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    The Top Carpentry Schools in 2020

    March 4, 2021 | Staff Writers

    Carpentry Schools
    Degree Finder
    BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

    Carpentry is a very broad term for a variety of careers that involve building, erecting, and repairing structures built out of wood and other materials. Carpenters can be involved in the construction of small items such as cabinets and furniture or large construction projects such as buildings and highways. Attending one of the best carpentry schools in your area will help you get started toward accomplishing your goal.

    Though each carpentry project is different, they all involve many of the same skills and concepts. All carpentry projects will start with blueprints and building codes. Professionals will need to know how to read the blueprint and work with the instructions from supervisors. The first thing carpenters do is a layout with the materials. They will measure, cut, and arrange materials being used and then assemble them. Such an assembly would be rather small if building a simple cabinet, but if the carpenter is employed in a civil engineering project the process would be similar but on a much larger scale.

    Projects that a carpenter does may be very specialized to only a couple items of expertise or they may be employed in a vast variety of tasks under the banner of carpentry. Some specialize in local residential building such as framing, hanging drywall, molding, and doors. Others could specialize in cabinetry and create custom cabinets for high-end residential homes. Other carpenters may specialize in commercial projects and will need to have knowledge of commercial building codes and often use other materials and methods in their building. Carpenters may be contracted out to do specific items for a larger project, such as building scaffolding or building the wood frames for concrete to be poured in. Some carpenters choose to only work in new construction while others choose to work in remodeling projects.,

    Those employed outside of the construction scene are usually hired to do maintenance work for companies or privately hired to perform maintenance work. This could include repairing walls or ceilings as well as small items such as desks or furniture. Most carpentry jobs are typically full-time, sitting at 40 hours a week.

    One of the perks of this employment is that many can start their education in high school. Students can take English, Algebra, Geometry and shop classes that will help them learn to read blueprints and to perform basic wood cutting and assembly strategies. After high school, aspiring carpenters can continue on in a variety of ways, all of which require some formal education at a carpentry school, and some form of apprenticeship where they gain hands-on skills and collaborate with other professionals.

    RankSchoolLocation
    1University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, California
    2Vanderbilt UniversityNashville, Tennessee
    3Rice UniversityHouston, Texas
    4University of MichiganAnn Arbor, Michigan
    5Rhode Island School of DesignProvidence, Rhode Island

    Browse the list of carpentry schools in the United States that provide the best programs and career paths for those seeking a career in this field.

    1

    University of Southern California

    • Los Angeles, California
    University of Southern California Carpentry Schools

    A large private university, University of Southern California offers degrees in carpentry on the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. The programs are small and offer hands-on experience in the field where they work alongside professionals. The architecture program is the only one in the country with a research program as well. Students will graduate as well-educated carpenters with skills to build, engineer, and manage construction projects.

    At A Glance

    Location: Los Angeles
    Online: Partial
    Tuition: $56,225
    Programs: BS, Master’s, PhD
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 92%
    Visit School Website
    2

    Vanderbilt University

    • Nashville, Tennessee

    A private institution in Nashville, Vanderbilt University has educated students since 1873. Currently, Vanderbilt offers a bachelor’s degree in carpentry for students seeking advanced education in this field. The program is very small and students have very small class sizes with hands-on learning experiences, making it one of the best carpentry schools in the country.

    At A Glance

    Location: Nashville, Tennessee
    Online: Partial
    Tuition: $49,816
    Programs: Bachelor’s Degree
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 92%
    Visit School Website
    3

    Rice University

    • Houston, Texas

    A private research university in Houston, Rice University is situated on a 300-acre campus with high-tech woodshop labs on site. Those seeking a degree in carpentry can enroll in the bachelor’s degree. Students have access to the woodshop area with high-powered tools, hand-tools, and other tools to help them gain the skill set necessary for success in their field.

    At A Glance

    Location: Houston, Texas
    Online: Partial
    Tuition: $47,350
    Programs: Bachelor of Science
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 91%
    Visit School Website
    4

    University of Michigan

    • Ann Arbor, Michigan

    The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is a large public university that has one carpentry program. Students have access to a 6,000 square foot woodshop facility where they have work stations with most of the machinery they will be handling on the job. They also have access to a variety of materials as well while they are gaining the necessary skills and experience.

    At A Glance

    Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Online: Partial
    Tuition: $15,262
    Programs: Bachelor of Science
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 90%
    Visit School Website
    5

    Rhode Island School of Design

    • Providence, Rhode Island

    Rode Island School of Design is a private art and design school that has been open since 1877. Currently, the carpentry degree is the Furniture and Woodworking specialization. This degree is a Bachelor of Arts and will require students to finish their general education courses as well as the core coursework in woodworking. Students that have a more artistic ability with their carpentry skills should consider this program.

    At A Glance

    Location: Providence, Rhode Island
    Online: No
    Tuition: $50,960
    Programs: BA in Furniture and Woodworking
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 91%
    Visit School Website

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    6

    Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

    • Lancaster, Pennsylvania

    Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology offers one of the top carpentry schools in the United States. It engages students with the most current technology in the industry and plenty of hands-on experience. Students begin using their skills in their sophomore year by completing a construction project, building a duplex, which has been part of the curriculum since 1950.

    At A Glance

    Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    Online: No
    Tuition: $8,030
    Programs: Carpentry
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 66%
    Visit School Website
    7

    Central Louisiana Technical Community College

    • Alexandria, Louisiana

    Central Louisiana Technical Community College offers a two-year carpentry program where students apply the technical knowledge and skills to layout, fabricate, erect, install and repair wooden structures. The program is designed to be completed in two years, certifying students to be employed in the state of Louisiana in carpentry.

    At A Glance

    Location: Alexandria, Louisiana
    Online: No
    Tuition: $2,000
    Programs: Associate of Applied Science
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 50%
    Visit School Website
    8

    Rochester Community and Technical College

    • Rochester, Minnesota

    The Rochester Community and Technical College has a carpentry program that is designed to prepare students for careers in residential and commercial construction, cabinetry, factories, and building maintenance fields. The primary activity of the program at RCTC is that of building a house that includes creating a layout, a foundation, the framing, the roofing, the insulation, the drywall, and the interior construction. Over half of the program’s instruction will be on-site while building the home.

    At A Glance

    Location: Rochester, MN
    Online: No
    Tuition: $42,345
    Programs: On-Site Carpentry
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 60%
    Visit School Website
    9

    Indiana University

    • Bloomington, Indiana

    At Indiana University-Bloomington, students seeking a degree in carpentry will find the degree mixed with architecture and design. Those seeking a more artistic and in-depth program will find various specialties at Indiana University. They won’t be building homes but they can learn design and metalworking, as well as have the opportunity to work with other varieties of materials.

    At A Glance

    Location: Bloomington, Indiana
    Online: No
    Tuition: $10,681
    Programs: B.S. in Architecture
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 77%
    Visit School Website
    10

    Ranken Technical College

    • St. Louis, Missouri

    A private technical college in St. Louis, Ranken Technical College offers practical hands-on learning where students gain the necessary skills for success. Students in the carpentry program will spend a minimum of 15 hours per week either in the on-campus shop or on a job site. Students will learn how to take their projects from the planning and drafting stages to completion.

    At A Glance

    Location: St. Louis, Missouri
    Online: No
    Tuition: $7,476 (Full-time Day)
    Programs: Carpentry Program
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 63%
    Visit School Website
    11

    Emily Griffith Technical College

    • Emily Griffith Technical College

    Emily Griffith Technical College is one of the best carpentry schools in the United States because it offers a diverse carpentry program that allows students to gain core knowledge in the carpentry, electrical, and plumbing aspects of building. This program can be completed in 10 months and will give graduates the certifications necessary to be employed at most construction sites. Those seeking further certifications for plumbers or electricians can earn those after and advance their education and earning potential. For those only wanting to study carpentry, EGTC can help you get started in a carpentry apprenticeship.

    At A Glance

    Location: Denver, Colorado
    Online: No
    Tuition: $5,500
    Programs: Carpentry Program (10 Month) Certifications in OSHA 10, Backflow Prevention
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 81%
    Visit School Website
    12

    The New School

    • New York City, New York

    The New School offers a school of design in which students will build on basic woodworking skills. Courses are offered that allow them to design and create their own furniture, cabinets, etc. They will experiment with various materials and learn useful techniques. Students will learn while completing commissions under the direction of expert teachers in the shop.

    At A Glance

    Location: New York, New York
    Online: No
    Tuition: $49,064
    Programs: Furniture, Woodworking BS
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 72%
    Visit School Website
    13

    Bates Technical College

    • Tacoma, Washington

    Bates Technical College is a two-year associate and certification granting institution that offers programs in carpentry. Students that participate in and graduate from the carpentry program will complete their pre-apprenticeship requirements and qualify for an apprenticeship program. The program takes 6 quarters for students to complete. They will gain a core knowledge of reading blueprints and understanding building codes while getting some hands-on experience with building.

    At A Glance

    Location: Tacoma, Washington
    Online: No
    Tuition: $5,391
    Programs: Pre-Apprenticeship in Carpentry
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 46%
    Visit School Website
    14

    Renton Technical College

    • Renton, Washington

    Renton Technical College offers an intense carpentry program that takes 2- to 4-years to complete. Students will participate in 160 hours of classroom coursework over the course of a year. These are scheduled to be completed one full week at a time. When students are not in class they are on a worksite learning from hands-on experience as they build concrete forms, frame buildings, build walls, roofs, handrails, etc. Students will be required to complete anywhere from 5,300 hours to 8,000 hours of on-site work depending on their specialty.

    At A Glance

    Location: Renton, Washington
    Online: No
    Tuition: $5,466
    Programs: AAS and BS in Carpentry
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 20%
    Visit School Website
    15

    Minnesota West Community and Technical College

    • Worthington, Minnesota

    Minnesota West Community and Technical College offers both an Associate of Science in Carpentry as well as a certification program. Students in each program will learn the basics of residential and commercial construction. Students of the diploma program learn green building and will participate in some green construction. Students learn to incorporate green building practices into their whole design and construction process. This program will require students to do hands-on work and be outside.

    At A Glance

    Location: Worthington, Minnesota
    Online: No
    Tuition: $5,424
    Programs: Associate of Science and Certification
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 50%
    Visit School Website
    16

    Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

    • Shell Lake, Wisconsin

    At Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, students have opportunities to earn some income while learning through the on-the-job training program. The carpentry program is respected by the Association of Builders and Contractors. Students will have course works as well a hands-on experience, though most of the learning will be through hands-on construction. Wisconsin Indianhead works closely with apprenticeship programs, giving students networking opportunities to fulfill their apprenticeship.

    At A Glance

    Location: Shell Lake, Wisconsin
    Online: No
    Tuition: $4,729
    Programs: Pre-Apprenticeship in Carpentry
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 40%
    Visit School Website
    17

    Honolulu Community College

    • Honolulu, Hawaii

    Honolulu Community College provides a unique and innovative approach to carpentry. Students can explore their interests in the shop on-campus since it is a learning-centered open-door program. Those that want to pursue a career in carpentry are able to enroll in a 4-year apprenticeship program where students will learn in greater detail the industry standards and safety regulations.

    At A Glance

    Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
    Online: No
    Tuition: $3,114
    Programs: Apprenticeship Program in Carpentry
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 25%
    Visit School Website
    18

    Los Angeles Trade Technical College

    • Los Angeles, California

    Los Angeles Trade Technical College provides aspiring carpenters with a few paths to reach their goals including an Associate of Applied Science degree, an Associate of Arts degree, as well as certification. Students need to commit to attending full-time as they will be attending classes and gaining necessary skills in the labs. Students will also need to fulfill a number of on-site hours which can be done at a student’s employment on a construction site.

    At A Glance

    Location: Los Angeles, California
    Online: No
    Tuition: $1,220
    Programs: AAS and Certifications
    Financial Aid: Yes
    Graduation Rate: 14%
    Visit School Website

    Carpentry can be constructing a home or a freeway, but all the careers that lead to both start with basic carpentry courses and a lot of hands-on experience. Before enrolling in a program, know what your end goal is as a carpenter and choose a program that will take you there. Carpentry schools can differ from what they focus on and what the outcome of their programs are.  Knowing your end goal will help you enroll in the right one for you.

    Carpentry schools were ranked according to programs, cost, and available hands-on experience. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

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