.
And to help you on this journey, we have made this short article to get you started. Below is the list of schools and institutions that offer apprenticeship programs.
Browse through it, and find the one that suits your requirement.
If you’re looking for a trade school, here are your choices:
- Grand Rapids Community College
143 Bostwick Avenue NE, Grand Rapids MI 49503-3295
- Greater Michigan Construction Academy
7730 W Wackerly St, Midland, MI 48642
- Northern Michigan's Carpentry Technology program
1701 E. Front St., Traverse City, MI
231-995-1000, 855-FIND NMC
- Detroit Training Institute of Technology
14701 Harper Ave, Detroit, Michigan 48224
Phone: (313) 527-9740, Fax: (313) 527-9718
- Lapeer County Intermediate School District
1996 W. Oregon Street, Lapeer, MI48446
- Lansing Community College
411 N. Grand Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933
- Macomb Community College
14500 E. 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088
866.Macomb1 - Toll Free, 586.445.7999 - Local
- Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District
4041 East Mannsiding Road, Clare, MI 48617
- Detroit at Work
Also offers other construction trade jobs training
- Jackson Area Career Center
800 Browns Lake Road, Jackson, MI 49201
- West Shore ESD
2130 West US-10 Ludington, MI 49431
Here are the institutions that offer apprenticeship program:
- Southeast Michigan Construction Academy
31800 Sherman Ave Madison Heights, MI 48071
- Michigan Statewide Carpenters & Millwrights Apprenticeship
1401 Farrow St., Ferndale, MI 48220
Phone: (248) 541-2740
- Northern Michigan's Carpentry Technology program
11155 Beardslee Road, Perry, Michigan 48872, (517) 625-4919
5555 Cogswell Road, Wayne, MI 48184, (734) 729-7005
W-8008 South US 2, Iron Mountain, MI 49801, (906) 774-5703
211 Hilltop Road, St Joseph, Michigan 49085, (517) 625-4919
- Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (Hammer9)
Detroit Carpenters Apprenticeship School, 1401 Farrow, Ferndale, MI 48220, 248-541-2740, (Locals 687, 1045, 1234: 313-832-3887)
Fennville Training Facility, 4880 126th Ave., P.O. Box 670, Fennville, MI 49408, 269-561-8115, (Locals 100, 525, 1102: 616-837-1500)
Grayling Training Facility, 2410 Industrial Dr., Grayling, MI 49738, 989-348-8542, (Local 202: 231-932-8946)
Mason Training Facility, 681 Dart Rd., Mason, MI 48854, 517-676-4101, (Local 1004: 517-484-1303),
Saginaw/Flint Training Facility, Buena Vista Commerce Centre Industrial Park, 3160 Commerce Centre Dr., Saginaw, MI 48601, 989-755-5856, (Local 706: 989-753-1487)
Points to Consider When Choosing the Best Carpentry School
- The school curriculum of the carpentry program should be comprehensive enough to ensure that graduates are getting the right training and hands-on experience. The number of classes and hours devoted to classroom lectures should be balanced with the hands-on training through carpentry workshops. So, if the curriculum offers more lectures and discussions, well, it is best if you can find a school that offer more carpentry hands-on. Only through experience that a student will be able to master his or her craft than sitting for long hours talking about the theories of wood.
- School and miscellaneous fees are important to look into as well. However, it does not follow that schools with the lowest fees offer the best curriculum and carpentry training. It also does not follow that expensive school fees equate to a good carpentry curriculum and teaching. Choose the school that offers reasonable fees for services that give you your money’s worth. Hence, reasonable carpentry workshop fees for many hours of hands-on training is justifiable as compared to schools that offer lesser fees yet provide fewer workshop hours.
- Choose a school that offers financial assistance. Student grants or loans are good to help augment your carpentry school expenses. Tuition can be a little expensive and grants or loans will be a big help. Make sure you read through the agreement first before signing any loans.
- Choose a school that has a smaller class size. Smaller classes make it difficult for students to be left behind. It is a fact that students have different learning curves or abilities. Hence, some tend to lean faster than others. So, fewer students in the class will ensure that learners or students are learning all the necessary carpentry skills before they move to the next year's level.
- Find a school with modern training facilities and a current training curriculum. Personally visit the school you prefer, observe the surrounding, see how the students are doing, and ask about the course curriculum of the course you want to take. Paying a visit will certainly give you the decision if the school is good or not.
- Find a school that offers job placement or possible apprenticeship. The school has connections with the hiring managers and contractors in the industry, they can surely refer to one of their connections for possible job placement or apprenticeship.
Now that you know what you should look for, how about those you should avoid? For sure, there are red flags to help you decide that the carpentry school is not the best for you. Here are some tips.
- Do not choose a carpentry school that offers you everything. Overpromising on what they can offer just to lure you in is not good. Hence, it is best if you can find time to go through the school’s curriculum, school fees, facilities, and other important details mentioned above.
- Do not choose a school with a bad reputation. You will be amazed by what information you will be able to find online. You can also join online forums to know more about the school, ask people within your network what do they think about the school and its curriculum, and many others. Good research will help you land a good decision.
- Do not choose a school with bad standing in the industry. Your school’s reputation in the industry can affect your chances of landing a good job or employment. As a student of carpentry, you can benefit from graduating from a school with a good reputation and connections as it would allow your school to offer job or career placement even before graduation.
- Do not choose a school that is not certified or accredited. A trade school without proper certifications is a school with most probably has unqualified instructors. So, how would you expect to learn good carpentry skills from instructions with unqualified credentials? Of course, you can expect to learn sub-standard carpentry skills. It goes without saying, right?
- Do not choose a school with unclear school fees. It is a fact that school fees can be expensive, but it is even more nerve-wracking if the school has hidden miscellaneous fees that are more expensive than your regular school fees. So, it is best to scrutinize how much you will be spending in the carpentry program until you graduate.
- Do not choose a school that offers no support system to its students and graduates. The main goal for studying carpentry is for you to learn ample skills that you could use to build a career later on. Hence, enough support to ensure that you finish the program and land a good job are valuable. Support like financial aid or loans, job fairs or job placement, and open support system to resolve inquiries, questions, or concerns, and many others.
- Do not choose a school that offers an unbalanced curriculum. As previously mentioned, carpentry students learn best through hands-on sessions. Of course, there is no discounting the fact that classroom lectures and discussions are good and important, but carpentry workshops hone the skills of carpentry students better.
Tuition and Duration of the Program
Enrolling in the program of a trade school is quite simple, right now, you can just visit their website and submit an online application. But if you have more inquiries, contacting them is I think the best approach.
If you will be enrolling in a training program or course offered by a trade school, please expect to spend an average amount of $4,000, well some factors also come into play affecting how much you would pay.
The program usually lasts for around 10 months which is sufficient enough to learn the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed for the job.
On the other hand, if the path, you would like to take is through an apprenticeship, the program length is typically about 4 years.
If you would like to know how to become a carpenter apprentice in the state of Michigan, please see below.
How to Become a Carpenter in Michigan
It is to note, however, to develop skills in carpentry does not happen overnight. It takes years of practice and hands-on before you can properly hone your carpentry. Here are the possible ways to get into the industry:
- Enroll in the carpentry program of trade schools. The community college in your area may offer programs on carpentry that you can take or enroll. Enrolling in the program will provide you with enough knowledge and hands-on training, which are the first steps in building your carpentry career. However, you need to check the curriculum for balanced classroom discussions and hands-on carpentry training. Having theoretical knowledge alone will not make you a skilled carpenter. You need to learn through hands-on exercises or carpentry workshops. If you’re looking for a school, see the above list.
- Become an apprentice. As many would say, practice makes perfect and there is no other way to hone your skills to become an apprentice. The carpentry skills you learned at the trade schools may not be enough to really hone your carpentry. There is no discounting the training that you will get from the carpentry schools, but the practical skills and techniques you will learn from a seasoned carpenter are invaluable. You will not only learn to create wonderful craftsmanship, but you will be able to learn what it is like running a carpentry business as well. Thus, you will be able to learn the industry from the cost of the carpentry job, planning, and the actual carpentry work. If you would like to be an apprentice, see below.
- While the above are the possible ways to get entry into the job, you may want to be a carpenter helper onsite and climb your way up the ladder. You can start as a laborer or a helper and doing so will expose you to the actual job enabling you to learn and ins and outs of the trade. Though you would not make a salary as good as a skilled carpenter, being a helper is a starting point to start a career and climb your way up.
How to Apply for Apprenticeship Training
Why would you like to be an apprentice anyway since it would take 4 years to complete? The very basic answer is simply because it is the best approach to take since being an apprentice is paid. You would be paid while learning the trade.
If this is the path you would like to pursue, contact a union or a participating institution in Michigan, see above, and check if they have a vacancy for an apprentice.
The apprenticeship openings only happen twice or thrice a year, so have an eye of an eagle if you really like to apply. Prior to application, it would certainly help, if you have the requirements readied. See below requirements.
The wage of an apprentice increases as years go by. In the first year in the program, you would receive 40-65% of the journeyman’s pay, in the second year the pay increases to 60-75% as you gain work proficiency… in the third 70-85% and in the fourth year 80-95%.
When you complete the program, you earn the journeyman level. That is enough experience to work on the construction site, or residential work, or you can even put up your own contracting business.
Requirements to Apply for Apprenticeship
• You need to be at least 17 years old
• Be physically fit and be in good condition since the nature of the job is physically-demanding
• Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate
• Proof of ID such as a social security card, a birth certificate, and other IDs with pictures
• When, applying, applicants must undergo a substance abuse test
• Completion of subjects such as physics, algebra, geometry shop, and woodworking would certainly help
Salary of Skilled Carpenters in the State of Michigan
Working in this state does have some good benefits, as a matter of fact, Michigan is one of the states that give high salaries for carpenters since the demand for this never ceases.
According to the latest July 25, 2023 report of Salary.Com, the salary of carpenters is $61,222 per year on average. But since there are differences because of some other factors, the salary falls between $52,906 and $70,890. In Indiana, the neighboring state, the salary is a little lower.
The job outlook for this trade is good. According to the projected report, the demand for carpenters not only in this state but also nationwide continues to increase.
With the variety of job paths, surely you would not run out of employment.
To Make a Finalization
The skills needed to become a carpenter are acquired by completing school, and there are a lot of trade schools in Michigan, you just have to find one that suits your requirement. With the points mentioned above, you would not have a hard time choosing the one.
There are quite a few organizations that offer apprenticeship programs, which I think the best way to enter this occupation. Though it makes take some time to complete, but you would be assured of different opportunities.
Whatever route you want to take, we always wish you good luck in your chosen career.