Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
5d ago

Pay for carpenters usually depends on their skills and experience.

  • Carpentry apprentices may start on the minimum training wage, with pay increasing as they gain skills and complete unit standards.
  • Inexperienced carpenters with no qualifications usually earn $18 to $20 an hour.
  • Experienced carpenters, or those who have completed an apprenticeship, usually earn $25 to $30 an hour.
  • Carpenters in positions such as site foreman usually earn $30 to $38 an hour.
  • Sources : Trade Me, 'Salary Guide', 2016; and Careers New Zealand research, 2016.

    This information is a guide only. )

    What you will do

    Carpenters may do some or all of the following :

  • study building plans and architectural drawings
  • select building materials
  • measure and cut materials to the right size and shape
  • remove or repair old items
  • construct building frames and install cladding on the inside and outside of buildings
  • install windows, staircases and doors.
  • Skills and knowledge

    Carpenters need to have :

  • building and carpentry skills
  • knowledge of building methods and materials
  • skill interpreting drawings and architectural plans
  • the ability to properly use and maintain tools
  • an understanding of building and safety regulations.
  • Carpenters :

  • usually work regular business hours, but may also work weekends
  • work on building sites and in existing buildings
  • work in conditions that may be wet, muddy, dusty, noisy, cramped or at heights
  • travel locally to building sites.
  • Entry requirements

    There are no specific entry requirements for becoming a carpenter. However, many employers prefer to hire carpenters who have, or are working towards, a qualification.

    You can complete an apprenticeship and gain a National Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4). The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) oversees carpentry apprenticeships.

    If you are an experienced carpenter with no qualifications, you can approach BCITO to have your skills assessed and gain a National Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4).

    National certificates can also be completed through the New Zealand Army.

    Secondary education

    NCEA Level 2 in English, maths, design and visual communication, science, woodwork or workshop technology are useful.

    Year 11 and 12 students can learn more about the construction industry, and gain relevant skills, by doing a National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades (Levels 1 and 2) through the BConstructive programme.

    For Year 11 to 13 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain industry experience.

    These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

    Carpenters need to be :

  • accurate and efficient
  • comfortable working at heights and in confined spaces
  • safety-conscious
  • able to work well in a team and good at communicating
  • able to follow instructions
  • organised
  • good at basic maths.
  • Useful experience

    Useful experience for carpenters includes :

  • woodwork
  • labouring on a construction site
  • any other building-trade experience.
  • Physical requirements

    Building work can involve a lot of heavy lifting, so carpenters need to be fit, healthy and strong.


    Some building work has to be carried out or overseen by a Licensed Building Practitioner. To get a licence, you have to prove your experience and / or have appropriate qualifications.

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