General Carpentry

Professional carpenters are responsible for bringing the architect’s blueprints to life. They work on everything from the foundations to the finishes in houses, hospitals, hotels, office buildings, schools, skyscrapers and beyond. Whether it is working on the concrete, framing, insulation, drywall, trim or exterior finishes, the carpenter provides the crucial work on almost every type of structure. Carpenters not only build our buildings, they drive the piles needed for the river walk along the Chicago River, build the new bridges over our expressways, construct and maintain the CTA stations, build the scaffolding needed at our nuclear plants and refineries, construct the storm water infrastructure for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and so much more.

Commercial and general carpentry professionals may work indoors or outside in the elements, in rural areas or in the business district of Chicago. They also work below ground or upper floors of the skyscraper. Professional carpenters must be masters of their trade by being able to read blueprints, measure accurately, cut precisely, erect plumb and level, and join material together.

Signatory contractors rely on the union carpenter’s:

Skills – to work quickly, accurately and safely at all times;

Productivity – completing the project on time and under budget;

Attitude – showing up to work everyday on time and ready to work.

Initial training for apprentices and skill advancement courses are taught by industry veterans and industry and manufacturer technical experts. Subjects range from basic skills to new technologies, tools and installation methods. This comprehensive training translates into unmatched productivity by United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) members for their employers. The Carpenter’s Union in the Chicago area provides an extensive evening and weekend skill advancement program exclusively for its Union members to keep their skills current as materials and technology change in construction.

Keeping current will keep you advancing on the worksite from carpenter to crew leader to foreman to superintendent if you wish advancement, perhaps setting the stage for your own Union contracting company some day.

Pre-Apprentice Program: 9 Weeks

The Pre-Apprentice program offers persons wanting to join the union with no experience the training necessary to work as beginning carpenters.

The General Carpentry 9-continuous-week Pre-Apprentice program combines class subjects (safety, math, print reading, carpentry) with shop projects (safety, layout). One-third of the Pre-Apprentice (PA) day is spent in the class, two-thirds in the shop. PA class work includes regular homework assignments and ongoing quizzes and tests. Time is also devoted each day to physical training and material handling.

A stipend is paid to the PA for each week of the class. Upon successful completion of the program the new apprentice receives a set of hand tools, the initiation fees, and first quarter’s Union Dues.

Interested in becoming a carpenter? Watch the three videos below to see what carpenters do. Then go to the “Minimum Qualifications” tab to see if you qualify to start your career in carpentry.

Carpenter Video


Interior Systems Carpenter


Residential Carpenter