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General carpentry training

WMCI’s general carpentry training program is designed for both aspiring carpenters and entry-level professionals looking to learn the skills and knowledge required to excel in this high-demand field.

In addition to learning carpentry, students will also graduate with NCCER’s CORE: Intro to Basic Construction Skills certification. This certification further equips them for success by teaching foundational construction skills such as using power tools, safety practices, job site teamwork, and more. 

General Carpentry 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


Headshot of Justin Gould - Instructor for Carpentry I course

Justin Gould

Field Manager, EV Construction

Wes Braun

Vice President of Construction, Wahlfield Construction

What you'll learn in General Carpentry Training

Fall Semester Curriculum

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 Curriculum

Orientation to Carpentry

Reviews the carpentry profession, describes the apprentice program, identifies career opportunities for carpenters, and lists the skills, responsibilities, and characteristics a carpenter should possess. Emphasizes the importance of site-specific safety and occupational safety relevant to the craft.

Building Materials and Fasteners

Introduces building materials used in construction, including lumber, engineered wood products,  concrete materials, steel framing, and a variety of fasteners and anchors. Also describes material handling and storage techniques, and basic calculations used to determine needed framing and concrete quantities.

Construction Plans & Documents

Describes construction plans and documents used by carpenters, including drawings found in commercial and residential plans. Focuses on information included in civil, architectural, and structural drawings.  Also covers the importance of specifications, and reviews building codes used by carpenters.

Principles of Site and Building Layout

Explains how carpenters use specific construction drawings, as well as measuring tools and leveling instruments to perform basic site and building layout activities. Along with providing step-by-step instructions, this module describes the use of construction drawings and math to guarantee the accuracy of the building site. 

Floor Systems

Introduces carpenters to drawings used to construct flooring systems. Defines framing basics and the procedures for laying out and constructing a wood floor using common lumber, as well as engineered building materials. Covers the installation of floor components including sill plates, beams, girders, joists, and subfloors. 

Wall Systems

Describes basic wall systems and provides step-by-step instructions for laying out and framing both wood and steel components. Explains the process for laying out and framing walls. Includes instructions for assembling, erecting, and verifying plumb for wall systems.  

Roof Framing

Describes the most common roof types and introduces basic roof framing components. Includes instructions for laying out rafters for gable roofs, hip roofs, and valley intersections. Covers stick-built and truss-built roofs and includes the basics of roof sheathing installation.

Basic Stair Layout

Introduces stair types, basic stair system components, and common codes associated with stairway construction. Explains essential stairway construction techniques, including how to construct stringers, measure and calculate rise and run, and build concrete stairway forms. 

Building Envelope Systems

Introduces the concepts of moisture and insulation control from the ground up. Describes types of  building wrap, windows, skylights, and doors, while providing instructions for installation.

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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*