How to Become a Certified Carpenter

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As a carpenter, you'll need to have the right licensure, carpentry certification, and insurance. Not only is this necessary to protect your business against potentially serious lawsuits, but it's required by law.

While you don't necessarily need to go to college or trade school to become a carpenter, you will need to complete an apprenticeship and spend some time as a journeyman. This will ensure that you have all the skills that you need to run your own carpentry business, and it will be necessary to get a carpenter certification.

What Is a Carpenter Journeyman & What Do They Do?

As a journeyman, you'll perform the same tasks as a self-employed carpenter. Not only will this include basic tasks at the job site, but it will also include more complex aspects of the trade, such as taking measurements and choosing the right equipment.

Furthermore, you will need to have a journeyman carpenter certificate. Here are a few examples of the many tasks you'll have as a journeyman:

  • Installing flooring, window frames, and cabinetry
  • Constructing the frame of a new home or business
  • Preparing masonry, lumber, and cement for use on a construction site
  • The demolition of portions of a structure
  • Reading architectural blueprints

Journeyman Carpenter Skills

In order to work as a journeyman carpenter, there are certain essential skills that you'll need to have. These are a few of the most important ones that you'll need to get a journeyman certificate in carpentry.

Basic math skills

You'll need to know how to perform a wide range of basic math problems, such as volume calculations, fractions, and perimeter measurements, to get a carpenter journeyman certificate. Not only will these skills be essential on the job, but you'll need them to get licensed.

Furthermore, ensuring that you have basic math skills will improve the quality of your work, which will make it much easier to land jobs and retain customers.

Physical strength

You'll need to lift and transport heavy items around the job site, and many of them could be as heavy as 80 pounds. So, it's important to make sure that you have plenty of physical strength before getting a journeyman carpenter certification and seeking employment as a carpenter.

Ability to work in harsh environments

As a carpenter, you'll be working outdoors in harsh conditions, such as hot and cold temperatures, rain, and snow. Furthermore, you'll need to take jobs during all seasons.

If you are working in a region that receives significant winter snowfall, you may have to travel in inclement weather to reach the job site as well.

Problem-solving abilities

It isn't uncommon for unexpected situations to arise on the job, which means that your ability to improvise and adapt will be critical. In fact, you might even encounter incomplete or inaccurate blueprints from time to time. Here are a few other examples of situations where you'll need to improvise on the job:

  • When equipment is missing or broken
  • Spacing issues
  • When you encounter problems caused by human error on the job site
  • Performing repairs on an incomplete structure
  • Situations where you need to protect a property from severe weather

Attention to detail

In order to succeed as a carpenter, you'll need to pay close attention to detail. That's because you'll have to take detailed measurements and ensure that you perform all of your tasks with precision.

How to Become a Carpenter Journeyman

In order to become a journeyman, there are several essential steps that you'll need to take. Here's what you'll need to do.

1. Graduate from high school or obtain a GED certificate

What degree do you need to be a carpenter? While you don't necessarily need to go to college or trade school, you'll need to have a high school diploma or GED prior to getting an apprenticeship.

Luckily, there are numerous GED and high school equivalency programs available if you didn't finish high school.

2. Apply for an apprenticeship program

You'll always start out as an apprentice, and it's important to choose your apprenticeship program wisely.

There are numerous apprenticeship programs that you can choose from, which will make it possible to start your career in the field of carpentry.

3. Gain on the job experience

As an apprentice, you'll learn valuable skills that you will need every day on the job. In most cases, your apprenticeship will last for around two years. Then, you'll be able to get your journeyman card.

4. Get your carpenter journeyman card

Your journeyman card will prove that you have all the necessary skills to work as a carpenter. However, you'll still need to work under the supervision of a more experienced carpenter.

Though, it's important to realize that you'll earn significantly more as a journeyman than you did as an apprentice. In fact, your earnings could easily be double the amount you made during your apprenticeship!

What to Expect in the First Years as a Carpenter

After you finish your apprenticeship and time as a journeyman, you'll be able to start your own carpentry business. In most cases, you will work as a journeyman for a period of around two years, and your apprenticeship will typically take approximately three to four years to complete. Though, the specific timeframe depends on the state you live in and the structure of your specific program.

Typically, your earnings will be around $15-$20 an hour as an apprentice and $30-$40 an hour as a journeyman. As a certified carpenter, your earnings could be even higher. After you get certified, you'll be able to choose from numerous positions with construction companies, but you will also have access to plenty of opportunities for self-employment in the field.

If you're wondering, "How much does a master carpenter make?" the answer is that your earnings are likely to be significantly higher. However, you'll need to get a master carpenter certification.

Carpenter at work

What to Do After You Finish a Carpentry Apprenticeship

After you finish a carpentry apprenticeship, you'll need to get your journeyman card. Then, you'll be able to apply to journeyman positions. Luckily, you'll usually be able to continue working at the same company you worked for as an apprentice.

Working as a Journeyman Carpenter

As a journeyman, you will perform a full range of tasks on the job site. Due to the fact that your duties will be the same as those of a certified carpenter, you'll gain all the skills that you'll need to work in the field.

Start With a Journeyman Certification

In order to begin your career as a carpenter, you'll need to get a journeyman certification. While the requirements will vary somewhat from one state to another, you'll always need the following skills:

  • A working knowledge of construction site safety
  • The ability to work with power tools safely
  • The ability to draw sketches freehand
  • A working knowledge of local building codes and regulations
  • An understanding of basic mathematics
  • The ability to read a construction blueprint

Top 7 carpenter certifications in 2022

As a carpenter, there are several certifications that you'll need to work in the field. Here are seven of the best options for a certificate in carpentry.

1. OSHA Safety Certificate

In order to receive OSHA carpenter certifications, you will need to complete a 40-hour program, which will teach you how to implement effective health and safety guidelines on the job. In addition, you'll be able to interpret the Federal Register after completing the certification.

2. EPA Amusement Operators Safety Certification (EPA)

This certification is quite comprehensive, and it will teach you how to utilize effective risk management strategies on the job. This can make it possible to avoid many construction site accidents.

3. Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC)

As a certified lead carpenter, you'll be able to prove to potential clients that you're experienced and reliable. The screening process that you'll go through to get a CLC certification from NARI will be quite thorough, which will make it easier for you to prove your skill and experience to potential clients.

4. Graduate Master Builder (GMB)

If you're wondering how to become a master carpenter, you will have had years of experience as a carpenter, and you'll be able to prove this to potential clients. In fact, you'll need to have 5 to 10 years of experience before you're even able to get this certification.

5. Registered Construction Inspector in Building

As a registered construction inspector, you'll administer contracts and inspect structures. Getting certified as a registered construction inspector can make it possible to land more jobs and increase your earnings.

6. Associate Constructor (AC)

You will typically earn an associate constructor certification if you are in a bachelor's degree program for construction management. This certification will help you prove that you have the necessary skills to manage a construction site.

7. Building Codes and Standards (BC)

A Building Codes and Standards certification will make it possible to prove that you have a working knowledge of occupancy limitations, fire safety, and other important building codes. This certification is often required for carpentry positions.

Licensing Requirements

While your journeyman certification will allow you to perform most carpentry tasks with supervision, there are special licensing requirements for certain tasks that you may be required to perform. However, each state has different licensing requirements for carpenters. So, it's important to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state and locality.

How to Run a Carpentry Business

In addition to your carpentry skills, you'll need to know how to effectively manage the finances of your business and promote your services effectively. Furthermore, there are a few other essential skills that you'll need to run a successful carpentry business, such as these:

  • Green building techniques and designs.
  • How to safely work with hazardous materials on the job site.
  • Familiarity with the unique properties of different types of wood.

Luckily, you will develop all of the necessary skills as a journeyman. This will ensure that you are well prepared to run your own carpentry business.

CoverWallet Offers Comprehensive Insurance Plans for All Carpenters

As a carpenter, you need a comprehensive business insurance policy, which is exactly what CoverWallet offers. Not only do our policies provide coverage up to a million dollars, but we offer a wide range of plans that you can choose from.

Furthermore, we offer both liability insurance and professional indemnity coverage, and our plans are designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. You also may need pollution liability insurance, which we offer.

If you have any questions about our coverage, it will be easy to get in touch with our knowledgeable customer support team by phone, email, or online chat. So, get in touch with us online or give us a call today for more information or to get a free quote!