Are you doing research on what career path to pursue? Is being a carpenter one on your list? If so, you’re on the right track.
The most obvious advantage of being a carpenter is the competitive wage and variety of jobs to choose from. Not to mention, the demand growth for this trade never ceases.
Does it sound appealing enough for you to consider becoming a carpenter in Louisiana?
However, getting into the job does take some time and a lot of effort. It doesn’t happen overnight. You have to complete either a training course or an apprenticeship program.
Whatever route you want to take, what’s important is that you are armed with knowledge and practical skill before you take on the job.
If you are decided that this job is the one you want to do, here are the steps you need to take:
Here is What You Need to Do to Be a Carpenter
Step 1. Choose what type of carpentry you want to get into
Learn the ins and outs, the pros and cons of the industry. Before deciding what field of carpentry you'd be most pleased doing. At work, it's important that you love what you're doing and is passionate about it. Carpentry is a profitable industry. It involves anything made of wood. From kitchen cabinets and cupboards to intricately designed shafts.
The most commonly known carpenters are the following:
- Trim carpenter
- Rough carpenter's
- Ship's carpenter
- Finish carpenter
- Cabinet maker
A career in carpentry offers a wide array of specializations. One can opt for two or more fields or expertise or decide to master one. For example, if you decide to become a ship's carpenter and still have an interest in learning the aspect of roofing, there's no rule that says you can't. The possibilities of learning are almost infinite. You can start from the bottom as a helper. From there, grow. Branch out. And master the skill that you're most adept at.
Step 2. Complete a training program
Carpentry is an art and a craft. Your mathematical skills need to be excellent and should always come in handy. Because it requires precision in measuring and cutting. Having a college degree doesn't mean you automatically qualify. But it does give you the edge - especially if it's a degree in math, engineering, and other related construction courses. A high school diploma though can be augmented with proper training. And a formal apprenticeship program is an advantage.
You can find a community college or vocational school in your area and take a class. See below the list of carpenter training schools in Louisiana. It only takes about a couple of weeks or several months to complete the training course.
Taking classes will provide you the extra skills and a fundamental educational background. Because these courses will introduce you to the basic power tools in carpentry - which takes us to the next tip.
Step 3. Take part in an apprenticeship program
This, of course, will cost you precious time. Not to mention the effort and commitment. But you must understand that carpentry, as stated above, is both an art and craft - which requires a set of skills and techniques. By joining an apprenticeship program, your abilities will be honed. You'll be getting hands-on experience and a shot at a more stable job and a regular paycheck.
The 3 areas covered in this training are the following:
- On-the-job skills training program conducted by top-level carpenters, classroom-taught topics like building codes, etc, and general carpentry skills. Safety at the workplace.
- The US Department of Labor website offers useful information about current employment opportunities all over the US, including carpentry apprenticeships - which usually run for four years. These can be searched online at Apprenticeship.gov or through local labor unions and the Association of professional carpenters.
- Upon completion of this program, you'll be awarded a certification as a journey-level carpenter who has the expertise and confidence to work as a professional carpenter.
If you want to enroll in the union apprenticeship program, see the below list of union locals where you can apply.
Step 4. Find a job and build your career
Ever wondered just how much a carpenter's helper earns? An apprentice (with minimal experience) earns around $15 per hour. While an average journey-level carpenter earns $25 on average. How about a top-shelf carpenter? Well, they earn around $40 per hour on average. This only means that most of them are earning more.
A decent way to make a living huh? Although you have to find ways to master your craft. Carpentry is both a career and a business. You need to be competitive to stand out. And the best way to build a strong reputation are:
Prove yourself. To get the recognition of peers and prospects in the industry, you should be able to work efficiently and on time. With little or no supervision at all. Safely and swiftly - without sacrificing the quality of your work.
Bear in mind that learning never stops. Carpentry isn't all about banging nails only. Don't ever pass up on the opportunity to learn something new every time. Pay attention to details. Learn the latest trends in the industry. Stay in connection with people in the industry. Always be a step ahead in the ever-changing techniques, and regulations in the field.
For a growing career in carpentry, it pays to be a part of a community comprising of fellow carpenters and other construction professionals. Don't think twice about mentoring new and upcoming carpenter wannabes. Endorsement through word of mouth or the recommendations of your peers is an effective advertising campaign. The process of learning the different aspects of carpentry demands your time and undivided attention. One can't learn the tricks of the trade overnight.
Local Unions and Training Schools that Offer Carpenter Training in Louisiana
- Central South Carpenters Regional Council
2850 Massachusetts Avenue, Metairie, LA 70003
Phone: (504) 305-4737, fax: (504) 305-2456
- Southern States Millwright Regional Council
2850 Massachusetts Ave., Metairie, LA 70003
8875 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70814
- Carpenters Local Union 1098
8875 Greenwell Springs Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70814
(225) 356-2468 Phone; (225) 356-4561 Fax
- Carpenters Local 1846
2850 Massachusetts Avenue, Metairie, LA 70003
Phone: 504-822-2243, Fax: 504-305-0005
- Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. (New Orleans/Bayou Chapter)
101 Riverbend Drive, St. Rose, Louisiana 70087
Phone: (504) 468-3188; Fax: (504) 468-3473
- Central Louisiana Technical Community College
516 Murray Street, Alexandria, LA 71301
Fax: 318-487-5970 or 318-487-5690
- Winnsboro Campus of Louisiana Delta Community College
2889 Highway 15, Winnsboro, LA 71295
- South Louisiana Community College
1101 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, LA
Phone: (337) 521-9000
- Delgado Community College
615 City Park Ave, New Orleans, LA
Phone: (504) 671-5000
- SOWELA Technical Community College, Regional Training Center
3749 Senator J. Bennett Johnston Ave., Lake Charles, LA 70615
(337) 421-6565, (800) 256-0483
- Varnado High School
25543 Washington Street, Angie, Louisiana 70426
(985) 732-2025 Phone | (985) 732-5198 Fax
Salary of Carpenters Working in the State of Louisiana
If you’re asking how much carpenters make in Louisiana, according to the latest July 25, 2023 report of Salary.com, the average carpenter's salary in this state is $58,692. And depending on the experience and assignment location, it falls in the range of $50,720 and $67,961. If you will work in Arkansas, the salary is a little lower.
The job outlook for carpenters will be good in the next coming years this is due to the boom of the construction industry and driven by population growth. Despite periods of unemployment due to the short contract, expect the demand will never cease. As the demand grows so as the job openings. Louisiana is one the best states to work as a carpenter.
You Can Work as a Contractor
Becoming a journeyman carpenter after completing an apprenticeship program is one of the routes you can earn. However, that doesn’t end there. Many graduates of the apprenticeship program also become contractors after gaining sufficient practical experience and adequate funds to put up the business.
To do that, you need to apply for a contractor’s license in Louisiana. There are three (3) types of license you can apply for:
- Commercial contractor licenses
- Residential contractor licenses
- Home improvement registration
After that, you have to register your business with the LA Secretary of State, fill out the Louisiana contractor’s license application and pass the required contractor licensing exams.
To Make a Finalization
Learning the art and science of carpentry can be confusing to some. Given the complexity of it. Nevertheless, it can be very rewarding as a profession. It can be a lucrative business, too. Ultimately, how you progress as a carpenter depends on your level of expertise, hardcore work ethic, and experience.
We wish you good luck and encourage you that now is the time to become a carpenter in the beautiful state of Louisiana.
Contacting the Authorities
Louisiana Workforce Commission
1001 N. 23rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC)
600 North Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802
225.765.2301 or 800.256.1392