Carpenters have a long list of job opportunities and can choose to work for a company or agency, accept freelance or per-project jobs, or both.
Likewise, they won’t have to worry about minor and major carpentry works in their own home, saving them from labor costs.
Enrolling in one of the best carpentry schools in America ensures you’re well equipped with the knowledge and skills to help you succeed.
Below are 10 schools in the US you would want to consider, ranked from lowest to highest annual average cost. Each of them meets the following criteria:
- An average cost of no more than $20,000
- An expected median starting salary of no less than $35,000
- Have one or more national and/or state accreditations
10 Best Carpentry Schools in the USA
1. Rio Salado College
2-4 Year; Tempe, AZ
Average Annual Cost: $9,156
This college has decades of experience in providing quality, innovative educational services. Hence, Rio Salado College students enjoy community-based learning, early college initiatives, and college bridge pathways. As graduates, they can smoothly and quickly transfer their credits to various partner four-year degree government and corporate institutions across the country. The school’s Applied Technology Department has a list of short-term trade, career, and academic certifying programs.
Those who want to qualify for entry-level carpentry technician jobs for residential and commercial sites can enroll in the college’s CCL (Certificate of Completion) in Construction Trades. There are two available concentrations: Carpentry, commercial and residential and the Carpentry, Residential and Commercial. Both programs aim to ensure students gain basic carpentry and construction trade knowledge and skills. The only difference is the latter has additional specialty and commercial carpentry courses. You’ll obtain further knowledge and skills in conventional roofing, steel framing, interior finishing, and concrete forms.
2. St. Cloud Technical and Community College
2-4 Year; Saint Cloud, MN
Average Annual Cost: $9,249
As part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, this mid-sized public school boasts that most of its graduates successfully land high-paying jobs. It offers associate degrees and general and advanced technical certification programs, including its Construction Technology Department’s Carpentry Diploma course.
After completing their required 33 credits, graduates are expected to be proficient in critical thinking for construction problems, construction techniques, time management, and understanding and interpreting building codes and blueprints. Construction is one of the largest and most stable industries in the nation, so those who complete this program are likely to find reliable and consistent work in the industry.
3. Green River College
2-4 Year; Auburn, WA
Average Annual Cost: $9,323
This medium-sized, public institution is among the top transfer community colleges offering a 43-credit Carpentry Technology Certificate. It’s ideal for those who want to tackle general and specialty residential and light commercial carpentry tasks. This program prepares students to work in both commercial and residential construction.
Meanwhile, graduates of the 44-credit Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate will enjoy advanced placement. The program also ensures non-duplicative study for better employment opportunities and enhanced skills. The school also offers an Applied Arts and Science (AAS) Degree in Residential and Light Commercial Carpentry. After completing the 90 to 97 credits requirement, the degree holder gets qualified to handle construction-related jobs.
4. Waukesha County Technical College
2-4 Year; Pewaukee, WI
Average Annual Cost: $9,749
This mid-sized public school offers associate degrees, short-term and apprenticeship certification, and technical diploma courses. Future general, rough, and finish carpenters, remodelers, and construction laborers can enroll in its on-campus, 28-credit Building Trades Carpentry program. Within this eight-week program, students learn and become proficient with power tools, hand tools, and a variety of other relevant equipment and machinery.
They will benefit from accomplishing off-campus interior and exterior construction and demolition projects and community-based, service-learning tasks. Holders of this technical diploma can also earn the OSHA 10 Construction Certification. Those who complete this program will leave WCTC capable of completing all manner of work with wood such as framing, cabinetry, blueprinting, and calculations.
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5. Madison Area Technical College
4 Year; Madison, WI
Average Annual Cost: $10,053
This medium-sized community college offers more than 180 associate degree, certificate, and technical diploma programs. Those seeking carpentry-related jobs can choose from three different programs:
- In-person 16-credit Carpentry Techniques
- In-person 32-credit Cabinetmaking and Millwork
- Hybrid 32-credit Construction and Remodeling
Students can also finish the training within one year, depending on the specific program within the course. Once done, they will gain a technical diploma to seek an apprenticeship, employment, or higher education. Within the carpentry program, students are taught how to complete tasks involving work on framing, floors, walls, ceilings, shingling, trim, and siding, among others.
6. Northland Community and Technical College
2-4 Year; East Grand Forks, MN
Average Annual Cost: $11,586
NCTC is a mid-sized public community college with several campuses in Minnesota offering education benefits for veterans. It has its own foundation, Northland Foundation, that offers fall and spring semester scholarships for qualified enrollees. This program allows students to graduate with skills in blueprint reading, framing, finishing, cabinetry, and much more.
NCTC’s Building Trades program is available at the East Grand Forks campus and offers the 34-credit Carpentry – Residential Diploma course. Graduates finish with extensive and applicable knowledge and skills in residential and commercial construction. These skills are designed to help each graduate easily find employment and work effectively as soon as they complete their program.
7. Fox Valley Technical College
2-4 Year; Appleton/Oshkosh, WI
Average Annual Cost: $12,207
This mid-sized public technical school has two campuses, but only its second campus in Oshkosh offers carpentry-specific courses. Those who want to gain skills in remodeling and building homes, reading blueprints, and more should enroll in the 32-credit Construction, Residential Building diploma program.
Those who want to top up their game can enroll in a 15-credit Construction Project Supervision Certification, a 20-credit Construction Project Coordinator Certification, a 60-credit AAS in Construction Safety Technology, or a 63-credit AAS in Construction Management Technology.
8. Alexandria Technical & Community College
2 Year; Alexandria, MN
Average Annual Cost: $13,636
ATCC is a small public school with a student organization, SkillsUSA, responsible for supplying the workforce with academically, technically, and employability-skilled professionals. It offers semester, one-year, and two-year certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs, including carpentry.
Like most carpentry-related courses, completing the required 72 credits or 110 hours ensures you have simple to complex knowledge and skills, from blueprint reading to CAD and woodworking to remodeling. With a certificate from ATCC, those who complete this program do so with broadly applicable skills and an understanding of methods of carpentry.
9. Manhattan Area Technical College
2-4 Year; Manhattan, KS
Average Annual Cost: $13,898
MATC is a small public college with an acceptance rate of 100% and a graduation rate of less than 50%. That said, more than 60% of their students return after their first year of studying in the institution. This college aims to provide some of the best education at a reasonable rate. In fact, its Manhattan Tech Foundation offers scholarships for qualified students.
The technical college’s Construction Technology Department offers carpentry-related programs that align with the Kansas Board of Regents’ curriculum, specifically, the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research). Students can choose between an 18-credit Construction Technology Certificate A, a 45-credit Construction Technology Certificate C, or a 63-credit AAS in Construction Technology.
10. Lebanon County Area Vocational Technical School
2 Year; Lebanon, PA
Average Annual Cost: $18,980
This small public school offers more than 25 fields of study that help high school graduates and working individuals attain skills and knowledge for job placement and career advancement. Its Architecture Department includes the two-year, half-day Carpentry and Residential Construction program.
As one of the best carpentry schools, enrollees will have hands-on experience in handling community and school construction projects. After completing the credits required, they would even assist graduates in obtaining employment or even employ them.