What does a carpenter do?

Carpenters are an important part of the building, construction and renovation industries. A carpenter builds, installs, repairs and erects wooden frames, foundations, walls and other structural elements used in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. They learn how to cut, measure and shape timber elements to fit exactly, using precise measurements and adjustments to ensure their work is sound. Carpenters work across a wide range of construction projects, from commercial developments to home renovations.

Tasks:

  • Studying building plans for each job
  • Cutting, treating and preparing timber
  • Repairing existing wooden fittings
  • Erecting building frames, roofs and floors
  • Maintaining and sharpening tools

What skills do I need to be a carpenter?

A carpenter must be practical, good with their hands and have great attention to details to complete their work. Good mathematical skills assist in measuring and cutting timber to the correct size and calculating a bill of materials. Carpentry is physically demanding and work on construction sites could involve cramped conditions or heights. You need to be good at communicating and working with others, both tradespeople and clients.

Skills/attributes

  • Attention to detail
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Decent physical fitness
  • Able to work independently
  • Precise and meticulous

Specialisations

There is room for career growth and variation within the trade. You could one day own and operate your own business performing specialised carpentry work.

Cabinetmaker

Cabinetmakers build, repair and install cupboards, cabinets and other furniture as part of a residential or commercial fit-out. Some may choose to specialise even further, working exclusively as a shopfitter for businesses or with private residential clients installing kitchen, bathroom and bedroom furnishings.

Fine Furniture Maker

Working as a craftsperson in fine furniture may require you to design, build and finish custom furniture pieces for clients. Working closely to a design brief, you’ll use a range of power tools and hand tools to create functional and aesthetically pleasing pieces in wood.

Site Foreman

An alternate career path for a carpenter is to progress in seniority on a building site, becoming a foreman responsible for managing the tradespeople working at a building site. Responsibilities include delegating tasks, ensuring workplace health and safety standards are being met and ensuring the quality of the work performed.

Study pathways for carpenters

Generally, those who pursue carpentry as a profession gain vocational training before becoming a qualified carpenter. To work on any building site in Australia, you will need to hold a Construction Induction Card.

Getting Started

Begin a new chapter in your professional life with a qualification in building and construction.

Skill Building

Take your career in a new direction with targeted training in construction.

Professional Development

Learn new trade skills and work towards your carpentry career goals.

Industry Recognition

Find out more about becoming licensed as a qualified carpenter and finding work in the construction industry.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your career as a carpenter.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Current projections indicate that industry growth will remain strong and job openings high for qualified carpenters over the next five years.