How To Become A Carpenter

Thursday, 10 June, 2021 - 10:02
Sakinah Samuels

Do you like building or creating things with wood? Do you have an eye for detail, and like to be precise in what you're doing? Then a career as a carpenter could be right for you. Here's all you need to know about becoming a carpenter.


Are you thinking of becoming a Carpenter? Becoming a carpenter is a riveting career choice and offers many opportunities in South Africa. Here's what you need to know.

What does a Carpenter do?

A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who works in the construction and cabinet making industry. They fabricate all sorts of wood construction projects such as erecting building frames, roofs, floors and customising kitchens.

What are the working conditions of a Carpenter?

Some carpenters pre-fabricate cabinets and other structures in homes, shops or factories while others work on construction sites. Their jobs are physically intensive, requiring many hours of standing while cutting, joining, and working with wood materials.

What skills and abilities are required to become a Carpenter?

  • Must be good at working with their hands
  • Must have physical stamina and strength
  • Must have good business skills. Self-employed carpenters must be able to bid for new jobs, track inventory, and plan work assignments
  • Must be detail-oriented
  • Must have a very logical mind and excel in problem-solving situations
  • Must be able to take exact measurements and work accurately
  • Must be good at maths

What duties and tasks does a Carpenter perform?

  • Carefully study blueprints and sketches
  • Execute measuring activities
  • Cut, shape and smooth the needed material
  • Build stairways, doors and window frames, partitions and rafters
  • Carve and assemble furniture, kitchen cabinets and drywalls
  • Layout floorings, roofings or drywalls to ensure they are levelled and compatible

What should I do if I want to study Carpentry?

  • Contact your nearest TVET College to enquire about the entrance requirements to do the Carpentry course
  • Visit carpenters or carpentrybusinesses to gain more knowledge about the field and what it entails
  • Contact DHET Career Development Services to provide you with free quality career information, advice and counselling services on 086 999 0123 or e-mail:
  • Go for an aptitude test to help understand if a career in Carpentry is for you
  • Attend Career Exhibitions in your area to liaise with higher learning institutions and obtain application forms

Where can I study to get a job in Carpentry?

TVET Colleges offer courses to build a career in Carpentry. Through these programmes, you can develop the skills you need and become qualified.

Visit the TVET Colleges website for more on South Africa's TVET Colleges. 

What are the minimum entry requirements to study Carpentry at a TVET College?

At a TVET College, the entrance requirements for the Carpentry course are:

NC(V) Programme:

  • A Grade 9 Certificate + college requirements set per programme.

NATED Programme:

  • N1 admission - Grade 9 Certificate + college requirements set per programme.
  • N4 admission - Grade 12 Certificate with a pass in Mathematics + college requirements set per programme; OR an NC(V) Level 4 Certificate in Civil Engineering and Building Construction.
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