Frequently Asked Questions About Apprenticeship

What is the Carpenters' Union?
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters is North America’s largest building-trades union, with more than a half-million members in the construction and wood-products industries. We recognize that for the union to remain strong, our signatory contractors need to succeed in today’s highly competitive marketplace – and they do that with workers committed to safety, productivity, and the proud legacy of our Brotherhood. Skills, safety, and productivity have brought our members fair wages, good benefits, and dignity in work and retirement since the Brotherhood was founded in 1881.

You can learn more about the Carpenters Union by visiting these websites:
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters

Where can I learn more about the crafts that make up the UBC

The UBC represents one trade with many crafts. Our members touch every aspect of a construction project; they’re frequently first on the job and the last to leave. Carpenters create commercial, residential, and institutional structures through the skill and experience that is established only by union training.

Carpenters measure, saw, level, and fasten wood and other building materials. They install tile and insulation, acoustical ceilings, cabinets, siding, and much more. They work with many tools and materials to build houses, schools, places of worship, and hotels. They erect skyscrapers, hospitals, office buildings, and prisons and construct bridges, tunnels, and highways.

Carpenters make up the largest single group of skilled workers in the country. To be a carpenter is to be a member of one of the oldest and most respected trades in the world, and our varied work today stems from the many products that once were made entirely of wood.

Our members have vastly different skill sets, but they share the pride and commitment to excellence that comes with being part of the Brotherhood.

Carpenters work in many settings, from the building of small residential homes, to the fabrication of the most complex industrial settings. They weld metals, mold plastics, saw wood, form concrete, build scaffolds and layout the tallest buildings. Their tools are hammers, saws, lasers, digital and electric devices, as well as basic organizational skills. Carpenters work in a variety of conditions and have a wide range of skill levels.

Floorcoverers are responsible for floor covering work in banks, insurance companies, hospitals, school systems, industrial plants, institutions of higher learning, multi-unit housing sectors, both within the public and private sector. This work involves the installation of carpeting, sheet vinyl, vinyl tile, ceramic tile, wood, and laminates. Floorcoverers are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

Piledrivers are trained in the use of tools, equipment and materials that allow them to perform a wide variety of construction jobs. These jobs include installation, repair and removal of piles and foundations, building bridges, docks and retaining walls. Other projects include tunnel and bulkhead construction, and building coffer dams. Piledrivers often work closely with carpenters and are members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

The US Department of Labor O*Net website has some useful information about UBC Crafts that you may want to review:
Carpentry or Dry-Wall Applicator
Pile Driving or Commercial Diving
Floor Laying or Carpet Installers
Mill Cabinet

You can also learn more about the UBC Crafts by visiting these websites:
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters

What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a training program where you earn wages while learning to become a skilled carpenter. Apprenticeship combines classroom studies with on-the-job training supervised by a trade professional. Much like a college education, it takes several years to become fully trained in the trade that you choose. Unlike college, though, as an apprentice, you’ll earn while you learn. At first, you’ll make less money than skilled workers; but as you progress, you’ll get regular raises. Once you have mastered the craft, you will receive professional wages.
Who can be an apprentice?
Any woman or man meeting the minimum requirements! Women, minorities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.

Apprentices must be at least 17 years old and in good health. A physical may be required. All apprentices must pass a drug and alcohol test.

A high-school diploma or GED is preferred. However, an applicant may provide proof of satisfactory completion of a pre-job preparatory course in Carpentry of at least six (6) months, such as United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), Job Corps, or other approved carpentry apprentice preparatory course, or on-the-job training of six (6) months, or 1500 hours’ experience in the construction field that would qualify an applicant as having met the minimum educational requirements.

What are the rewards of apprenticeship training?
The rewards of apprenticeship training are the good wages and benefits you receive as a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. There are over half a million U.B.C. members in the United States and Canada. You’ll be working under the protection of a union contract for a good contractor. This means you will become eligible to have health insurance, a pension, and an annuity. It pays to be the best you can be: a well trained Union Carpenter.
Why is apprenticeship training best for me?
Having a desire to make a career in any facet of the carpentry trade is a commendable aspiration, but one which is often not easily attained. The knowledge of how to perform these tasks safely, proficiently, and correctly is a skill which historically has been handed down generation to generation, from one skilled craftsman to the next. History has proven that knowledge of only one limited aspect of the trade is never enough. To be successful in a career in the construction industry, a craftsman needs a well-rounded knowledge not only of the work in which he or she personally specializes, but how his or her work affects and ties in with all the other tradesmen and the particular tasks which they perform. By completing the 4,000 to 8,000 hours of work experience required to complete the apprentice program and become a journeyman through this program, you will be among the best, most well trained, well rounded, and most desirable candidates available for employment in this industry.
What do you mean by apprenticeship training?
  • An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade by working under the guidance of skilled workers called journeymen. It’s on-the-job training. You earn while you learn and are paid a wage from the first day you’re hired by a contractor.
  • To make a career in any facet of the carpentry trade requires the knowledge of how to perform these tasks safely, proficiently, and correctly.
  • Carpentry is a skill which historically has been handed down from one skilled craftsman to the next. History has proven that knowledge of only one limited aspect of the trade is never enough.
  • By completing the 4,000 to 8,000 hours of on-the-job training “work experience” required to complete the apprenticeship program and become a journeyman, you will be among the best, most well trained, well rounded, and most desirable candidates available for employment in this industry.
What are some benefits of apprenticeship?
  • Paid “scholarship” with supervised training
  • Progressively increasing wage with excellent benefits
  • Nationally recognized credential: Apprenticeship Certificate
  • Improved job security and standard of living
  • Opportunity for college credit
  • Pride and dignity of completing the most comprehensive vocational carpentry training program offered anywhere
How does someone apply?
  • Contact the Carpenters JAC at 215-824-2303
  • Click and add Request Info on this Website
What do I need to apply for the Apprenticeship?


Mandatory Requirements:
As an interested applicant for the Apprenticeship Program, it is your responsibility to complete all of the following mandatory requirements:

  • Provide reliable documentation of proof of age (minimum 17 years of age). Birth certificate preferred (Driver’s License, Passport, Green Card acceptable).
  • Provide copies of documentation of high school graduation and transcript for high school, or completion of a GED with applicable scores. (High school seniors must provide transcripts and a letter from their schools stating that they are eligible to graduate within three months).
Can a high-school senior apply?

High-school seniors (age 17 or older) may apply with a letter from their school stating that they are eligible to graduate within three months.

What can I do to better prepare myself for acceptance into the apprenticeship program?

It is important to realize that applications are assessed both in the context of an applicants particular application and in the context of an extremely competitive applicant pool. No minimum grade point average, class rank, specific training or experience is required to apply or to be accepted. However, the more thorough your application the more competitive your application will be. Finally, applicants competitive in our applicant pool reveal themselves and their personalities in well-written personal statements. Rather than tell us facts about themselves, they show us their uniqueness in a variety of different ways.

Some suggestions to Improve your application:

Before you enter any apprenticeship program, you should try to learn as much as you can about the specific apprenticeship program and the sponsoring organizations.

In work or in study, you should try to get some significant exposure to the specific craft you are interested in applying to. The US Department of Labor O*Net website has some useful information about UBC crafts that you may want to review:
Pile Driving or Commercial Diving
Floor Laying or Carpet Installers
Mill Cabinet
It is very valuable to take some outside classes in carpentry or related fields. We would strongly encourage you to take some courses or review basic mathematics, such as:

Why do you care about my Extracurricular Activities?

The most competitive of our applicants are very involved, dedicating time to clubs, teams, organizations, or community service activities. All of our highest ranked applicants display passion for, commitment to, and leadership in their outside activities. Great apprentices get involved, stay involved, and facilitate the involvement of others. Find activities you love. Dedicate time to them. Take responsibility for them. Then, tell us about them.

Do I have to include a letter of recommendation or referral, with my application?

Letters of recommendation or referrals are not required, but the Apprenticeship Office does encourage applicants to include up to two relevant letters of recommendation or referral.

When reviewing letters we are looking not only for what the applicant has already done but what he or she has the potential to accomplish. Addressing potential may take a little more time than discussing past deeds, but it may give the experienced applicant the edge over other applicants.

The best kind of letter is from someone who has been involved with you professionally. This person should know you and your work well and have a high opinion of you.

Recent High School Graduates:

Recent High School Graduates should ask their guidance counselor to complete a counselor evaluation, which helps us gauge your performance in your high school environment. Usually guidance counselors will include a short personal letter. One of your high school teachers should complete the second letter. It will assess your performance in class as well as your character and personality. You may choose any high school teacher as long as he or she has taught you in an academic subject area (carpentry, math, science, English, social science, or foreign language) and knows you well.

For experienced applicants:
Letters from an employer or co-worker can be useful if the job was related to the field of carpentry and the letter comments on your accomplishments of specific duties, your aptitude for this type of work and so on.

How do I get a copy of my high-school/college transcript or GED with scores?

You can get copies of your diploma or copies of your high-school transcripts by following the steps below.

  1. Contact the school board in which you went to high school. If you no longer live in the area, simply search for the high-school name under the white pages. Speak to someone who keeps track of paperwork within the facility.
  2. Request a copy of your transcripts. Ask them to send a copy of your transcripts to your address.
  3. After you receive your paperwork, you can then include a copy of the transcript with your Apprenticeship Application.
  4. Below is a sample transcript request letter you may want to send to your high school:

Name of Institution
Address of Institution



Please send a copy of my transcript to:

Carpenters JAC
10401 Decatur Rd.
Philadelphia, Pa 19154

Fax: (215) 824-2313

My student information is as follows:

Name/Former Name: _________________________________________

Years of Attendance: _________________________________________

Date of Graduation: _________________________________________

Student ID Number (if available): _________________________________________

Date of Birth: _________________________________________

Sincere thanks,

Your Name
Your Address
Your Phone Number
Your E-mail

How can I get copies of my Military Service Record (DD214)?

You can get a copy of your DD214 by submitting a Military Service Record Request online at the U.S. Archives website.

Click here to be connected.

Is my application complete?

You’ve submitted your application and are now wondering whether your application is complete. As you can imagine, we receive many applications that includes letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, standardized test scores and application fees. It may take some time before all this paperwork is processed..

We return all applications to those applicants who are missing a portion of their applications. At that time, it is your responsibility to promptly return the completed application. If you application is not returned you will be notified by U Mail of you your interview date, time and location.

Do I qualify for GI Bill benefits when I am enrolled in the apprenticeship training program?

The new GI Bill now covers apprenticeship training.

Carpenters’ Union Apprenticeship Programs offer paid scholarships. Apprentices earn a pro-rated salary while receiving their free training to become Journeyman Carpenters.

Unemployed and separating service members now will be able to train to become Journeyman Carpenters and receive GI Bill benefits as the Post-9/11 GI Bill now covers apprenticeship training. These benefits are not available to active-duty service members or their spouses using transferred benefits.

Under the new program, veterans receive their pro-rated apprentice salary from their employers and a pro-rated housing allowance from the Veterans’ Affairs Department.

Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients will also receive up to $83 per month for books and supplies.

The Veterans’ Administration (VA) has a searchable database of non-degree institutions covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill on its website.

  • When you use the searchable database for Program Type, select: On-the-Job Training/Apprenticeship.

For additional information about the Post-9/11 GI Bill and On-the-Job & Apprenticeship Training, visit the Veterans’ Administration website

  • For a summary of changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Click Here
Do veterans receive special consideration when applying for the apprenticeship program?

Yes, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America honors those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Veterans are asked to complete a Helmets to Hardhats Application in addition to their Apprenticeship Application.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) supports Helmets to Hardhats nationwide.

With your FREE Helmets to Hardhats account, you’ll be able to:

  • Post your military work experience
  • Search careers
  • Apply for positions instantly
  • Receive job alerts
  • Get career advice

Join Helmets to Hardhats and start your next career as a today!

Here’s how it works: Simply CLICK HERE and complete the registration page. Make sure that you create a resume and apply to one of the carpenter job listings. We have included a nationwide posting so that every geographical area in the country is covered for your convenience. Soon, a UBC representative will contact you to help you start your civilian career with the UBC. Within no time at all, your career will begin with a solid pay and benefits package.

What happens after an application is submitted?

Everyone who has met all apprenticeship application requirements will be considered for apprenticeship and scheduled for an interview. Interviews are conducted as demand requires.

Are there application fees for the carpentry apprenticeship program?


How long does an apprenticeship last?

A typical apprenticeship lasts forty-eight months from start to finish. Apprentices attend one week of training every three months for sixteen sessions.

What is the rate of pay for carpenters' apprentices ?

The exact rate of pay depends on the type of carpentry program in which the apprentice is enrolled. The standard for apprentices is: First year: 40%of journeyman wages; second year: 50%; third year: 60%; and fourth year: 80%.

What is your Equal Opportunity policy?
The Carpenters Joint Apprentice Committee of Philadelphia and Vicinity is committed to equal opportunity for applicants.

The Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund of Philadelphia and Vicinity admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national or ethnic origin in admission policies, educational policies, scholarship loan agreements, and any other school administered programs. Anyone desiring information on the program or notice of application times may contact the school by writing to the Carpenters JATF, 10401 Decatur Rd., Philadelphia, PA., 19154,or by calling 215-824-2303.

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