Architecture and Construction > Carpenters > Overview
Occupation is in demand for the following regions: Central, East Central, North Central, Northeast, Northern Stateline, Northwest, Southeast, Southern, Southwest, Statewide, Career Cluster

Carpenters - Overview

Carpenters cut, fit, and assemble wood and other materials to construct buildings.

Carpenters' duties vary by the type of employer. Builders often use specialty trade carpenters to perform one or two tasks. For example, a carpenter might specialize in foundations or finish work. A carpenter who works for a general contractor often must perform many tasks common in new construction.

Carpenters read blueprints and receive instructions from supervisors. They determine the dimensions of the building and the materials to be used. They lay out, measure, and mark the wood or other materials, using measuring tapes and squares. Carpenters cut or shape the wood, using hand and power tools. They join and assemble the materials using nails, screws, staples, or glue. They check their work for accuracy, using levels or framing squares.

Carpenters must follow safety rules and regulations. They also keep the work site clean to avoid accidents or inspection violations.

Carpenters may specialize in:

Constructing foundations

Carpenters who specialize in constructing foundations dig postholes and set poles in concrete. They also build forms for concrete foundations. When doing repair work, they examine structural supports for decay and replace them.

General carpentry

General carpenters build components, such as floors, stairs, or wall panels or install ones that were built off-site.


Carpenter supervisors estimate the amount and type of materials needed for a job. They order materials and have them delivered before workers arrive on the job. They also hire subcontractors, such as plumbers and electricians.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.