Carpenter Wages and Salaries

Perhaps you are considering the carpentry/construction field as a career. You may know about the various education paths to become a carpenter; formal apprenticeships, technical schools and on-the-job training as a helper. What you'd like to know now is the kind of salaries or wages carpenters make.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median salary in 2010 for a carpenter was $39,530 per year with the top 10 percent earning more than $71,660 per year. The outlook for this job is very good, with an expected growth of 20% by the year 2020. Individuals in an apprenticeship usually make about 30 to 50 percent of what a fully trained carpenter makes. This pay increases as they progress through the apprenticeship and when they successfully complete the program they are considered to be a journey worker and make the same starting pay.

Carpenter Salaries Are Affected by Many Factors

Salaries may vary by location, with highly populated areas like New York and California having some of the higher salaries. According to a list of construction companies, there is a wide range of salary by the area and company. For instance Jo Rose Fine Cabinets in Tulsa, OK states their carpenter's average salary is $23,400, while Klos Delux Construction in Easton, CT reports their carpenter's average salary to be $57,554. Adelphi Contractor in Harrison, NY reports a much higher salary of $71,386 for its carpenters.

Specializing in an area of construction may also affect the carpenter's salary. General construction workers make an average median salary of $38,240 while those in non-residential building earn the most. Most carpenters work by the hour since jobs are temporary and 39 percent of all carpenters are self employed. The upside of being self employed is being able to set your own schedule, but down sides are lost time due to inclement weather and construction delays. Many carpenters work full time; including working weekends and evenings. Overtime is very common in order to meet deadlines.

Another factor in a carpenter's wages is if they are part of a union or not. According to the Carpenters Local 210, the union wages in Connecticut range from $19.25 to $22.70 an hour; dependent upon the type of job and month the work is performed. Non-union wages range from $6.00 to $30.00 an hour; again dependent upon the type of job and whether the worker is documented or not. Once more, according to the Carpenters Local 210, the latest figures for union wages are approximately $19.25 per hour for residential work and $22.70 for commercial work in April, and $21.15 per hour for highway work in May. Non-union wages range again from $6.00 to $$30.00 per hour for residential, commercial and highway work; with a mean range of $15 to $18 per hour. The upper end consists of wages for dry-wallers, who traditionally receive a higher pay. The lower end, $6 to $8 per hour, consists of skilled laborers, who are mainly undocumented workers.

Many carpenters can go on to pursue skills in the electrical trade as well as going on to complete their contractor licenses. These are both fields with higher salaries.