How to become a Carpenter

Carpenters construct, erect, install, finish and repair wooden and metal structures and fixtures on residential and commercial buildings. They may also carry out work on large concrete, steel and timber structures such as bridges, dams, power stations and civil engineering projects.

Personal requirements of a Carpenter

  • Enjoy practical work
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Able to work with your hands
  • Good sense of balance and ability to work at heights
  • Good at mathematics
  • Good health and eyesight
  • Able to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Carpenter

To become a carpenter you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Carpentry. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Carpenter

Carpenters may perform the following tasks:

  • construct formwork into which concrete is poured
  • set out an outline of the building on the ground of the site, using string and pegs to allow for excavations
  • build floors, wall frameworks (timber or metal) and roofs, and lay timber floors
  • read plans and specifications to determine the dimensions, materials required and installation processes to be followed
  • install metal and timber windows, sashes and doors
  • construct and erect prefabricated units, such as cottages and houses
  • cut materials with hand and power tools, and assemble, nail, cut or shape parts
  • install door handles, locks, hardware, flooring underlay, insulating material and other fixtures
  • maintain and sharpen tools.

Employment Opportunities for a Carpenter

Carpenters may work as subcontractors or may be employed by building and construction companies. Most carpenters are employed on housing projects, construction and civil engineering projects, and in maintenance roles in large factories, hospitals, institutions and private homes. Many carpenters specialise in areas such as framing, fixing or formwork.

Additional Information
In some states and territories, carpenters must either be accredited as, or work under the supervision of, a registered building practitioner. Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (CIC).
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