Carpenters

(NOC 7271)

in All Trades and Transportation

Carpenters build, install, maintain, and repair structures and components of structures made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel, and other materials. They work for construction companies, carpentry contractors, and maintenance departments of factories, plants and other businesses, or they may be self-employed.

Job Outlook

Good

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  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 555 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 4040 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 8425 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Carpenters most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. With employment conditions being seasonal in nature, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year are fairly common.

The median employment income for 40% of Carpenters who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $38,527. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$16.00

Minimum

$23.00

Median

$34.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$4,640

Minimum

$26,101

Median

$59,012

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.50

Minimum

$27.25

Median

$35.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Carpenters build, install, maintain, and repair structures and components of structures made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel, and other materials. They work for construction companies, carpentry contractors, and maintenance departments of factories, plants and other businesses, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

Carpenters:

  • Read and interpret blueprints, drawings, and sketches to determine specifications and calculate requirements.
  • Prepare layouts that meet building codes using measuring tools.
  • Measure, cut, shape, assemble and join materials made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel, and other materials.
  • Build foundations, install floor beams, lay subflooring and build walls and roof systems.
  • Fit and install trim items like doors, stairs, moulding, and hardware.
  • Maintain, repair, and renovate residences and wooden structures in mills, mines, hospitals, industrial plants and other businesses.
  • Supervise apprentices and other construction workers.
  • May prepare cost estimates for clients.

Sample job titles

  • apprentice carpenter
  • boatbuilder
  • carpenter
  • construction carpenter
  • framing carpenter
  • journeyman/woman carpenter
  • prefabricated house carpenter
  • renovation carpenter
  • rough carpenter

Skills

  • This work requires good hand-eye coordination, spatial perception, and material handling abilities. You should be in excellent physical condition and be willing to work under adverse weather conditions and at heights from ladders, staging, and rooftops. You must also be able to follow instructions and cooperate with others as part of a team. Some artistic ability is an asset.

Job requirements

  • High school is usually required.
  • A three- to four-year apprenticeship program or a combination of over four years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses in carpentry is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Trade certification for carpenters is available, but voluntary, in Nova Scotia.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) is also available to qualified carpenters upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Other considerations

  • Jobs in the construction industry are strongly affected by seasonal changes and general economic conditions. As a result, workers in these jobs should be prepared for periods of unemployment. Also, many work on a project basis and can expect periods of unemployment throughout the year. The wage rate for apprentices is usually a percentage of the journeyperson rate, increasing upon completion of each stage of the apprenticeship program. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

6,770

employed in 2016

85.3%

employed full-time

26.5%

self employed

1.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
98.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
48

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

32.5%

Halifax

$31,279 median annual income
18.1%

Southern

$21,156 median annual income
17.1%

Annapolis Valley

$23,174 median annual income
16.2%

Cape Breton

$24,724 median annual income
16.1%

North Shore

$27,880 median annual income

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

83.4%

Construction

4.4%

Manufacturing

1.6%

Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services

1.6%

Retail trade

1.5%

Educational services

What is the age of Employment?

25.0%

45-54

25.0%

55-64

19.0%

25-34

17.0%

35-44

8.0%

15-24

6.0%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

33.2%

Trade Certification

$31,351 median annual income
22.7%

High school

$23,265 median annual income
21.8%

College Diploma

$26,521 median annual income
17.6%

Less than high school

$22,255 median annual income
3.3%

Bachelor

$22,047 median annual income

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Trade Certification

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

Carpentry

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to lay out, cut, fabricate, erect, install, and repair wooden structures and fixtures, using hand and power tools. They include courses in technical mathematics, framing, construction materials and selection, job estimating, blueprint reading, foundations and roughing-in, finish carpentry techniques, and applicable codes and standards.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Apprenticeship Training

Halifax, NS

Carpenter Millwright College (CMC) Inc.

Lower Sackville, NS

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Marine Maintenance/Fitter and Ship Repair Technician

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair outboard and inboard engines, test, maintain, and repair steering devices and electrical systems, repair hulls and vessel components, make and maintain sails, and repair and balance propellers and drive shafts.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Apprenticeship Training

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Boat Builder

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
Carpenter

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS

Contacts

Canadian Home Builder's Association Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS
Construction Association of Nova Scotia
Dartmouth, NS
Atlantic Canada Regional Council of Carpenters, Millwrights and Allied Workers
Various, NS
BuildForce Canada
Ottawa, ON
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
Halifax, NS

Additional resources