Offered for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders, the Carpentry Program is designed to prepare students for entry-level employment and/or career education at the college level. The program of instruction and training takes place at the on-site building project as well as in the shop and classroom on the WMCTC Campus. Students begin by learning the basic skills of carpentry and Cabinet-making through hands-on experience in residential construction. Cooperative Education and Apprentice employment opportunities are made available when the student is ready. In the final semester, students are prepared for further education with an introduction to construction management.

    Construct, erect, install, or repair 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 roll insulation. These include 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.

    As is true of other building trades, carpentry work is sometimes strenuous. Prolonged standing, climbing, bending, and kneeling are often necessary. Carpenters risk injury working with sharp or rough materials, using sharp tools and power equipment, and working in situations where they might slip or fall. Although many carpenters work indoors, those that work outdoors are subject to variable weather conditions.
    Some carpenters change employers each time they finish a construction job. Others alternate between working for a contractor and working as contractors themselves on small jobs, depending on where the work is available.


    Location Pay
    10% 25% Median 75% 90%
    United States Hourly $12.33 $15.40 $19.63 $26.78 $35.94
    Yearly $25,600 $32,000 $40,800 $55,700 $74,800
    Pennsylvania Hourly $12.46 $15.60 $20.09 $27.36 $35.94
    Yearly $25,900 $32,400 $41,800 $56,900 $74,800


    United States Employment Percent 
    Annual Job Openings
    2014 2024
    Carpenters 945,400 1,005,800 +6% 16,910
    Pennsylvania Employment Percent 
    Annual Job Openings
    2014 2024
    Carpenters 48,880 53,760 +10% 1,050
    Job opportunities for carpenters are expected to be excellent over the 2004-14 period, particularly for those with the most skills. Employment of carpenters is expected to increase about as fast as average for all occupations through 2014, and turnover also creates a large number of openings each year. Contractors report having trouble finding skilled carpenters to fill many of their openings due in part to the fact that many job seekers are not inclined to go into construction, preferring work that is less strenuous with more comfortable working conditions. 

    The need for carpenters is expected to grow as construction activity increases in response to demand for new housing, office, and retail space and for modernizing and expanding schools and industrial plants. A strong home remodeling market will also create a large demand for carpenters.

    Some of the demand for carpenters, however, will be offset by expected productivity gains resulting from the increasing use of prefabricated components and improved fasteners and tools. Prefabricated wall panels, roof assemblies, stairs, and pre-hung doors and windows can be installed very quickly. Instead of having to be built on the work site, prefabricated walls, partitions, and stairs can be lifted into place in one operation; beams—and, in some cases, entire roof assemblies—are lifted into place using a crane. As prefabricated components become more standardized, builders will use them more often. In addition, improved adhesives are reducing the time needed to join materials, and lightweight, cordless, and pneumatic tools, such as nailers and drills, all continue to make carpenters more efficient. New and improved tools, equipment, techniques, and materials also have vastly increased a carpenter's versatility.

    Carpenters with all-around skills will have better opportunities for steady work than carpenters who can perform only a few relatively simple, routine tasks. Carpenters can experience periods of unemployment because of the short-term nature of many construction projects, winter slowdowns in construction activity in northern areas, and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. During economic downturns, the number of job openings for carpenters declines. Building activity depends on many factors that vary with the state of the economy, i.e., interest rates, availability of mortgage funds, government spending, and business investment.
    Job opportunities for carpenters also vary by geographic area. Construction activity parallels the movement of people and businesses and reflects differences in local economic conditions. The areas with the largest population increases will also provide the best job opportunities for carpenters and apprenticeship opportunities for persons seeking to enter carpentry.


    • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
    • Penn College of Technology