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carpentry I

With professional carpentry skills, you join the ranks of an elite group of skilled workers responsible for bringing blueprints to life.

From foundations to finishing, this high-demand role is integral to the success of any construction project.

Registration for Carpentry I is closed and will reopen for the Fall 2024 Semester. 

Make sure to join the WMCI mailing list to be notified when this course opens!

Carpentry I Course Description

NCCER’s curriculum in carpentry teaches trainees to construct, erect, install, and repair structures and fixtures made from wood and other materials. This curriculum covers content such as building materials, floor systems, and wall systems to successfully work in a variety of construction activities.


Prerequisite: None

Course Details
credentials earned

Instructor: Justin Gould

Headshot of Justin Gould - Instructor for Carpentry I course

Field Manager, EV Construction

Carpentry I Curriculum

Fall Semester modules

Basic Safety

Work at construction and industrial job sites can be hazardous. Most job-site incidents are caused by at-risk behavior, poor planning, lack of training, or failure to recognize the hazards. To help prevent incidents, every company must have a proactive safety program. Safety must be incorporated into all phases of the job and involve employees at every level, including management.

Introduction to Construction Math

Craft professionals rely on math to do their jobs accurately and efficiently. Plumbers calculate pipe lengths, plan drain slopes, and interpret dimensioned plans. Carpenters meet code requirements by using math to frame walls and ceilings properly. HVAC professionals develop ductwork and calculate airflow with practical geometry. Whichever craft lies in your future, math will play a role in it. This module reviews the math that you will need and sharpens the skills that you will be using in the exciting modules ahead.

Introduction to Hand Tools

Every profession has its tools. A surgeon uses a scalpel, an instructor uses a whiteboard, and an accountant uses a calculator. The construction crafts require a broad array of hand tools. Even if you are familiar with some of the tools, all craftworkers need to learn how to select, maintain, and use them safely. A quality hand tool may cost more up front, but if it is properly used and maintained, it will last for years. A true craft professional invests wisely in hand tools, and uses, maintains, and stores them with the same wisdom.

Introduction to Power Tools

Power tools play an important role in the construction industry. Thousands of construction workers across the world use power tools every day to make holes, cut different types of materials, smooth rough surfaces, and shape a variety of products. Regardless of their specialization, all construction workers eventually use power tools on their job. This module provides an overview of the common types of power tools and how they function. It also describes the proper techniques required to ensure their safe and efficient operation.

Introduction to Construction Drawings

Various types of construction drawings are used to represent actual components of a building project. The drawings provide specific information about the locations of the parts of a structure, the types of materials to be used, and the correct layout of the building. Knowing the purposes of the different types of drawings and interpreting the drawings correctly are important skills for anyone who works in the construction trades. This module introduces common types of construction drawings, their basic components, standard drawing elements, and measurement tools that are typically used when working with construction drawings.

Basic Communication Skills

The construction professional communicates constantly. The ability to communicate skillfully will help to make you a better worker and a more effective leader. This module provides guidance in listening to understand, and speaking with clarity. It explains how to use and understand written materials, and it also provides techniques and guidelines that will help you to improve your writing skills.

Basic Employability Skills

Becoming gainfully employed in the construction industry takes more preparation than simply filling out a job application. It is essential to understand how the construction industry and potential employers operate. Your trade skills are extremely important, but all employers are also looking for those who are eager to advance and demonstrate positive personal characteristics. This module discusses the skills needed to pursue employment successfully.

Introduction to Materials Handling

Lifting, stacking, transporting, and unloading materials such as brick, pipe, and various supplies are routine tasks on a job site. Whether performing these tasks manually or with the aid of specialized equipment, workers must follow basic safety guidelines to keep themselves and their co-workers safe. This module provides guidelines for using the appropriate PPE for the material being handled and using proper procedures and techniques to carry out the job.

spring Semester modules

Orientation to the Trade

Reviews the history of the trade, describes the apprentice program, identifies career opportunities for carpenters and construction workers, and lists the skills, responsibilities, and characteristics a worker should possess. Emphasizes the importance of safety in the construction industry

Building Materials, Fasteners, and Adhesives

Introduces the building materials used in construction work, including lumber, sheet materials, engineered
wood products, structural concrete, and structural steel. Also describes the fasteners and adhesives used in construction work. Discusses the methods of squaring a building.

Hand and Power Tools

Provides descriptions of hand tools and power tools used by carpenters. Emphasizes safe and proper operation, as well as care and maintenance.

Introduction to Construction Drawings, Specifications, and Layout

Covers the techniques for reading and using construction drawings and specifications, with an emphasis on drawings and information relevant to the carpentry trade. Introduces quantity takeoffs.

Floor Systems

Covers framing basics and the procedures for laying out and constructing a wood floor using common lumber, as well as engineered building materials.

Wall Systems

Describes procedures for laying out and framing walls, including roughing-in door and window openings, constructing corners, partition Ts, and bracing walls. Includes the procedure to estimate the materials required to frame walls.

Ceiling Joist and Roof Framing

Describes types of roofs and provides instructions for laying out rafters for gable roofs, hip roofs, and valley intersections. Covers stick-built and truss-built roofs. Includes the basics of roof sheathing installation.

Introduction to Building Envelope Systems

Introduces the concept of the building envelope and explains its components. Describes types of windows, skylights, and exterior doors, and provides instructions for installation.

Basic Stair Layout

Introduces types of stairs and common building code requirements related to stairs. Focuses on techniques
for measuring and calculating rise, run, and stairwell openings, laying out stringers, and fabricating basic stairways.

Carpentry I registration

WMCI Carpentry I course is currently full for the Fall semester.

Female carpenter wearing safety equipment measures a board for cutting

Work performed by carpenters:

Professional carpenters combine techniques that have evolved over thousands of years with next-generation technology to delivery high quality work safely and consistently. A few opportunities for an entry level carpenter can include: 

  • Building structural frames and concrete forms
  • Installing drywall and acoustical ceilings
  • Erecting steel studs and install insulation
  • Completing interior and exterior finishing

Common Interests and Skills:

Carpenter earnings:

*wages/benefits vary by geographic area

Year 1 - 2
$33,436 – $63,200 + benefits*
Year 3 - 4
$51,666 – $80,077 + benefits*
$60,789 – $ 84,295 + benefits*
$72,485 – $97,010 + benefits*
$98,100 – $131,018 + benefits*