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You can become a Residential Carpenter

Residential Carpenter

What is a Residential Carpenter?
Home building is an industry which goes on steadily year after year. New homes must be built for growing populations, and old homes must be renovated or replaced with new, more efficient ones. And it takes a lot of skilled carpenters to see to it that the job gets done! Residential carpentry is a challenging career because of the new building products, new styles, new tools and new technology which go into today’s housing industry. Housing contractors are always seeking good residential carpenters.

What Do Residential Carpenters Do?
Residential carpenters have been called the master builders, because they are the primary craft workers on homes, apartments, condominiums and the like. They assemble and erect the framework of residences; they build the partitions, install the flooring, and do much of the finish work, often staying on a particular job until its completion. The residential carpenter is an all-around carpenter who has experience in just about every aspect of residential construction.

How do I learn residential Carpentry?
You can pick up a hammer and saw and some nails and fool some home builders into believing you’re a carpenter. But if you really wanted to be a skilled residential carpenter, and be able to handle any job you are asked to do, then you need training as a residential carpenter apprentice. You need on-the-job training, where you’re paid while you learn. Training to become a residential carpenter is available through apprenticeship programs provided by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and the housing contractors in your area. Many young people start out by telephoning, writing or visiting the Carpenter’s local union and asking for information on how to become a residential carpenter apprentice.

What is an Apprentice?
An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade by working under the guidance of skilled workers of that trade, called journeymen. It is on-the-job training. You earn while you learn, and are paid a wage from the first day you become a working apprentice. Today, many women are training as apprentices, too. As an apprentice your wages will start at about 50% of the journeyman rate of pay and will increase periodically until you reach the full journeyman scale. It usually takes four years to become a journeyman residential carpenter. But, remember, the training costs you nothing!

How can I prepare myself to qualify for apprenticeship?
If you are still in school, you should take courses which prepare you with the skills needed to succeed in apprenticeship—courses such as basic mathematics, drafting and mechanical drawing, wood shop, and construction courses offered through the public education system.

The hours and working conditions of a residential carpenter
Residential carpenters usually start work at sunrise. Since much of their work is outdoors, they must be appropriately. They usually wear sturdy work clothes, a hard hat and work boots. Residential carpenters often bring their lunch from home since they only get half an hour for lunch. Union residential carpenters usually work eight-hour days and forty-hour weeks, and are paid by the hour. Apprentices often start out carrying lumber and performing simple tasks until they become familiar with the work. Then they are given more complicated tasks as time goes on.

The pay and benefits really add up
The rewards of apprenticeship training are the good wages and benefits you receive as a skilled craftsperson. Residential carpenters belong to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the largest building trades union in North America. You’ll be working under the protection of a union contract, probably with health insurance and pension and welfare benefits. In the long run, it pays to be the best you can be... a residential carpenter trained through apprenticeship!

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