People who are interested in learning carpentry skills now have a lot of choices before them. Many community colleges offer carpentry classes with programs ranging from certificates to Associate degrees. There are apprenticeship programs available which are approved by government apprenticeship standards regulating agencies. There are even a few options for taking carpentry classes online and getting a degree in as little as 4 months. Here are five of the best options for obtaining carpentry skills:
1. Penn Foster Career School
This school offers an online Carpenter Career Diploma Program that you can finish in as little as four months. The training includes practical exercises that provide opportunities for hands-on practice as well as an option to work on real-world jobs under the tutelage of a building professional. The course provides everything you need to start a carpentry career, while providing the convenience of learning at home, and the flexibility of learning at your own pace. The carpentry course is comprehensive and covers such subjects as:
- Blueprint reading and site preparation,
- Building codes and layouts,
- Lumber, building materials and fasteners,
- Framing floors, stairs, exterior and interior walls
- Hand tools and power tools
Two textbooks “Finish Carpentry” and “Smart Business for Contractors” are given at the end of the course.
2. California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association
The California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association offers an apprenticeship course for carpenters that involve hands-on work, side by side with professionals. This course is ideal for people who want to work while they learn, obtain work benefits, and get exposure to prospective employers in the building industry. Applicants must be 18 years old (17 with parental consent), physically fit, able to read and understand English, and must provide proof that they are legally employable in the US.
Apprentice carpenters serve a minimum term of 48 months (4 years), complete 4800 hours of work and 612 hours of class instruction at a Carpenters Training Center. The program is co-sponsored by contractors who are signatory to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters agreements and the union. Medical, dental, vision care, annuity and pension benefits are provided.
3. College of Southern Nevada
At the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, prospective carpenters may opt to take either a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate of Applied Science in Building Technology with an emphasis on carpentry. Both courses contain the same basic carpentry content, the only difference being the associate degree programs increased general education requirements. The course includes training on Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) rules and regulations as they apply to carpentry, and the Industrial Residential Code. Graduates of the program are expected to have mastered blueprint reading, identifying different types of lumber, and be adept at using power, hand, and pneumatic tools.
4. American River College
The American River College in Sacramento, California offers an apprenticeship program approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards of the California Department of Industrial Relations, in a real college setting. The apprenticeship courses can lead to a Certificate in Carpenter Apprenticeship after 36.5 units of coursework. An Associate of Arts Degree in Carpentry may be obtained by enrolling in electives to boost the total coursework units to 60.
Both programs include training on estimating, building codes, construction processes, safety, and blueprint reading. Specific carpentry classes on most phases of construction such as roofing, framing, concrete pre-casting and pre-stressing, floors, foundations, welding, and interior and exterior finish are also held. The apprentices get lots of opportunity to work alongside professional carpenters and builders.
These programs are ideal for those who want to learn carpentry with the hands-on approach of an apprenticeship, and at the same time earn a real college certificate or associate degree.
5. Austin Community College
The Austin Community College offers a certificate program in Building Construction Technology – Carpentry Specialization. This is a program that requires taking 38 units of coursework to graduate from. Instruction is focused on providing a “ground up” description of the processes involved in the construction of floors, walls, roof framing, interior and exterior finishing. Students are also taught blueprint reading, construction safety and job estimating. This course is ideal for people who are interested in framing houses or aspiring to be framing sub-contractors. The college offers job placement services.
There are fast-track online ways to get carpenter training, a formal college associate degree in the building trades with a specialization in carpentry and a thorough and hands-on carpentry apprenticeship training available. Each offer their own advantages and disadvantages.
The choice is yours.