Carpentry is a skilled trade in which the primary work performed is the cutting, shaping and installation of wood products. Carpenters are involved in the construction of buildings, bridges, tunnels and other structures that are made primarily of wood. Carpenters also install cabinets, flooring and trim.
The highest paying carpentry job is that of a construction manager. Construction managers plan, coordinate and oversee all aspects of construction projects from start to finish. They are responsible for ensuring that projects are completed on time, within budget and to the specified quality standards. Construction managers typically earn salaries in the range of $85,000 to $95,000 per year.
Finish Carpenter. Salary range: $41,000-$57,500 per year
As a finish carpenter, you will be responsible for creating and installing the beautiful finishes that make a house a home. From custom cabinets to detailed moldings, your work will add both function and style to homes of all sizes.
Although much of your work will be done indoors, you should be comfortable working on ladders and scaffolding when necessary. You will also need to have a good eye for detail in order to create finished products that meet the high standards of your clients.
As a finish carpenter, you can expect to earn a salary that is commensurate with your experience and skillset. In general, most finish carpenters earn between $41,000 and $57,500 per year. With experience, it is not uncommon for top earners in this field to bring home closer to $70,000 or more annually.
Construction Framer. Salary range: $32,000-$48,000 per year
A construction framer is responsible for the structural framework of a building. They work with wood or metal framing to create the skeleton of a structure, which will then be covered by drywall, siding, or other materials.
Construction framers typically have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education or specialized training. Many framers learn their trade through apprenticeship programs sponsored by unions or contractors. Apprenticeship programs typically last three to four years and include on-the-job training as well as classroom instruction in blueprint reading, mathematics, safety, and first aid.
Framing Carpenters. Salary range: $36,000-$48,000 per year
As a framing carpenter, you will be responsible for constructing the framework for homes and other buildings. This involves cutting and measuring lumber, assembling walls and ceilings, and installing windows and doors. You must be able to work accurately and efficiently in order to meet deadlines.
Most framing carpenters have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may prefer candidates who have completed a carpentry apprenticeship program. On-the-job training is also common in this occupation.
Framing carpenters typically work 40 hours per week, although overtime may be required during peak periods. The job can be physically demanding, so you must be able to lift heavy objects and work in uncomfortable positions. Safety equipment such as hard hats, gloves, and safety glasses must be worn at all times while on the job site.
The median annual salary for framing carpenters was $36,000 in May 2017.* The top 10 percent of earners made more than $48,000 per year.* Salaries vary by region of the country; framing carpenters in the Northeast tend to earn more than those in other parts of the country.* *Information from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics
Form Carpenter. Salary range: $37,500-$47,500 per year
Form carpenters are responsible for creating the wooden forms used to pour concrete for footings, walls, and slabs. They use a variety of hand and power tools to cut and fasten the lumber together to create sturdy forms. Form carpenters must be able to read blueprints and follow specifications in order to create forms that meet the structural requirements of the project.
Most form carpenters start their careers as general carpentry apprentices. They learn basic carpentry skills such as measuring, cutting, and assembling wood. They also learn how to use power tools safely and efficiently. As they gain experience, form carpenters may specialize in a particular type of forming work such as bridges or high-rise buildings. Some form carpenters become supervisors or managers overseeing a team of workers constructing forms on a construction site.
The median annual salary for form carpenters is $37,500. The top ten percent earn more than $47,500 per year while the bottom ten percent earn less than $28,000 per year.* Although most form carpenters are paid hourly wages, some may receive piece rate pay or Salary range: $37 500-$47 500 per year annual salaries depending on their experience level and job responsibilities.*
Most form carpenters work full time with some overtime hours during peak construction season. Many jobs are located outdoors which can expose workers to inclement weather conditions.* Form Carpenter safety concerns include slips trips and falls as well as being struck by falling objects.* To lower the risk of injury while working with power tools wearing proper personal protective equipment is essential.*
As one of the most important parts of a building, the frame must be built to exacting standards. Framers use a variety of hand and power tools to cut, shape, and join lumber together. In addition to being skilled in woodworking, framers must also have a good understanding of physics and engineering principles, as they are responsible for ensuring that the frame is structurally sound.
While many framers start out as apprentices, some may have previous experience in other construction trades. With experience, framers can advance to supervisory or management positions. The median annual salary for framers was $51,840 in May 2019.
Form setters typically start out as entry-level carpenters and learn their trade through on-the-job training. Many form setters have completed an apprenticeship program, which combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training. Some form setters may also have completed a vocational or technical training program in carpentry or a related field.
Form setters typically earn an hourly wage, and their earnings may be affected by factors such as the region of the country they work in, their level of experience, and whether they belong to a union. In May 2018, the median hourly wage for carpenters was $21.69 per hour.* Wages at the lower end of the scale may be as low as $13.14 per hour, while those at the upper end may be as high as $32.41 per hour.*