Ready to get started? Here are some resources and pathways you can explore to get started in a successful career as a Carpenter!
Carpentry is a versatile career that is best suited for individuals with a passion for carrying out planned projects by using a hands-on approach. Carpenters pay close attention to detail (measure twice, cut once!) and find effective solutions for construction and architectural tasks. The scale of a carpenter’s duty can range from homebuilding to large civil engineering projects.
T he Perks
A career in carpentry is very accessible, and plenty of resources are in place to help you prepare for professional work. Once you’ve mastered your craft, you’ll have a skillset that serves you for a lifetime.
To gain trade certification as a carpenter, you need either a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship, or a combination of over 4 years’ work experience and some courses in carpentry.
In 2016, Around 36% of carpenters were self-employed. Self-employed carpenters may be able to set a schedule that better fits their lifestyle.
The median annual salary of a carpenter, with potential to make as much as $60k or more.
City of St. Louis
I’ve found that the demands and challenges of the work suit my mind and my love of building and making things. I developed a love for the work, the atmosphere of a jobsite, and the process of making homes.
W hat Do I Need?
Becoming trade certified as a carpenter is a process that takes time and dedication, but you will have the benefit of working and earning as you learn. If you meet these key requirements, you will likely find the hands-on, craftsman-style work of carpentry to be incredibly rewarding.
You’ll need to be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or equivalent in order to pursue an apprenticeship or other route to employment as a carpenter.
Carpenters typically gain training through apprenticeships that last between three and four years, with 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training.
You will need physical stamina and strength and manual dexterity to succeed in this career.
Basic math is used every day by carpenters, so they can accurately measure materials to be cut and installed.
Attention to Detail
Carpenters make things that must be level and square – nobody wants to live or work in a crooked building!
If self-employment is your goal, you must be able to bid on new jobs, track inventory, and plan work assignments.
Y our Resources
Construction Forum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with the mission, “To facilitate the collaboration of all the stakeholders in the St. Louis Region’s built environment in creating inclusive, robust employment and economic growth.” The Forum is a communication channel, a convener, and a collaboration builder. It produces a twice-weekly enewsletter sent to 9,500 addresses, a website with 200K annual page views, and numerous outreach efforts in the workforce arena, including a robust Emerging Leaders group.
MET Center Carpentry/Building Maintenance Training Course via Ranken Technical College
An 8-week course that teaches participants hand and stationary power tool safety, proper handling and disposal of waste materials, installation of early detection devices and how to deal with mold and mildew issues. Students will focus on the essentials of residential framing including interior and exterior doors, new and replacement windows, and various types of insulation. Students will also learn residential plumbing and electrical essentials covering faucet, showerhead, and toilet installation and repair as well as the proper installation of switches, outlets and lighting fixtures. All students are enrolled in Ranken Technical College.
More Than Carpentry Apprenticeship Program
Four-year apprenticeship resulting in a Journeyman Certificate issued from the Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. As employees of CCU, apprentices learn the trade of carpentry on-the-job while earning wages. MTC sponsors the mentoring and text-book style learning that occurs off the job. This Biblical model allows apprentices to practice newly acquired carpentry skills under the direct supervision of qualified carpenters while working on real-time projects. Apprentices are developed while they are mentored and guided through life skills coaching, personal financial management, critical thinking, and Bible Study.
Harambee Youth Training in Construction
Harambee is a not-for-profit organization which partners with local churches, businesses, and organizations to engage at-risk urban youth an opportunity to learn a healthy work ethic, self-discipline, confidence, and team dynamics as well as profitable skills in the construction trades. Teens work in landscaping, general property maintenance, roofing and light construction.
St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program
Paid apprenticeship program that allows students to earn while working in carpentry. Online or in-person application available. St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program, 8300 Valcour Ave., Affton, MO 63123. 4.5 year Apprenticeship, 6,000 hours on-the-job learning (OJL) required, 720 hours of Related Technical Instruction (RTI), Education = 4 visits per year to 8300 Valcour @ 40 hr./visit = 160 hrs./year x 4.5 yrs. = 720 hrs. of RTI, 18 education Units x 40 hrs./unit = 720 hrs. RTI, 18 Educational Units and 6,000 OJL = Department of Labor “Carpenter” Journey Level Certificate.
Missouri Women in Trades
MOWIT is dedicated to expanding opportunities for women to enter and succeed in apprenticeship and careers in the construction and building trades of the greater St. Louis area. MOWIT supports women in accessing and advancing in all construction trades through a variety of programs, including workshops, mentoring programs, scholarships, and workshops for girls.
Careers at McCarthy
McCarthy has opportunities available for interested applicants across a broad range of experience levels, from interns to new grads to experienced professionals and skilled craft professionals alike. Explore open positions and opportunities at McCarthy here.
Careers at Paric
Gain an opportunity to work on projects that not only change the physical landscape around us, but also reshape communities and how people view them with a career at Paric. Find open positions in St. Louis here.
Geometry in Construction at Rockwood School District
Geometry in Construction is a course offered at the high school level within Rockwood School District. The course relates geometry to the hands-on work of construction and results in students building homes for the homeless.
YouthBuild – Construction Trades Training
This pre-apprenticeship program is devoted to construction trades and helps disadvantaged young people work toward their GED while learning construction and job skills and earning wages. Certifications in OSHA 10, First Aid, CPR, Renovation Preparation and Painting, the Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Trading (PACT), and Green Building are available.
Building Union Diversity Construction Training Program
An apprenticeship with construction unions for minorities, women and St. Louis residents with or without construction experience. BUD offers enrollees a comprehensive introduction to construction employment and careers and provides relevant national skills certification training.
AGC MO: Construction School of St. Louis
The AGC of Missouri maintains joint apprenticeship committees with skilled craft professional unions including Carpenters, Cement Masons, Iron Workers, Construction Craft Laborers and Operating Engineers. They offer a full range of educational opportunities, from construction craft career training to professional development programs and beyond.
Electrical Construction Industry Apprenticeships
The St. Louis Electrical Industry Training Center is the nation’s best high-tech learning facility for apprentice and journeyman electricians and communication technicians. Registered apprenticeship & training programs available for: inside electrician, communication technician (also known as VDVS installer technician) and residential electrician.
Youth Build – Summer Jobs Program
A highly-successful, alternative education program for young people aged 16-24 who have a high school diploma, GED or HSE and are interested in construction careers. Helps low-income youth learn construction skills through building affordable housing and other community assets in their neighborhoods and helps students gain the skills necessary for employment.