How to Become a Carpenter in HawaiiNow that you made your decision that becoming a carpenter in Hawaii is the career you want to pursue, the next thing you might have in your mind is how to take the training and be educated.

Actually, there are two approaches you can do – that’s either enroll in the course offered by a school or be an apprentice. The option you take will primarily depend on your personal preference.

Both ways will give you the knowledge and practical experience.

And to give you a sneak peek of what’s involved, here are the things to expect:

By enrolling in a trade school or community college in your area

The usual carpentry programs run for six months up to two years and allow the students to learn the fundamentals of carpentry like reading of the blueprints, proper measurements, cost estimates, material surveying, site safety and materials, proper and safe use of tools and machinery, and other necessary skills for a newbie. Enrolling in a carpentry program also allows you to learn basic knowledge on building code, and prevailing OSHA regulations. The program will include classroom lectures and practical training in the shop. On the good side, enrolling in a trade school requires lesser time compared to working as an apprentice with a skilled carpenter.

See below community colleges where you can enroll.

By Becoming a Carpenter Apprentice (in the union or sponsoring contractor)

The apprenticeship program could run for three up to four years. The apprenticeship program can be sponsored by either the union or contractor, but it can be offered through government employment agencies as well. Getting an apprenticeship has a basic requirement wherein you should be at least 18 years old and be a good physical condition, and you have at least prior experience before getting accepted. Please refer below if you would like to apply for the apprenticeship program.

Being an apprentice is a great way to make a living while learning the ins and outs of the job as you get paid while in the program. Although, you might expect that it takes a longer time to finish the apprenticeship program, but you can be assured of having extensive experience – that’s of great importance to be competitive.

If you like to apply for the program, see below to see the union and contractor that offers the apprenticeship program.

Carpenter Training Schools in Hawaii

If your aim is to get into the apprenticeship program, the HCATF and ABC are the places you can go to. Here are their contact information:

  • Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship & Training Fund (HCATF) Training Center
    2040 Lauwiliwili Street, Kapolei, HI 96707
    P: (808) 848-0794

  • Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. (ABC)
    1375 Dillingham Blvd., #200, Honolulu, HI 96817
    Phone: 845-4887, Fax: 847-7876

If your plan is to enrol in a short program, certificate or degree, here are the community colleges you can enrol at:

  • Hawaii Community College
    1175 Manono Street, Hilo, HI 96720-509
    Telephone: (808) 934-2500 Fax: (808) 934-2501

  • Honolulu Community College
    874 Dillingham Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96817
    Phone; 808-845-9211

How to Apply for Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is a great way to make a living while learning the trade. Most people chose to take this path. If you are going to apply for the program, here are what you need to know:

  1. In order to apply, you must first have all the requirements, please see below. The application can be found on the HCATF website, visit the page. https://hicarpenterstraining.com/apply/

  2. Verify the upcoming schedule of registration. The opening only happens twice a year (Oahu) during spring and fall, and the exact date may change without prior notice. To check the registration schedule, visit the HCATF website. If the apprentice registration is ongoing, contact the HCATF at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  3. Complete a Declaration of Interest form and attach a digital copy of your high school diploma/GED certificate, and your ID. You will also have to complete the Applicant Questionnaire form, don’t skip any question and leave it blank, it is important to answer every question in it. Submit those documents to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also request a copy of the forms from that email address.

  4. After 2-3 days after submitting the completed forms and other documents, you will receive a notification informing you about the Math assessment. You have to complete and submit the Math Assessment Appointment form, your Match assessment date will be given to you after submitting that form.

  5. In order to go on the application process, the applicant must pass the Math Assessment with at least a score of 38/50 or that’s equivalent to a 76% grade. If you think you are not ready yet to take the Math Assessment, you can request another assessment date in order to prepare.

  6. Just like the employment screening process, you will undergo an interview. This is your chance to show your potential and ability to be an apprentice. Don’t get nervous, just give an honest and proper answer. Read this article on how to pass the interview.

  7. If you get the interviewer’s thumbs-up, you will then go to the Pre-selection screening. This screening only applies to Oahu applicants only, if you’re outside, screening doesn’t apply.

  8. The last step of the process is signing your apprenticeship agreement. You confirm your roles and responsibilities by affixing your signature. Congratulations, you’re now an official member!

Here are some of the things to take note of when applying for the apprenticeship program:

  • Please take note that you need a hand-held device and a Zoom Meeting app in it, the instruction will be given to you online. Please also be informed that you’re not allowed to use a calculator during the Math Assessment and you should follow every instruction otherwise you can be disqualified from applying.

  • The apprentices must complete 8,000 work hours and classroom study in order to graduate. In order to track the hours worked in a month, you must fill up a form - it is called daily progress record, and submit it to Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund.

Apprenticeship Requirements

  • Aspiring applicants must be at least 17 years old, with no upper age limit.
  • Must have a high school diploma or a GED certificate as its equivalent.
  • Since the nature of the job as a carpenter is physically demanding, one must be in good physical and health condition.
  • Must be able to lift at least 75 lbs of weight.
  • Have legal status to stay or work in the state of Hawaii
  • Since the apprenticeship application is a filtering process, the applicant must pass the math test.
  • Must pass the interview process.
  • Must have an identification card with a photo (e.g. passport, driver’s license, or other government-issued ID).

Carpenter Salary in Hawaii 2021

According to the latest March 29, 2021, survey of Salary.Com, the salary of carpenters in Hawaii is $60,052 per year on average. But since the location where you are working and other factors affect how much you could make, the annual wage typically between 51,863 and $69,211.

The other important factors that come into play affecting your paycheck are the experience, relevant certification you held, and other applicable skills you can bring to the job.

Carpenters are versatile, they are involved in many aspects of construction giving the best opportunities to learn to become foremen, supervisors and managers as they elevate in the career ladder. One could start his own construction firm as an independent contractor which I think the path everyone should pursue. In order to do that you need a contractor license. See below.

To Make a Conclusion

In order to become a carpenter in Hawaii, you must have the prior knowledge and experience to perform the job and you can do this in two different ways – get educated in school or be an apprentice.

Although, you might ask if it is possible to get into the job without training or experience. Yes, it is true. You can begin as a helper or a site laborer and climb your way up the ladder. But it takes time and serious effort.

The approach you would like to take depends on the situation where you are in right now and on your personal choice. What’s important is you gain the practical skills – necessary to start a career.

Contacting the Authorities

  • Department of Labor & Industrial Relations
    Workforce Development Division

  • Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
    P.O. Box 3469 Honolulu, HI 96801
    Tel: (808) 586-2692