Career Options for Carpenters

Career Options for Carpenters


Carpentry and joinery is one of the oldest professions within the trade industry, and is revered and respected like no other. Carpenters are always in great demand, whatever the type of work they are undertaking, and this could encompass a wide range of skills, environments, and practices. 

But sometimes information regarding what exactly is available to carpenters in terms of working opportunity is not that easy to find. Carpentry as a profession is a varied, demanding, and skills-dependent vocation which is by no means restricted to making furniture and measuring wood, although these are of course fundamental to the practice of carpentry. 

The aim of this article is to communicate the rich strands of work available to those with the right carpentry qualifications, to make sure that you are getting the most out of your career, and to enable you to explore all avenues to make your professional life as fulfilling and lucrative as it can be.

No one day as a carpenter will be the same as the last. A career in carpentry will be hugely varied, and will also give you the skills and experience to explore a whole lot of other professional avenues. For example, the environment in which you can work as a carpenter will vary considerably. You could work on a construction site, domestically in clients’ homes, or in a workshop – even all three. 

Carpenters, like all tradespeople, are in consistent demand, and their rates and salaries are currently rising. Depending on the level of qualification and experience, a carpenter can expect to earn between £25,000-30,000; a more qualified and experienced carpenter can earn between £30,000-45,000; and somebody with their own business can even earn upwards of this.

Carpenters will primarily work with wood and other natural materials, but not exclusively so. For domestic carpenters alone, the range of work available to you is substantial. From designing, cutting and building furniture, to installing floor joists, floorboards, roof trusses and wall partitions. From renovating entire properties and roofing, to installing kitchens and other home interiors, such as staircases, doors, skirting boards, cupboards. A house is no house without any of the above, and so this alone should tell you the demand which will always exist for carpenters. 

Domestic carpentry is possibly the most common form of carpentry work, but it is by no means the only one. As well as residential buildings, you could also work on commercial buildings, much larger establishments which house offices, businesses, and a whole range of other types of institutions. The nature of the work will then of course depend on the environment in which you’re working, and you will learn to work within a range of such environments.

But that’s just the inside world. Depending on your qualifications, and the extent of your experience, there is a whole array of career opportunities for carpenters which involves structures beyond either residential or commercial properties. For example, you could work on designing and building frames for bridges, structures for roads, dams, and other similar kinds of large external structures. Renovating historic buildings is also a fascinating and well-paid niche of carpentry which requires a particular level of skill and attention to detail. 

Even these few examples have barely scraped the surface of the kind of work opportunities available to carpenters and joiners. But what makes carpentry skills so valuable is the fact that they will provide you with an incredible array of transferable skills which are invaluable not only for work within the construction industry, but also relevant to careers beyond it. 

Electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, plasterers – you name it – all from time to time will need to call on a carpenter to supply their services before they can continue their work. Many of them therefore decide that it would be easier – and financially beneficial – to upskill and acquire these qualifications themselves. This is one valuable asset of having any trade qualification: that you will always depend on it being of value to you in your working life, and the more you have of them the more self-sufficient you will be as a tradesperson. Carpentry is one such essential trades skill, which will always boost your opportunities for work within the construction industry – whatever it is you set out to do.

But beyond the construction industry, carpentry qualifications are invaluable. Whether you later decide to go into design, architecture, or engineering, carpentry is a relevant and essential skill to possess. You might stay within the construction industry and become a manager of construction sites, or a construction estimator. You could start your own business and manage a construction company. You could train new apprentices and work in helping the next generation of carpenters become qualified in the world of further education. You could design stages for theatre, or work in heritage restoration. 

Whatever you do in this field, carpentry will play an essential part of it. And that’s why becoming a qualified carpenter will always be a decision you will be glad to have made – it can only lift you up higher. 

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