Carpenter  What They Do

Just the Facts


Carpenters Career Video



Constructs, erects, installs or repairs structures and fixtures made of wood, such as concrete forms; building frameworks, including partitions, joists, studding, and rafters; wood stairways, window and door frames, and hardwood floors. May also install cabinets, siding, drywall and batt or roll insulation. Includes brattice builders who build doors or brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in underground passageways to control the proper circulation of air through the passageways and to the working places.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Follows established safety rules and regulations and maintains a safe and clean environment.
  • Studies specifications in blueprints, sketches, or building plans to prepare project layout and determine dimensions and materials required.
  • Measures and marks cutting lines on materials, using a ruler, pencil, chalk, and marking gauge.
  • Shapes or cuts materials to specified measurements, using hand tools, machines, or power saws.
  • Installs structures or fixtures, such as windows, frames, floorings, trim, or hardware, using carpenters' hand or power tools.
  • Verifies trueness of structure, using plumb bob and level.
  • Selects and orders lumber or other required materials.
  • Arranges for subcontractors to deal with special areas, such as heating or electrical wiring work.
  • Maintains records, documents actions, and presents written progress reports.
  • Builds or repairs cabinets, doors, frameworks, floors, or other wooden fixtures used in buildings, using woodworking machines, carpenter's hand tools, or power tools.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Finish Carpenter -- Constructs, fits and installs doors, windows, flooring, cabinets and other permanent fixtures in projects such as houses, commercial buildings and even ships.
  • Hardwood Floor Installer -- Installs, sands and finishes hardwood flooring.
  • Custom Wood Stair Builder --