How Do I Become a Trim Carpenter?

Dan Cavallari

The term "trim carpenter" refers to a woodworking professional who specializes in doing finish carpentry that completes a larger project. This professional, sometimes known as a cabinet maker or a finish carpenter, will make furniture and cabinets, and will install pieces of trim that accent a room. In order to become a trim carpenter, you will need to complete a high school education and develop basic math skills. You can then enroll in a carpentry program that will prepare you to become a trim carpenter, or you can take part in an apprenticeship program.

Trim carpenters must know how to safely operate machinery and power tools, including miter saws.
Trim carpenters must know how to safely operate machinery and power tools, including miter saws.

If you choose to attend a carpentry program that will teach you the skills necessary to become a trim carpenter, you can research various programs at community colleges or technical schools. Try to choose a program with facilities that feature up-to-date machinery and experienced instructors, and keep in mind that you will not necessarily be certified to become a trim carpenter once you finish the program. You will, however, develop the skills necessary to work toward certification or full-time work. Once you finish your education, you will need to find a local carpenter's union or professional group through which you can establish contacts and seek out an apprenticeship.

A trim carpenter may be responsible for constructing railings and installing trim in a home.
A trim carpenter may be responsible for constructing railings and installing trim in a home.

Some job candidates already have the basic carpentry skills necessary to enter the field, and these people can probably skip the education step and head straight for an apprenticeship. During the apprenticeship period, you will work under the guidance and supervision of a journeyman trim carpenter who will teach you the specific skills you will need to become a trim carpenter yourself. This apprenticeship can last anywhere from three to five years, at which point you can become a full-time carpenter. It is a wise decision at that point to apply for your own journeyman's license, though you may be required to spend up to eight years or more in the carpentry field before you can obtain your journeyman card. Research the specific requirements that are applicable in your area.

You will need a significant amount of manual dexterity if you want to become a trim carpenter, as well as an exceptional eye for detail. Some of the techniques for developing these skills can be learned while an apprentice, though you will need to practice for a long time before these skills become second nature to you. Basic communications skills will be necessary as well, and a basic understanding of geometry and angles will help you become a better trim carpenter quickly.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: