What to Expect from a Carpentry Apprenticeship


To become a qualified carpenter, you need to start somewhere. For many tradies, this means undertaking a carpentry apprenticeship.

On paper, being a carpenter apprentice seems pretty straightforward. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. So what is a carpentry apprenticeship exactly? What does it involve? And what kind of work can you expect to do?

To give you a better idea, we look into what a carpentry apprenticeship actually is, what you’ll do on the job and in class, how to prepare for a carpentry apprenticeship and where your career can go.

Learn More About the Cert III

How do I become a qualified carpenter?

For many who work in building and construction, the goal is to become fully qualified carpenters. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Enrol and complete a Certificate III in Carpentry
  • Find an employer to complete your apprenticeship with
  • Complete a Certificate IV or Diploma in Building and Construction
  • Apply for your Builders Registration/Licence through your state regulation body

Is a carpentry apprenticeship a good idea?

Put simply, yes! A carpentry apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with a skilled professional, alongside structured learning with a registered provider – such as Builders Academy Australia. To become an apprentice carpenter, you’ll need to undertake a course such as the CPC30220 Certificate III in Carpentry. This certificate will lay the foundations for your career, giving you the knowledge, carpentry skills, and technical training needed to carry out everyday carpentry tasks and processes, while teaching you how to use a range of industry-standard tools and equipment.

While there are no educational entry requirements needed to become a carpenter apprentice, many people kick off their career with a course such as the 22216VIC Certificate II in Building and Construction (Carpentry) Pre-Apprenticeship.

This course is a great point of entry into the construction industry. It combines hands-on experience with tools and equipment as well as theoretical learning, giving you a competitive edge over non-trained applicants looking for an apprenticeship.

What do carpentry apprentices do?

Some of the tasks you’ll carry out as an apprentice carpenter will include:

  • Reading blueprints
  • Choosing and ordering timber and other materials
  • Measuring, cutting, and assembling materials together
  • Creating items such as tables, chairs, and cabinets
  • Nailing panels together
  • Fitting exterior wall claddings and window frames
  • Inspecting damaged structures
  • Making repairs and alterations

If the idea of working with your hands, building customised structures, and spending time on construction sites appeals to you, a carpentry apprenticeship ticks all the right boxes.

How long does it take to become a carpenter?

When it comes to studying, the Certificate III in Carpentry is delivered over three years full-time. During your apprenticeship, you’ll be expected to attend 90 classes (30 each year) with around two hours of self-paced study each week. You can also expect to complete both written and practical assessments to measure your problem-solving skills and carpentry knowledge as you progress.

what to expect from a carpentry apprenticeship

How much does an apprentice carpenter earn?

The beauty of doing a carpentry apprenticeship is that you’ll be earning money the whole time. According to PayScale, the wage of a carpenter apprentice in Australia is around $18.43 per hour or $35,441 per year.

Keep in mind that your earnings will increase during the course of your apprenticeship program. You’ll either move up to the next level in pay based on how long you’ve been working, or if you’ve demonstrated a certain level of competency.

Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you can start earning the salary of a fully qualified carpenter. How much you get paid really opens up from here. Your salary will depend on who you work for (e.g. a company or for yourself), the kind of carpentry career you pursue, and how experienced you become.

How Much Could You Earn as a Qualified Carpenter?

What can you do after carpentry?

When you become an apprentice carpenter, you’re setting yourself up for a solid career in the building and construction industry. The workforce is constantly evolving, with new opportunities opening up all the time across a range of areas.

In Victoria alone, more than 40,000 homes are built each year. This means the demand for qualified carpenters is strong. Looking ahead, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to apply your carpentry skills and make a real impact on society.

In terms of your career progression, where you go is in your hands. You might continue working for your employer, tackling bigger and better projects. Or, you might decide to take a leap and start your own small business.

When it comes to furthering your education, carpenter apprentices should start looking into other building and construction courses. As a graduate of the CPC30220 Certificate III in Carpentry, you’ll be eligible to enrol in the CPC40120 Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building).

Armed with this qualification, you’ll have the carpentry skills and knowledge needed to become a licensed builder, start your own business, or work towards employment in more supervisory roles.

From here, you can take it up a level and enrol in the CPC50220 Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). With a diploma under your belt, you could pursue a career as a project supervisor, building manager, job site supervisor, estimator, project manager or foreperson.

Study at Builders Academy Australia

Like what you hear? As a carpenter apprentice, there are many fantastic things to expect. Plus, if you study with Builders Academy Australia, we’ll make your experience that much more rewarding.

We take pride in our commitment to our students. This means you’ll learn from some of the best in the business, be nurtured every step of the way, and have access to our solid network of connections.

If you’re ready to begin your carpentry apprenticeship, or would simply like more information about our building and construction courses, get in touch with us and we’ll walk you through the details.

At Builders Academy Australia (BAA) we feel genuine in helping our students achieve great results in a range of study options – and we believe that our 8000+ successful graduates across 120 locations are a testament to that.

With completion rates well above industry averages, trainers who remain leaders of their professions and free registration mentoring sessions, it’s no wonder that BAA was awarded the 2018 Victorian Training Provider of the Year. Let us help you build your future.

This article has been revised and republished on 23 May 2022.