Carpenters

(NOC 7271)

in All Trades and Transportation

Carpenters build, install, renovate, maintain, and repair structures and components of structures made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel, concrete, 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. Boat builders build, assemble and repair small commercial vessels used to navigate in, on through or above water using any method of propulsion. They work for boat building companies and repair shops.

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.

Outlook for carpenters: good, a better than average chance of a qualified individual finding work.

Size of the occupation in Nova Scotia: large, with job opportunities occurring regularly.

Demand: expected to rise between 2021 and 2023 due to increased activity in the construction sector. Retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities.

Work hours: full-time hours, normally. Jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions as both are common. Seasonal jobs tend to be in summer.

Carpenters are in high demand in many areas of mainland Nova Scotia, due in part to the high level of housing construction and renovation activity currently taking place. Opportunities for carpenters are not always advertised through traditional channels. Possession of a vehicle is often a job requirement, which may be a barrier to some candidates. The limited supply of carpenters has prompted some employers or contractors to offer improved compensation, drawing workers from up to an hour away. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the shortage of labour in this occupation, as containment measures disrupted student work placements and hands-on training.

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

$15.00

Minimum

$24.00

Median

$37.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Carpenters build, install, renovate, maintain, and repair structures and components of structures made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel, concrete, 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.

Boat builders build, assemble and repair small commercial vessels used to navigate in, on through or above water using any method of propulsion. They work for boat building companies and repair shops.

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.
  • Constructs formwork (concrete), framing, including floor systems, a, decks and wall systems, exterior and interior finishes and performs renovation specific activities.
  • 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.
  • Use wood, fibre or glass-reinforced plastic, steel and other metals to build the hull of a vessel.
  • Use and maintain hand and power tools, dismantle, inspect, replace and assemble boat equipment and partners, install internal and external boat hardware fittings, build boat frameworks, build interior support structures for boats and install insulation.
  • Assembling sections of the boat like the rigging and mast if it is a sailing vessel or installing the engine.

Sample job titles

  • apprentice carpenter
  • boatbuilder
  • carpenter
  • construction carpenter
  • framing carpenter
  • journeyperson carpenter
  • prefabricated house carpenter
  • renovation carpenter
  • rough carpenter

Skills

  • Manual dexterity.
  • Hand-eye coordination.
  • Spatial perception and materials handling ability.
  • An aptitude for math.
  • Balance for working on scaffolding.
  • The ability to follow and communicate written instructions.
  • The ability to work as a team.
  • Some artistic ability is an asset.
  • Enjoy creating things with their hands, working with wood, and mastering their craft.

Job requirements

  • Array
  • Array

Other considerations

  • Setting: both indoors or outdoors, at heights, from ladders, staging, rooftops, in confined spaces, and in hazardous settings. Working conditions vary.
  • Some jobs are mainly indoors, carpenters are permanently employed, and work a 40-hour work week. Other jobs are mainly outdoors and impacted by seasonal unemployment with routine overtime in peak periods.
  • Carpenters may work alone or in teams.
  • Risks: slips, falls, falling objects, injuries from sharp hand and power tools. Carpenters must stand, crouch, and kneel for long periods. Often need to handle items weighing up to 25kg.
  • Carpenters may specialize in forming, framing, finishing, interior systems, or renovation.
  • Apprentices usually earn a percentage of the journeyperson (fully qualified) rate. This percentage increases as each level of the apprenticeship program is completed.
  • Jobs in the construction industry are affected by seasonal changes and economic conditions. Work may be on a project basis. Workers should be prepared for periods of unemployment.
  • Experienced tradespeople may advance to positions like foreperson or superintendent or be self-employed.
  • They may progress to related occupations like construction managers, project managers, supervisors, inspectors, home building managers, renovation managers, or contractors.
  • Carpenters work in every part of building construction, which provides them an advantage when applying for supervisory positions.
  • Everyone has fair access to participate and succeed in the apprenticeship system. Everyone who develops the necessary skills and abilities should be able to succeed in the trades and trade qualification system. Work environments in the province support women and equity-seeking communities.

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

Apprenticeship - Boat Builder

Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship is a structured training program leading to certification in the skilled trades. An apprenticeship combines supervised on-the-job training and experience with theoretical technical training. You find a job in your trade first and then enter into an apprenticeship agreement. You work 5,400 hours mentored by a certified journeyperson and gain the required skills and knowledge. You also take some technical courses. The Nova Scotia Boat Builders Association administers the boat builder trade program.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Apprenticeship - Carpenter

Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship is a structured training program leading to certification in the skilled trades. An apprenticeship combines supervised on-the-job training and experience with theoretical technical training. You find a job in your trade first and then enter into an apprenticeship agreement. You work 7,200 hours mentored by a certified journeyperson and gain the required skills and knowledge. You also take some technical courses. The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency administers the trades training and certification system. A carpenter apprenticeship prepares apprentices to lay out, cut, fabricate, erect, install, and repair wooden structures and fixtures, using hand and power tools.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Carpentry - Pre-apprenticeship College Program

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

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

Trade Qualifier

Trades Program

The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency also offers a path to trades certification outside of a formal apprenticeship agreement with a qualified journeyperson. This option includes a set amount of required hours of related experience in the trade, passing a certification exam, and other criteria. Contact the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency for more details.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Trade Qualifier - Boat Builder

Trades Program

The Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency and Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association also offers a path to trades certification outside of a formal apprenticeship agreement with a qualified journeyperson. This option includes a set amount of required hours of related experience in the trade, passing a certification exam, and other criteria. Contact the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association for more details.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

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 work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
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 work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association
Dartmouth, 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 Boatbuilders Association
Dartmouth, NS
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
Halifax, NS
Atlantic Home Building and Renovation Sector Council
Halifax, NS
Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades
Lakeside, NS
Merit Nova Scotia
Halifax, NS
Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trade Council
Sydney, NS