A master carpenter is a senior position recognized for superior craftsmanship and years of training. In some cases, the title master carpenter may refer to a project lead. There is no direct educational path to becoming a master carpenter, but there are several ways to get the training you need to achieve this status.
Although expected to have greater skill and proficiency on the job, master carpenters perform the same duties as all carpenters, who construct and repair structures such as houses and office buildings and perform remodeling projects on those structures. They can install or repair kitchen cabinets, siding, windows, doors, joists, studs, flooring and much more. Not only do they need to know how to use power tools and read blue prints but they must also have knowledge of math, technology and physics.
Some community colleges offer an associate's degree in carpentry, but most schools offer a certificate program that can be completed in as little as six months. These programs teach basic carpentry skills, but they also cover needed math concepts like algebra and geometry, how to read blue prints, and understanding the requirements of local code ordinances. The degree or certificate opens the door to entry-level job opportunities, which you can build on as you work toward becoming a master carpenter.
Most carpenters get their start through apprenticeship programs. These programs can last anywhere from a few months to a few years, and they place fledgling carpenters with more experienced master carpenters who serve as mentors and instructors. Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training, which can also count toward your total experience for getting a job or showing master carpenter status later in your career. Community colleges may offer apprenticeships, or you may be able to create one yourself by approaching a master carpenter.
Experience is what makes a master carpenter, not a specified amount of time or a degree. However, years of experience can help you hone your skills, which can make you a master in your trade. Your references and your portfolio of work will truly define you as a master in the field of carpentry.