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Working in renovation: Carpenter-Joiner

Last modified: 2019-05-01 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Amanda Harvey

The trade of carpenter-joiner is nothing less than important when it comes to building sites, as the erection of any or all wooden structures is inseparable from the many projects that relate to the construction of buildings or houses. If this career path piques your interest, you’re probably interested in knowing more about it. Here’s all the information that you’ll need about the job of carpenter-joiner.

Everything you need to know about becoming a carpenter-joiner

What does a carpenter-joiner do?

From the outset, it should be noted that the occupation of a carpenter-joiner is a general term that encompasses 3 specialties: that of concrete formwork, laying of deep foundations or floorer-sander. Among the tasks that every good carpenter must do on a daily basis are:

  • Install doors, mouldings, windows, stairs, or wooden floors;
  • Create structures including wood frames: roofs, walls, doors;
  • Install cabinets, countertops, or storage spaces;
  • Renovate wooden structures and # or repair them;
  • Assemble elements in chipboard or wood;
  • Prepare quotes;
  • Lay foundations.

The skills necessary to be a carpenter

As in any process to determine the profession you wish to pursue, it’s essential to identify the qualities or skills that are required to practice this trade. Apart from having an interest in manual work as well as woodworking, let's say it's also essential to be good at mathematics, given the need to be able to take measurements (both imperial and metric), understand quotes and complete various calculations.  

Also, this work is done in collaboration with other trades. Thus, it’s essential to be able to work in a team. Obviously, you have to be comfortable with the idea of physical work as well as climbing heights like scaffolding. Since the precision of measurements and woodcuts used in the construction of structures guarantees solidity, it's absolutely necessary to be able to be rigorous throughout all projects.

Training and certification for carpenters in most parts of Canada

We must begin this section by stating that the training required to obtain the title of carpenter-joiner varies according to the province in which you reside. In general, access to the profession requires a specialized carpentry program.

This program typically lasts 4 years and includes field training of a minimum of 5440 hours and 32 weeks of technical training, and this is divided into four distinct periods. After completing these two steps, it’s then possible to take the exam necessary to obtain a certificate of qualification. Once all these steps are completed, you’ll be able to get an official journeyman certificate.

Note that if you already have work experience in this field or have previously taken courses in it, these requirements may be different. Moreover, if you have accumulated more than 4 years of practical experience with one or more company, then it’s possible that you’re already qualified to receive this certification. This is why it’s especially important to do a bit of research before diving in headfirst.

Training and certification for carpenters in Quebec

In Quebec, the process of obtaining the title of carpenter-joiner has some particular loops to jump through. Indeed, it’s necessary to first carry out a DEP in carpentry (a duration of 1350 hours) and then, carry out 150 hours of work with an employer in the field over a 12 week period. This guarantee must be submitted to the CCQ in due form. Following this, you’ll be able to obtain the status of apprentice.

Subsequently, three separate work periods of 2000 hours must be completed in order to pass the provincial qualification exam. If successful, you’ll be given the title of companion. We should note that ⅔ of the work will have to focus on one of the three specialties: deep-foundation setter, floor-sander or concrete formwork. After 4000 hours have been completed, it’s possible to continue in the same direction or to opt for a more generalized training in this trade.

It’s important to note that obtaining a certification of qualification is only required in Quebec. Although it’s recommended in the rest of Canada, it’s not required. We should also mention that having this certification can increase the likelihood of finding a job quicker. In addition, obtaining this certification provides access to the standard interprovincial exam. The success of the latter provides the Red Seal, which allows you to work as a carpenter-joiner across Canada.

In order to be able to work as a carpenter in Quebec, it is essential to obtain the following licenses from the RBQ:

  • General contractor: 1.3 and 1.2;
  • New home specialized contractor: 6.1 (wood frame);
  • New home warranty plan: 1.1.1 and 1.1.2.

If the contractor you work with does not hold these licenses, you should know that obtaining any compensation in the event of badly executed works is severely compromised. 

Carpentry job prospects and salary

If this profession piques your interest, it’s important to be certain that there will be good job prospects after investing time and energy into this pursuit. Well, rest assured, as the job placement rate in this field is 92%. You’ll find most of the workforce in the commercial, institutional or residential sectors. Further, in the field of construction, this is the job that hosts the most women.

In terms of salary, the information available for the province of Quebec indicates that an apprentice earns an average of $19 000 a year. As soon as you obtain the title of companion, as a carpenter-joiner, you’ll see a salary of about $41 000 a year. After 500 hours of work, it will increase to $57 000 a year. Note that a difference in salary exists between the different areas of expertise, including the industrial, institutional, commercial and civil or road. In fact, the first two sectors offer their workers a higher salary than those working in the civil / road sector.

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