How to become a carpenter

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

College

You could take a college course like:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Bench Joinery
  • Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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Apprenticeship

You could do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. There are 2 options:

  • site carpenter
  • architectural joiner

You'll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.

You could also do a wood product manufacturing operative intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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More Information

Registration

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a carpenter from Go Construct and House Building Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work on your own
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on where you work, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • discussing plans and following instructions
  • cutting and shaping timber for floorboards, doors, skirting boards and window frames
  • making and fitting wooden structures like staircases, door frames, roof timbers and partition walls
  • making and assembling fitted and free-standing furniture
  • installing kitchens, cupboards and shelving
  • building temporary wooden supports to hold setting concrete in place (shuttering)
  • making and fitting interiors in shops, bars, restaurants, offices and public buildings
  • constructing stage sets for theatre, film and TV productions

Working environment

You could work in a workshop, at a client's business, on a construction site or at a client's home.

Your working environment may be you'll travel often, outdoors in all weathers, cramped, dusty and at height.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a team leader or project manager.

You could also move into construction estimating and contracts management, or specialise in areas like stage sets or heritage restoration.

You could also start your own business or move into training.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Joiner

  • Wage: £200.00 Weekly
  • Location: Pontefract

Apprentice Joiner (Architectural)

  • Wage: £13,080.60 Weekly
  • Location: Buxton

Courses In England

NOCN L2 DIPLOMA IN SITE CARPENTRY (CONSTRUCTION) FT (L2 LE)

  • Provider: CHESTERFIELD COLLEGE
  • Start date: 07 September 2021
  • Location: CHESTERFIELD

C&G L3 DIPLOMA IN SITE CARPENTRY PTD (L3 LE)

  • Provider: CHESTERFIELD COLLEGE
  • Start date: 07 September 2021
  • Location: CHESTERFIELD

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