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Summary of occupation

Carpenters build and install the wooden and metal structures and fixtures that make up commercial or residential buildings. They may also finish and repair wooden structures such as foundations, walls, roofs, windows and doors. They plan and construct floors and frameworks, roofs and ceililngs, which may be made from either timber or metal, and may also lay timber floors.

Carpenters also cut and shape the materials they work with, and assemble or nail them into place. They may also install door handles, locks, flooring underlay, insulating material and other fixtures.

Carpenters are needed throughout the state, from the construction of office buildings in the Perth CBD, to the construction of houses in suburban areas, or the buildings for new mining operations in the Pilbara.

ANZSCO description: Constructs, erects, installs, renovates and repairs structures and fixtures of wood, plywood, wallboard and other materials. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Carpenter and Joiner, Joiner, Woodworker
Specialisations: Commercial Carpenter, Fixing Carpenter, Formwork Carpenter, Prop and Scenery Maker, Residential Carpenter
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Carpenters need:

  • to be good with their hands
  • problem-solving skills
  • physical fitness and the ability to undertake manual labour for extended periods
  • good communication and teamwork skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • accuracy and efficiency
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Working conditions

Carpenters work on building and construction sites and as such may work in dirty, dustry, muddy or noisy conditions. Carpenters may also have to work in cramped spaces, or at heights. Building sites may be hazardous spaces, and with the use of power tools, carpenters will usually be required to wear safety gear.

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Salary details


While completing an apprenticeship, a first year apprentice carpenter will earn at least $410.41 per week, increasing each year of their apprenticeship. Once qualified, most carpenters work as independent subcontractors, running their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience. 

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Tools and technologies

As carpenters work mostly with different types of timber, they need to be familiar with a range of power and hand tools, precise measuring equipment such as spirit levels and instruments for measuring angles, as well as platforms and ladders for working at heights. Depending on the scale of the job they are working on they may also need to use safety harnesses. They need to use safety equipment such as hard hats, gloves, steel-capped boots, safety glasses and ear protection.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a carpenter, you usually need to complete an apprenticeship in carpenter, carpentry and joinery or carpentry (housing). The apprenticeships usually take between 24 to 48 months to complete and are available as school-based apprenticeships.

You may improve your chances of gaining an apprenticeship by completing the Certificate II in Construction Pathways [pre-apprenticeship (carpentry)] offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia (WA).

You may also improve your chances of gaining an apprenticeship by completing a traineeship in building and construction trade. The traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

In WA, carpenters carrying out work valued at more than $20 000 must be registered as, or work under the supervision of, a registered building practitioner. Contact the Building Commission Division of the Department ​of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety for more information.

​Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a "White Card"). In WA, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by the WorkSafe Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety​. ​ 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Related links

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Carpenter Video Carpenter Occupation

Carpenters build and install the wooden and metal structures and fixtures that make up commercial or residential buildings.

Carpenter and Joiner Video Carpenter and Joiner Occupation

Carpenters build and install the wooden and metal structures and fixtures that make up commercial or residential buildings.

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