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A carpenter's apprentice position assists the carpenter in completing construction-related jobs. Carpenters make up the second-largest building trades career, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost every area of the country has work for apprentice carpenters. Most apprentice carpenters work under the direction of a licensed carpenter so they can qualify for the state licensing examination.
The main duty of the apprentice carpenter is to help a carpenter or a group of carpenters with the menial tasks, such as removing debris from construction areas or retrieving tools for the other carpenters. The apprentice carpenter spends most of his time watching and listening to the licensed carpenters so he can learn as much about this skilled trade as possible. Sweeping up construction areas, laying out tools, refilling work pouches and other basic construction tasks are just part of the learning process.
Many parts of the construction process are broken down into different areas of construction, from the foundation where concrete, sand and gravel are being installed to framing the building, roofing the building, installing windows and doors and performing interior and exterior construction. Apprentice carpenters are shown how to perform multiple construction tasks so they can learn every aspect of carpentry. Watching, asking questions and hands-on application are all part of the learning process for an apprentice carpenter.
A lot of different tools are used for construction. Part of the job description of an apprentice carpenter is to know how to use every type of construction tool. Construction requires the use of more than just a hammer and nails. Tape measures, squares, levels and power-operated tools are used during construction. The apprentice carpenters are taught how to use each tool. Using different saws is also part of the job description of an apprentice carpenter. Skill saws, miter saws, jigsaws and some specialty saws are required during construction, and the apprentice carpenter learns how each saw operates and uses the saws to complete different work assignments.
Part of the job description of an apprentice carpenter is to read blueprints, architectural drawings and construction layouts. Apprentice carpenters also systematically plan parts of the construction project so they can advance to become licensed carpenters. Generally, apprentice carpenters are assigned a basic task which requires them to read the blueprints and build a small piece of the construction project such as a bay window or back porch add-on. As the apprentice carpenters become more skilled in following blueprints and their construction skills become more advanced, they are assigned more difficult parts of the construction project, such as room layout and construction.
Apprentice carpenters must learn and follow all federal, state and local construction regulations. Many local governments require building permits and send out building inspectors, at different points in the construction process, to verify that all of these regulations are being followed. Apprentice carpenters ensure that all construction codes are being followed and all tasks are being performed according to regulations.