Is a Carpentry Apprenticeship For You?

Is a Carpentry Apprenticeship For You?

Are you thinking about getting a carpenter apprenticeship? It’s a great way to earn while you learn, and kickstart a rewarding career.

In this article, we’ll share the answers to some questions we get asked often like “How to get an apprenticeship?” and “How long is a carpentry apprenticeship?” Read on to find out if a carpentry apprenticeship is right for you.

So, what does a carpenter do?

Carpenters build structures by doing a mix of activities, including:

  • construction
  • renovation
  • erection
  • repair

A carpenter’s main material is wood, including:

  • timber
  • wallboard
  • plywood

Tradies and builders often start their careers as carpenters. This is because the skills you learn from carpentry give you a solid basis in many other trades.

Carpenters do many different tasks every day. They are always moving and working with their hands, doing a mix of maths and physical labour.


  • Look at specifications and drawings
  • Follow installation guides
  • Get layouts ready
  • Order  timber and materials
  • Cut materials to the right size
  • Put cut parts together
  • Lay sub-flooring and floorboards
  • Erect (“put up”) framework
  • Check trueness of structures
  • Fit outside wall cladding
  • Sheath roofs
  • Nail fascia panels
  • Put together prepared wood and fittings
  • Fix existing fittings
  • Cut wood joints

carpentry apprenticeship

Are carpenters and joiners the same thing?

When we talk about carpenters, we often mean both carpenters and joiners. But they are not exactly the same thing.

Carpenters work mostly outside, “on-site” at construction sites of buildings. Carpenters also do wood fixtures for ongoing jobs at construction sites.

Joiners are more likely to work on wood in a workshop. Joiners do doors, windows, stairs or trusses.

When you study carpentry, you learn to be a carpenter or a joiner. Depending on your particular project and the tasks involved, you may need one skill set more than the other.

How to become a carpenter?

To become a carpenter or joiner, you must do a CPC30211 Certificate III in Carpentry. While completing this course, you’ll also be doing an apprenticeship.

During your apprenticeship, you’ll help a qualified carpenter or builder by doing some of the daily tasks listed above. You’ll also attend a weekly class to learn more about the theory.

Once you have your certificate and finish your carpenter apprenticeship, you can get your builders registration or licence.

Learn more in What you need to know about the changes to registration and licensing of trades in 2020.

What is the employment outlook for carpentry?

The good thing about becoming a carpenter is that there are so many jobs out there. In Australia, carpenters and joiners have always been in high demand.

The number of carpentry jobs is growing every day, as the Australian population grows and more builders start new projects.

According to JobOutlook, the number of job openings is going to grow over the next five years. Carpenters also have a lower unemployment rate than the national average.

Once you have this qualification, you can choose to do further study and pursue a career in a manager’s role or even start your own business.

How much do carpentry apprentices earn?

According to PayScale, average salary for a carpenter apprentice in Australia are:

  • $15.01 – $23.86 per hour
  • $30,417 – $50,507 per year

Your earnings will depend on how much you work and how far along your apprenticeship you are. E.g. your wage might go up every 12 months, or after you’ve demonstrated that you have mastered certain skills.

There are several awards for carpenters in the building construction industry. Find out your award rate online at the Fair Work Ombudsman.

How much do qualified carpenters earn?

After your carpenter apprenticeship, there is no limit to how much you can earn.

According to PayScale, qualified carpenters earn an average salary of $50,000 to $100,000+ a year.

Other things which impact your earnings include:

  • who you work for
  • how often you work
  • the type of carpentry work you do.

As in any job, the more experience you have, the more you’ll earn.

If you are business savvy, you can start your own business and pay your own salary.

carpentry apprentice

How long is a carpentry apprenticeship?

A carpentry apprenticeship traditionally takes up to 4 years to complete. However, the length of your apprenticeship will depend on how many hours you work per week and how quickly you can master the skills you need to become a qualified carpenter.

How to get an apprenticeship?

The best way to find a carpentry apprenticeship is by doing a CPC30211 Certificate III in Carpentry with a trusted provider like Builders Academy Australia. We can hook you up with a carpentry apprenticeship and assist you with finding the right employer.

We have many industry connections and partners, including Victorian builders and construction companies. Our partners are looking to take on apprentices to join their teams. We also help you build your own industry connections, helping you find jobs in the future.

Another way to find an apprenticeship is by searching for openings on job sites like Seek. Or you can look up builders and construction companies and call to see if they have any openings.

Still not sure how to find a carpentry apprenticeship? Go to a BAA info session where you can speak to someone in the know.

Contact us to find out when and where the next info session is.

Is a carpentry apprenticeship right for me?

If you have the following traits, a carpenter apprenticeship might be perfect for you.

  • Enjoy working with your hands
  • Have good attention to detail
  • Good at maths
  • Didn’t finish high school
  • Enjoy working with your hands
  • Love to build things
  • Enjoy working outside
  • Want to make a real world impact
  • Want job security
  • Want career progression

A carpentry apprenticeship is a great way to earn money while learning a new skill. It allows you to find a stable job and, if you want, to take your career to the next level.