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

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Decline slightly employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 170 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 205 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

At the outset of the pandemic in March, carpenters were moderately impacted. Private worksites were impacted by physical distancing requirements, leading to the suspension of work on some projects and general uncertainty about the state of the construction industry going into the busy season. Disrupted supply chains caused a large increase in material prices, rendering some planned projects uneconomical. These events resulted in temporary layoffs, which affected a large percentage of this occupational group. An influx of people moving to the province, a surge of interest in home renovations, and an exceptionally tight housing market provided a major boost to residential construction activity. This trend appears to have overwhelmed the negative effects experienced earlier in the pandemic. In some areas of the province, COVID-19 has made a pre-existing shortage of carpenters worse, as some decided to stop working or retire early to avoid exposure. As the Health Protection Act Order remains in effect, some carpenters are working with personal protective equipment (PPE).

Employment prospects for carpenters are good, thanks to the current surge in demand. In addition to strong residential activity, several non-residential projects have absorbed nearly all the available supply of carpenters in that sector. These favourable conditions are expected to persist for the next couple of years. The limited supply of available carpenters may apply upward pressure on wages as contractors and employers compete for a dwindling supply of workers. Some employers have relaxed requirements in response to the shortage. Jobseekers with less experience may benefit from this hiring environment.

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

Hourly Pay

$14.00

Minimum

$20.67

Median

$33.63

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

18.1%

Southern

17.1%

Annapolis Valley

16.2%

Cape Breton

16.1%

North Shore

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%

Apprenticeship

$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%

Apprenticeship

$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

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

PO Box 220

Halifax, NS B3J 2M4

(866) 679-6722

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Carpentry/carpenter

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class includes any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to lay out, cut, fabricate, erect, install, and repair wooden structures and fixtures, using hand and power tools. These programs 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 - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Apprenticeship Training

Department of Labour and Advanced Education 1256 Barrington Street, 3rd Fl, Box 578

Halifax, NS B3J 2S9

(800) 494-5651

Nova Scotia Community College - Ivany Campus

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Carpenter Millwright College (CMC) Inc.

1000 Sackville Drive

Lower Sackville, NS B4E 0C2

(902) 252-3553

Marine maintenance/fitter and ship repair technology/technician

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class includes any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair outboard and inboard engines; test, maintain, and repair steering devices and electrical systems; repair metal, wood, and fibreglass hulls and vessel components; fabricate and maintain sails; and repair and balance propellers and drive shafts.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Apprenticeship Training

Department of Labour and Advanced Education 1256 Barrington Street, 3rd Fl, Box 578

Halifax, NS B3J 2S9

(800) 494-5651

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Boat Builder

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This job 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
1256 Barrington Street, 3rd Fl, Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Carpenter

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This job 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
1256 Barrington Street, 3rd Fl, Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651

Contacts

Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association
124 Chain Lake Drive, Unit B
Halifax, NS B3S 1A2
Tel: (800) 668-2001
Fax: (902) 450-5448
Construction Association of Nova Scotia
260 Brownlow Avenue, Unit 3
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1V9
Tel: (902) 468-2267
Fax: (902) 468-2470
Atlantic Canada Regional Council of Carpenters, Millwrights and Allied Workers
P.O. Box 3040
Paradise, NL A1L 3W2
Tel: (709) 364-5430
BuildForce Canada
220 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1150
Ottawa, ON K1P 5Z9
Tel: (613) 569-5552
Fax: (613) 569-1220
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
10 Ragged Lake Blvd. Unit 1
Halifax, NS B3S 1C2
Tel: (902) 832-4761
Fax: (902) 832-4763
Red Seal
c/o Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency PO Box 578
Halifax, B3J 2S9
Tel: (902) 424-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.