When you think of the carpentry trade, you probably picture a bearded man in blue jeans and work boots. But carpentry is so much more than that.
It’s a challenging and rewarding career, perfect for those who are interested in working with their hands, problem-solving and creating something new from raw materials.
If you have an affinity for math and challenges, as well as being outside and working with your hands, becoming a carpenter in South Dakota could be the right career for you.
With plenty of job opportunities available nationwide and a median salary above $40K per year, this is one profession that will pay off in spades. A carpenter is responsible for building structures made primarily from wood.
Depending on the scope of your job as a carpenter, you may focus on interior or exterior carpentry. Interior carpenters build things like cabinets and bookcases while exterior carpenters build things like decks and fences.
How To Become A Carpenter
There are two paths you can take if you want to become a carpenter.
The first path is to earn a degree or complete a short course. There are trade schools and community colleges in South Dakota that offer short courses and degrees in carpentry. You just have to find a school that fits your requirements.
If you’re looking for a school, here are your options:
- Mitchell Technical College
1800 East Spruce Street, Mitchell, South Dakota 57301
Toll-Free: 1.800.684.1969, Fax: 605.995.3083
- Lake Area Technical College
1201 Arrow Ave., Watertown, SD 57201
1-800-657-4344, Fax: 1-605-882-629
- Southeast Technical College
2320 N Career Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57107
- Western Dakota Technical College
800 Mickelson Dr., Rapid City SD 57703
Phone: (605) 718-2565, (800) 544-8765
The second path is to become an apprentice. To become an apprentice, you will need to complete an apprenticeship program that lasts 3-4 years. If you’re looking for a contractor or union that offers an apprenticeship program, here are your choices:
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters
4208 N Hainje Ave, Sioux Falls, SD, 57104
Phone: (402) 345-8658, Fax: (402) 884-5704
- AGC of South Dakota
Building Chapter, 7501 E. Arrowhead Parkway, Sioux Falls SD
Phone: 605.336.9338, Fax: 605-336.6719
- Carpenters Training Institute
4208 N. Hainje Ave., Sioux Falls, SD. 57104
- South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation
StartToday SD Apprenticeship Program
123 W. Missouri Ave., Pierre, SD 57501
If the path you want to pursue is by being an apprentice, here’s what you need to do when joining:
Joining an Apprenticeship program
It might seem hard to start, but it is not as complicated as you might think. You just need to find the right apprenticeship that is right for you.
Finding an apprenticeship that is right for you can is simple, you just have to contact one of the organizations listed above, inquire about the opening and submit an application.
Most apprenticeship jobs are not hard to start, as most of them require very little or no previous experience. The hardest part about joining a carpenter apprenticeship is deciding which organization to join – a union or a non-union.
Requirements You Need When Applying for an Apprenticeship Program
- All you need is to be at least 18 years old to join an apprenticeship program. Most companies require you to be 18 to start working on a job that is because the nature of the job is a little bit hazardous.
- All carpenter apprenticeship programs require you to have a high school diploma or GED certificate.
- Apprenticeship programs last anywhere between 3 and 4 years. It depends on the company you choose to work with. Most companies require you to be actively working on a job for a year before you can join their program.
- You don’t need to have any previous experience, in fact, most employers are looking for people with no experience but a strong desire to learn the trade.
- Carpentry is a physically demanding job, so you must be in shape to apply and you will spend the majority of your time on construction sites.
Is Being an Apprentice The Right Path to Get Into
It seems like your question was cut off. I assume you're asking whether being an apprentice is the right path to get into a specific profession or field. Apprenticeship can be an excellent way to gain skills and knowledge in many fields, but its suitability largely depends on the particular profession you are considering. Here are some general benefits and considerations of apprenticeship:
- Hands-On Experience: Apprenticeships provide real-world experience. You'll be working on actual projects, which can give you a better understanding than purely theoretical knowledge.
- Mentorship: Working closely with a skilled professional can provide invaluable insights, guidance, and support.
- Earn While You Learn: Unlike many educational paths, apprentices often get paid during their training.
- Networking: Being in the workplace allows you to meet professionals in your field, which can open doors for future opportunities.
- Structured Learning: Many apprenticeships are structured with a specific curriculum, ensuring that you cover all necessary areas.
- Reduced or No Educational Debt: As you're earning while learning, apprenticeships can either reduce or completely eliminate the need for student loans.
- Commitment: Apprenticeships can be long-term commitments, often lasting several years.
- Limited Flexibility: Depending on the program, there might be limited flexibility in terms of work hours, tasks, or curriculum.
- Varied Quality: The quality of apprenticeships can vary depending on the mentor, company, or institution. It's crucial to research and find a program that's reputable.
- Potential for Exploitation: In some cases, companies might use apprenticeships as a way to get cheap labor. It's essential to be aware of your rights and ensure you're receiving proper training and fair compensation.
- Industry Recognition: Some industries or professions may not recognize apprenticeships as legitimate or equivalent to formal education.
What Does A Carpenter Do?
To understand what a carpenter does, it is important to understand what makes up a building. A building is made up of several different things, including, but not limited to:
• Structural Components – Structural components (e.g. beams, posts, trusses) are critical to the structural integrity of a building, and carpenters work with architects to determine the proper placement and size of these structural components.
• Structural Framing – Framing refers to the placement of structural components as well as their connection to one another.
• Exterior Walls – Carpenters are responsible for building and installing exterior walls, including windows and doors.
• Roofs – Carpenters are responsible for not only building the roof but also the roofing materials that sit on top of the roof.
In addition to building the structure of a building, carpenters are also responsible for installing the interior and exterior finishes, and electrical components as well.
When working as a contractor, you would be responsible for procuring the necessary materials and then building the structure of the building according to their design.
When working as an interior carpenter, you would be responsible for building any cabinets and/or bookcases and installing countertops or any other interior finishes.
When working as an exterior carpenter, you would be responsible for installing any fences, decks, stairs, and/or railings.
Qualifications For Becoming A Carpenter
Carpenters must be able to lift heavy materials on a daily basis, so you will need to be strong enough to do so.
Additionally, you will be working with sharp objects, so you need to be careful. Finally, this is a very physically demanding job, so you must be in good health in order to succeed as a carpenter.
There are three types of carpenters: structural, finish, and cabinetmakers. Structural carpenters lay out the building’s framework and must be able to do architectural drawings.
Finish carpenters install the finishing touches on a building, such as drywall and cabinets. Cabinetmakers build cabinets, fences, and other wooden items.
How Much Can You Make Working as Carpenter in South Dakota
The median annual wage for carpenters is $54,396 per year. But depending on some aspects and factors, the salary range is between $47,007 and $62,986. These numbers are in accordance with the July 25, 2023 data of salary.com. Factors that come into play affect how much you’re going to make are the job location, experience, and certification.
The state of North Dakota offers a higher salary.
Carpenters who work as contractors can expect to make a significant earning potential. If you have a considerable amount of experience, you can establish your own contracting firm. This is the path we recommend for those who are in the field.
Becoming a carpenter is a great career choice that offers a lot of flexibility. You can specialize in structural or finish carpentry, or you can become a general contractor and specialize in larger projects. Whatever you choose to specialize in, you can expect to be challenged every day and a good income as a result.