Carpenter Classes and Courses Overview

Fundamentals of Residential and Light Commercial Carpentry

Introductory carpentry classes provide students with an overview of the methods and technologies used in residential and light commercial carpentry and are typically taken at the beginning of a carpentry program. Hands-on experience and lectures make up the class content, which can cover building codes, site layout, estimating, interior and exterior finishes, framing and cabinetry. Additional subjects of instruction may include footing and foundation forming, concrete specifications, OSHA/WISHA construction safety standards and basic carpentry math.

Advanced Residential Carpentry

Advanced residential carpenter classes focus on teaching students techniques in planning, measuring, installing fixtures and reading blueprints. Students learn about distance measurement and leveling and also review the equipment and tools used in site layout. Other advanced topics covered are exterior wall components and systems, insulation and applied building codes. Students in advanced carpentry classes also review how to read the symbols and abbreviations used on residential blueprints and practice job estimating, sustainable building practices and energy efficiency techniques.

Residential Remodeling for Carpenters

This course introduces students to remodeling practices and demolitions. Students learn how to plan a remodeling project, complete basic plumbing and electrical jobs, apply for permits, match finished materials and estimate costs. Instruction in reading architectural blueprints for residential remodels is generally included, and students become familiar with specifications, codes and construction drawings. Some residential remodeling courses provide hands-on learning experience by requiring group or individual remodeling projects. This course is usually taken after basic carpentry courses.

Fundamentals of Cabinet Building

Basic kitchen design, construction joints, cabinetry terms, standard cabinet sizes and wood joinery are usually introduced in this course. Students may also learn about hardwood and softwood cabinet types, sheet materials, fasteners and power tool operations. Different sizes and types of cabinets, such as upper and base cabinets, are generally covered, and students may participate in a hands-on project building cabinets or counter tops. Because of this course's specialized nature, it may be taken as an elective or at the end of a program.

Exterior and Interior Finishes and Trim

Hands-on techniques are generally introduced in this course, which covers exterior moisture, interior and exterior doors, window trim installation and custom built-in cabinetry. When studying interior finish features, students learn about sheet rock, taping and texturing and cabinet installation. Coursework on exterior finish features may include estimating time and costs, framing, laying out rafters for roofs and installing outside doors and windows. This course is taken after introductory courses.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the 2020-2030 decade, employment opportunities for carpenters are expected to grow 2%, which is slower than average for most occupations. The average salary for a carpenter in May 2020 was $54,200 (www.bls.gov).