Carpentry student and Army veteran Luz Brenz CA '20 is known as "a team player who knows how to lift up the whole environment." Her instructors say, "There's a quiet confidence to Luz. She asks smart questions, brings people together, and gets the job done." In this interview, Luz shares her thoughts on a range of topics, from work in the program to her plans for the future.
Our Carpentry program encourages a commitment to excellence and a mastery of the craft. In 36 weeks, you’ll be able to jump-start your carpentry career and earn a return on your educational investment. Our small class sizes give you plenty of one-on-one time with your instructors, who are master carpenters.
PETER SMITH PC ’04
Peter is the Carpentry Department Head and a graduate of our Preservation Carpentry program. He most recently worked for custom building and design firm David E. Lanoue, Inc, and previously supervised NBSS interns at Mt. Lebanon Shaker Village. Peter is also a former NBSS Continuing Education instructor, with additional experience as a camp counselor and a public school teacher.
BROCK LEIENDECKER PC ’16
Brock graduated from the School's Preservation Carpentry program, and has worked on a variety of preservation and building projects throughout New England. He previously taught Continuing Education courses and served as an assistant in both the Carpentry and Preservation Carpentry programs.
We offer rolling admissions and will accept applicants throughout the year. The program is extremely competitive and fills quickly, so you should apply as early as possible. Successful applicants are dependable, have basic math skills, and enjoy physically demanding work.
- Students are admitted in September.
- The maximum enrollment is 26 students.
- Classes meet 7:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday - Thursday, September through May.
- The program length is one, nine-month academic year (36 weeks or 1170 class hours*).
- Students are responsible for their own transportation to site work.
- Students who complete the program receive a Diploma of Carpentry.
* Class hours equals clock hours.
Tuition & Costs
- September 2020-July 2021 tuition is $25,500, with the option of making 9 monthly payments of $2,833.
- The estimated cost of hand tools is $3,350.
- The estimated cost of books is $250.
- The cost of materials is $900, billed as monthly installments of $100.
Graduates of our Carpentry program enjoy careers like residential remodeling, contractor work, project management, and many others.
Some of the jobs our graduates have held include:
- Lead carpenter for high-end remodeling and cabinetmaking business
- Finish carpenter for a large contractor
- Job supervisor for high-end renovator/remodeler
- Assistant project manager at a commercial construction company
- Owner of a residential remodeling company
- Carpenter for the State of Massachusetts
The following information is from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Carpenters work throughout the country in almost every community and make up the second largest building trades occupation. Usually, employees with previous classroom training start at a higher level than those without training. Some carpenters change employers each time they finish a project. Others alternate between working for a contractor and working independently.
Carpenters held about 945,400 jobs in 2014.
- About 30% of all carpenters were self-employed.
- 20% worked in residential building construction.
- 12% worked in nonresidential building construction.
- 11% worked as finishing contractors.
Employment is expected to increase by 6% during the 2014–24 decade, stimulated by:
- Population growth to meet people’s housing and other basic needs
- Energy conservation, particularly in the industrial sector
- Home remodeling
- Construction and repair of roads and bridges, financed by the Federal and State governments.
Job opportunities will be good for those with the most training and skills. Carpenters with specialized or all-around skills will have better opportunities than those who can perform only a few simple, routine tasks.
For more information, see the U.S. Department of Labor statistics for Carpentry.
SALARY AND WAGE DATA
According to Payscale, the median annual salary for carpenters was $43,736 in 2016. The median hourly rate was $19. The following averages are for specific carpentry-related jobs in 2016:
- Journeyman Carpenter - Median annual salary: $48,904 | Median hourly wage: $24.
- Lead Carpenter – Median annual salary: $49,569 | Median hourly wage: $22
- Assistant Project Manager – Median annual salary: $54,205 | Median hourly wage: $17
- Carpenter Foreman – Median annual salary: $56,791 | Median hourly wage: $24
- Construction Foreman – Median annual salary: $54,701 | Median hourly wage: $21
- Construction Laborer – Median annual salary: $38,576 | Median hourly wage: $14
- Finish Carpenter – Median annual salary: $43,065 | Median hourly wage: $20
- Handyman – Median annual salary: $39,694 | Median hourly wage: $20
The outlook for carpentry careers is very positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, carpenter employment opportunities are projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028 – that's above the average for all occupations. With the pace of new home builds as well as renovation and remodeling projects, trained carpenters can look forward to a rosy job picture for some years to come. And, there are a number of opportunities for carpenters to specialize – restoration, building conversions, interior design, among others.
For years, the School's Carpentry programs had relied on a 2008 Dodge van to transport materials and tools to work sites. Oﬀsite projects are an essential component of the curriculum, and reliable transportation is a must. After years of service, it was time to upgrade to a newer model – but cost and scarcity of the right model posed significant challenges. With generous funding from private foundations, NBSS was able to find and purchase a new van outright. The entire School will make use of the new van, and it is an especially valuable resource for the Carpentry program.
NBSS Preservation Carpentry students craft hand-built sheds each fall as part of their first-year curriculum, to practice basic construction techniques. You can own one of this year's sheds – there are two available for purchase now! Find out more details here.
In this program, you’ll learn how to construct and renovate residential and commercial buildings. You’ll use hand tools and machines, and learn the different practices of current and emerging industry standards. You’ll experience the importance of working together safely and efficiently on building sites to meet your clients’ needs.
Our Carpentry facilities are well-suited for lectures, benchwork, and small building projects. In addition, you’ll work off-site on construction that may include house additions, garages, or similar projects.