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Construct, erect, install, or repair structures and fixtures made of wood and comparable materials, such as concrete forms; building frameworks, including partitions, joists, studding, and rafters; and wood stairways, window and door frames, and hardwood floors. May also install cabinets, siding, drywall, and batt or roll insulation. Includes brattice builders who build doors or brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in underground passageways.
Titles for this career often contain these words
Only 6% of carpenters have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by carpenters
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer carpenters have bachelor's degrees than 82% of other careeers.
Workforce size
Carpenters, with 1,006,500 workers, form a larger workforce than 95% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for carpenters are expected to grow by 8%, and should have about 116,300 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of automation for carpenters is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for carpenters compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most carpenters earn.
Women account for 2% of carpenters -- that's a smaller percentage than 94% of other jobs.
Gender of carpenters
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For carpenters, the median men's salary was 21% more the median woman's salary.
About 11% of carpenters are minority, and 33% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of carpenters
Pacific Islander
American Indian
Context: Foreign-born workers (33%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Carpenters per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Context: workers are union members
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of carpenters who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (83%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (76%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (69%)
  • Time Pressure (66%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (54%)
  • Exposed to High Places (41%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (39%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (37%)
  • Consequence of Error (31%)
Salary and diversity
What do carpenters earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for carpenters (BLS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for carpenters (ACS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
Carpenters: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $37KAll jobs' median $45K$37K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire carpenters.
Employers of Carpenters (ACS)
Private for-profit (68.2%)
Private not-for-profit (1.6%)
Local government (1.1%)
State government (0.6%)
Federal government (0.6%)
Self-employed incorporated (7.1%)
Self-employed not incorporated (20.6%)
Working without pay (0.2%)
Distribution: Salaries of carpenters by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$35K$35K$32K$38K$43K$45K$42K$45K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of carpenters by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for carpenters

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
Number employed

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Carpenters and gender

With 2% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 94% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
Gender of Carpenters
Men (98%)
Women (2%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for carpenters tops that, with the median salary for men 21% higher than the median salary for women.

Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Carpenters have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 64% of other jobs.


We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of carpenters

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority carpenters than for 91% of other careers. Although this career does not include a large percentage of minorities, it does hire more foreign-born people that most other careers.

Race/origin of carpenters
White (78% )
Other (12% )
Black (5% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (2% )
Asian (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
Distribution: Salaries for carpenters by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$31K$31K$31K$33K$33K$36K$39K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KOtherHispanicAmerican IndianMultiracialBlackWhiteAsianPacific Islander
Distribution: Salaries for carpenters by nativity
$31K$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Carpenters and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 12% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 48% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time carpenters is shown following.

$15K$35K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by carpenters

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), carpenters typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as carpenters as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for carpenters

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required. High school courses in mathematics, mechanical drawing, and general vocational technical training are considered useful. Some technical schools offer associate’s degrees in carpentry. The programs vary in length and teach basics and specialties in carpentry.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for carpenters

Many carpenters need a driver’s license or reliable transportation, since their work is done on jobsites.

Carpenters do not need certification for the job. However, there are certificate programs that teach basics for carpenters interested in completing an apprenticeship, such as the Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) offered by the Home Builders Institute. Other programs offer certifications by specialty. For example, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers various levels of certificates for remodeling.

Education attained by carpenters
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for carpenters? Below we see the distribution of carpenters salaries based on the education attained.

$30K$37K$38K$42K$39K$36K$38K$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KNone (26%)High School (43%)Some College (19%)Associate's/Cert. (5%)Bachelor's Degree (5%)Master's Degree (1%)Professional Degree (0%)Doctorate (0%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Switching Careers
The most common next careers for carpenters

What jobs will most carpenters hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of carpenters reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

CarpentersConstruction LaborersConstruction ManagersFirst-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction WorkersCarpet, floor, and tile installers and finishersPainters and paperhangers
Lateral job transitions for carpenters

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 6 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as carpenters as well as 1% of respondents after working as carpenters. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Prior and next careers for carpenters: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as carpenters? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of carpenters surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most carpenters? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as carpenters. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
Number of Carpenters per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where carpenters earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for carpenters compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for carpenters.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
Location-adjusted median salary for Carpenters (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which carpenters earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?