Carpenters wouldn't meet deadlines for completing drywall or roofing frameworks at construction sites without carpentry laborers. They assist carpenters by carrying boards, tools and large equipment. Many are in-training to become carpenters, and assist with both exterior and interior construction. If you have math skills along with physical strength and manual dexterity, taking a job as a carpentry laborer is one way to get started in the construction industry.
Carpentry laborers are one of many types of construction helpers. Other helpers include those who assist bricklayers, electricians and painters. However, as a carpentry laborer, you work exclusively with carpenters, cutting and drilling holes in boards, and helping with all those two-person tasks that are part of every working day. You also carry panels, lumber and tools from transport vehicles to work areas, and erect scaffolding and braces for roofing and other contractors. Cutting and installing insulation is another responsibility of carpentry helpers, according to the State of Virginia's, "Career Guide For Carpenter Helpers."
Carpentry laborers work both inside and outside at construction sites, depending on how close housing or building projects are to being completed. Like other construction workers, you typically work full time in this field -- and may work overtime some evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. Work can be hazardous, as you could get injured from falls, cuts and muscle strains from heavy lifting. The job is also very strenuous and you will probably have to work in extremely hot and cold weather conditions.
Education and Training
There are no formal educational requirements for carpentry laborer positions, but 18 is usually the minimum age for getting a job in this field. Training is mostly on the job, as you learn to use tools, read blueprints and follow the instructions of carpenters. If you are interested in becoming a carpenter, you must train as an apprentice with an experienced carpenter for three or four years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. An alternative option is studying two years at a technical school, and then completing a one- or two-year apprenticeship.
Salary and Job Outlook
Carpentry helpers, or laborers, earned average annual incomes of $24,470 per year as of May 2011, according to the BLS. If you are among the top 10 percent in earnings, you would make over $37,900 annually. The states with the top-paying jobs in this field are Hawaii and Alaska -- $48,120 and 41,550 per year, respectively. Jobs for carpenters, including carpentry laborers, are expected to increase by 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. Jobs will be spurred by increases in population and new-home construction.