Now that you’ve made up your mind that you want to pursue a career as a carpenter, the next question you may be asking is how to join a carpenters union in Colorado.
Joining a union is the popular way of becoming a carpenter even if you don’t have experience; to begin, you must first apply for an apprenticeship program.
You can get an application for the carpenter apprenticeship program at the Local Union 555, see address and contact below. Complete the application form, attach the necessary requirements, and return the application to the said Local.
You will then be given a copy of the apprenticeship program’s rules and your name will be placed on the qualified applicants’ registry. When you received notification that your application has been approved, you will then sign the agreement and apply for membership in the Local Union 555.
- Southwest Carpenters Training Fund
(Carpenters Colorado Local Union 555)
4290 Holly St Denver, CO, US 80216
+1 303-355-8774; (303) 393-6060;
To submit your application, you must meet/have these requirements:
- You should be at least 18 years old; if you’re 17, you must have guardian permission.
- You must have a high school diploma or a GED certificate as its equivalent; a transcript can also be accepted.
- Be physically fit and free from ailments in order to perform the job as a carpenter apprentice.
- You must have transportation to attend the training classes and to get to the job site.
- You must present a valid government-issued ID and must have a social security guard.
- To increase the chance of your application getting accepted you must have some experience either from working for an employer or from attending school, you can submit proof of experience. Submit a letter from your previous employer attesting your employment with them or a school record whichever is applicable.
Is Joining a Carpenters Union a Good Decision to Make
You may hear a lot of stories from other people who have been in the union – many are good but some are not but don’t mind it. I came from a union and I know personally what it is like to be a carpenter under their supervision. Here are the key advantages of being in the union:
- It is to your advantage to join a union because the wages you can receive are better than non-union carpenters. Besides, employers nowadays are requiring candidates to be union members before getting accepted for the job. Aside from that, the benefits are good too, you’ll receive health and medical insurance, a pension plan, an annuity, life insurance, and many others. This is what other trades are jealous of.
- Being in the union enables you to learn skills from the best and most professional carpenters. As you work onsite along with other more skilled carpenters, you learn the secrets of the trade and different techniques. With that skills, you can choose to specialize in one branch of carpentry that includes roofing, drywall installation, trim and finish carpentry, cabinet making, and other specialties.
- If you get laid off, your name will be placed on the “out-of-work-list”. Since the union has a large connection, you can easily be referred to another employer which means there’s only a brief waiting period before your name can be called to work for another project. The union will assist you in finding a job even in another state.
- If you’re just starting out and want to be an apprentice in the union, you get paid while on the training program. The apprenticeship is a 3-4 year program, and every year you get a pay increase until you reach the last year and classified as a journeyman. Being a journeyman gives you the best chance to earn the most money simply because you already have what it takes whatever the job throws at you.
- Union carpenters receive better training than non-union making them more capable for the job. It is a great opportunity to learn the craft if you’re in the beginning. Aside from that, the work ethic and attitude towards the job is better than those non-union workers - one of the advantages of having good training. What I like best is that they provide continued education for all of its members.
How Long Does It Take to Get Called for an Interview and Start the Apprenticeship Training?
This is the most common question we heard. If you go through the process, it may take a couple of weeks from the time your application has been submitted before you can be called for an interview.
To increase the odds of getting called much sooner, you can personally visit the union and speak to the person handling the application, usually the secretary or registrar. Doing so makes them think that you are serious and really want to join.
The time it takes to receive a call will also depend largely on the manpower demand of the contractor or employer. If the season is at its peak, expect you would receive a call in the fastest possible time.
The interview is very straightforward. You will just be asked what’s your experience as a carpenter and how long have you been doing this job to determine the duties that you can do. This is where having practical experience comes in handy.
If you have such on-the-job experience or a training certificate, you would likely be selected. I’m not saying that those non-experienced applicants would be rejected, I just stressing here the importance of having prior experience before joining a union.
Want to be an Apprentice But Don’t Want to Join a Union?
If you choose a different path and joining a union isn’t for you, you can apply for a carpenter apprentice in the Construction Industry of Colorado Training Council, Inc., (CITC), 646 Mariposa St., Denver, CO 80204, contact 303 893 1500.
Their apprenticeship is a 4-year program. The apprentice is required to complete 144 hours of in-the-class and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training per year. Or that’s equivalent to 576 hours in the class and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training during that 4-year duration.
As of this writing, when you’re under the CITC program, you can make $12.27 hourly or $25,530 per year for a beginner; if you’re an experienced carpenter you can make a bigger paycheck.
Here’s another institution that offers an apprenticeship program:
- Colorado Contractors Association
6880 South Yosemite Court, Suite 200, Centennial, Colorado 80112-1421,
Phone: (303) 290-6611, Fax: (303) 290-9141
Carpentry Training Schools in Colorado
If you want to attend the class or attain a certificate, here are the training carpentry schools in Colorado where you can enroll in:
- Millcrafted Custom Carpentry, LLC
3038 W 134th Pl, Broomfield, CO 80020, US
- Mountainsmith Carpentry LLC.
8423 Middle Fork Rd Boulder, CO 80302
- Red Rocks Community College
13300 W. 6th Ave. Lakewood, CO 80228 (Map) (p) 303.914.6600
10280 W 55th Ave. Arvada, CO 80002 (Map) (p) 303.914.6010
Offers certificate in carpentry
- Colorado Homebuilding Academy
445 W 53rd Place, Denver CO 80216
If you want to attend a class or enroll in the training, here are some tips:
- Find a class with a small size so that every student can receive the much-needed focus and attention from the instructor. In that way, the instructor can tailor the instruction to suit the skill level of every student. In a small class size, there will also be less disruption simply because there are fewer in the room.
- Choose a training program that incorporates other certificates such as OSHA 10, Basic First Aid, Fire Fighting, etc. The certificate may or may not related to the subject of carpentry but you can use it as a credential.
- Find a training school that is modern and the facility is up-to-date. You can personally visit the school where you prefer to enroll, see and observe the surroundings if it is up to your expectation.
- Some carpentry programs aren’t cheap especially those that last for years to complete. If you are to choose a training school, find the one that offers tuition discounts or provides financial assistance for you to avail to ease the burden in your pocket.
Salary of Carpenters in the State of Colorado
It all comes down to this. If you’re wondering how much would you receive when you work as a carpenter in Colorado, the average salary is $62,365 but of course, depending on your skill level, the salary ranges between $53,894 and $72,213 per year. These figures are according to the latest July 25, 2023 report of Salary.Com. In Kansas, the salary is higher.
After seeing the numbers, you may recognize that carpenters earn slightly less than average for all other trades in the construction industry but the good thing is that they have a better job outlook.
We all know that a career only pays well if you can find employment. Fortunately, the demand growth for carpenters in the coming years is increasing. If you want to become a carpenter, now is the time. Start an apprenticeship program or gain experience by attending class.
Carpentry is not for all people but if you think it is suited to you and this is the profession you want to pursue, we highly encourage you to act now.
To Make a Conclusion
Becoming an apprentice is a great way to learn the practical skills needed to work as a carpenter. Not only you get paid while on the job, but you also receive continued education from a sponsoring union or contractor. The state of Colorado has good opportunities for everyone who wants to be a carpenter. Now is the time to join and be a union member.