Carpenters: Salary Overview
Carpenters construct, repair, and install structures and building frameworks that are made of wood or other materials.
Their exact job responsibilities depend on the carpenter’s industry of employment and his or her level of experience.
As a carpenter, you will follow blueprints, install structures and fixtures, measure and cut the materials, construct and install building frameworks, inspect and replace parts that are damaged, and instruct laborers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for carpenters was $48,330 as of May 2019.
This number shows us that half of all workers in this occupation earned less than this and half earned more.
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Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors and apprentices and entry-level carpenters typically make less than $30,000 a year while experienced workers can earn more than $85,000 a year.
Carpenter Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpenters held about 1 million jobs in the United States in 2018, most of them (27%) being self-employed.
The residential building construction industry employed around 22% of all carpenters while 13% of them worked in the nonresidential building construction field.
About 12% of all carpenters worked for building finishing contractors while 10% of them were employed by foundation, structure, and building contractors.
One of the biggest employers for carpenters, the field of residential building construction, paid them, on average, $47,650 a year.
The average annual salary for carpenters who worked in the industry of nonresidential building construction was $55,490 while building finishing contractors offered a mean annual wage of $53,340.
Carpenters employed by foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors earned, on average, $49,930 a year.
As a self-employed carpenter, you can make anywhere between less than $40,000 and more than $100,000 a year depending on a variety of factors, including your level of experience and expertise, your skills, and the region of employment.
According to BLS, the industries that offered the highest salary for carpenters were petroleum and coal products manufacturers; this field employed only 30 carpenters as of May 2018 and offered an average annual salary of $82,470.
The industry of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution employed about 70 carpenters and offered a mean annual salary of $77,420 as of May 2018.
Promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events employed about 860 carpenters and offered an average annual salary of $73,380 while the field of scientific research and developmental services hired about 210 carpenters and paid them a mean annual salary of $67,610.
About 2,270 carpenters worked in the motion picture and video industries and were paid an annual mean salary of $67,390.
The industries that offered the highest salaries typically offer fewer jobs for contractors and competition for job openings is expected to be fierce.
Therefore, having a few years of experience in a different industry may help you find a better-paying job in one of the top industries.
Carpenter Salary by Compensation Structure
Many entry-level carpenters are paid an hourly rate and they may earn a fixed salary after gaining a few years of experience.
Some employers also offer bonuses, commission on projects, and profit-sharing.
Percentages vary depending on the employer and the carpenter’s experience and role within the company.
Carpenters can make anywhere between less than $200 and more than $4,800 per year in bonuses and between $1,000 and more than $49,000 a year in commissions, according to a report published by payscale.com.
Carpenter salary varies depending on the region and the time of the years, especially if they’re paid by the hour or based on commission.
Earnings are expected to be higher during warm months when more buildings are constructed and carpenters may earn less or be unemployed during inclement weather or winter months.
The numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the demand for carpenters is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially in the fields of residential and non-residential building construction.
* Based on information from the May 2019 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Carpenters. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.