What Does a Carpenter (General) Do?

General Carpenters (403A) work mainly with wood, wood-substitutes, or other material such as drywall, plaster, steel, copper or tiles. General Carpenters may construct, erect, install, maintain or repair various structures and be responsible for framing and forming or finishing cabinets, doors, stairs and other major wooden structures.



Learn about the business case for training apprentices in the carpentry field

Essential Skills for Success as a Carpenter Red Seal           NOC Code: 7271

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Reading and interpreting blueprints and drawings
  • Planning the most effective way to complete a project
  • Using knowledge of the qualities of wood (grain, density, flexibility) to select the best material for the job
  • Laying out, measuring, cutting assembling and joining various materials
  • Using a variety of hand and power tools safely and effectively

You may find additional information about  General Carpentry and applicable standards at the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website - Construction sector link: www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/construction.

To view the Essential Skills necessary to work as a Carpenter click on the following link and scroll down to Carpenter NOC code 7271: http://www10.hrsdc.gc.ca/CE/English/ShowProfile.aspx?v=201

What Preparation and Training Do You Need

To become a General Carpenter, you should preferably have a secondary school diploma  this is usually required by employers and unions today, but grade 10 is currently the legal minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades. Completion of  a 3,844 hour up to 7200 hour apprenticeship will include a combination of on-the-job and in-school training, before successfully writing an examination to obtain your Certificate of Qualification. General Carpenter skills are transferable to other trades as well. . If you are currently attending high school, you may benefit from enroling in a Construction focused Specialist High Skills Major program. For more information, please click on the following link:


What’s Your Future as a Carpenter?

Most Carpenters work full-time, usually with building construction firms or residential/commercial building developers, but a significant number are self-employed. Technological changes in the field will mean that carpenters will need to become computer literate in order to work with computer based drawing, estimating and cost reporting systems. Examples of typical employers include:

  • Interior and Finishing construction companies
  • Residential Building Developers
  • Commercial Building Developers
  • Building Construction firms
  • Self-employed

For additional information about this career, check out the construction sector website at: www.CareersInConstruction.ca

Wage Rate

  • An Apprentice generally makes significantly less than a journeyperson
  • A Carpenter’s wage increases as he/she gains more experience and skills
  • As skills and knowledge increase, wages do as well; a general Carpenter can make from $18.00-$33/hour depending on the quality of their work and what geographic area they live in


Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Carpenter For You?

Can you stand for long periods of time, carry and lift heavy material?

Yes      No

Can you communicate effectively with co-workers and customers?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy planning a job from start to finish?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy keeping up with new technology and new materials? shape or form?

Yes      No

Can you look at a blueprint or diagram and visualize how things come together?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy working with numbers and performing calculations?

Yes      No

Are you good at working independently or as part of a team to accomplish a task?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Carpenter may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Industrial Woodworker
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Machinist
  • Plumber
  • Tool & Die Maker
  • Electrician


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