About the Job Title "Rough carpenter"

Rough carpenter Job Description

Rough carpenters are carpenters that build rough wooden structures, such as scaffolds, bridges or temporary frame shelters. To become a rough carpenter, you will need a high school diploma and then on the job training, normally achieved through an apprenticeship. 

Rough carpenter Job Profiles: This is a general writeup based on our research into Rough carpenter positions in the Carpenter career area. For individual, real-life job profiles of actual people with this type of job, check out our job profiles page.

  • Career Field: Carpenter
  • Salary Range: $ - $

What's it like to be a Rough carpenter?

Duties and responsibilities

Rough carpenters are carpenters who build rough wooden structures, such as scaffolds, bridges or temporary frame shelters. They do this according to the sketches, blueprints, or oral instructions that they receive from clients. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:

  • Measuring materials or distances
  • Studying blueprints to determine dimensions of structures to be constructed
  • Cutting or sawing boards, timbers, or plywood to the required size
  • Assembling materials together to construct wood or metal framework
  • Putting up frameworks, scaffolds and supports using a variety of tools
  • Installing rough doors and window frames, or temporary supports, in structures undergoing construction or repair
  • Examining structural timbers and supports to detect decay, and replace as required


To become a rough carpenter, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some aspiring rough carpenters attend vocational-technical schools that offer associate’s degrees in carpentry. Whereas, other carpenters learn on the job or through apprenticeship. They begin by doing simple tasks and then progress to more complex tasks, such as reading blueprints and building wooden structures.

Apprenticeship programmes vary slightly by state and region, but typically they must complete a predetermined number of hours of technical training and paid on-the-job training. All carpenters must pass the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour safety course.

Skills and relevant work experience

Rough carpenters need to be physically fit in order to keep up with the demands of the job, that includes moving heavy wood and standing up a lot. As well as this, carpenters will need:

  • Active Listening, as rough carpenters need to give their full attention to what clients or other construction workers want. They need to understand the points being made and ask questions as appropriate
  • Mathematical skills, because rough carpenters need to do everything from calculating wall heights and floor space, to measuring angles in order to make the right cuts for corners
  • Detail orientation, as carpenters must be very precise in their work in order to meet the brief delivered by clients
  • Dexterity, as a rough carpenters must make precise cuts, using a variety of hand tools and power tools, they need a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination
  • Mathematical and technical skills, as rough carpenters need to measure material. They also need to interpret drawings, use computers and complexed machines to cut and fit wood


Rough carpenters tend to work typical full time hours. They may, however, have to work longer hours to meet the clients deadlines.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a carpenter, which includes rough carpenter, in the United States was $48,330 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,170, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $84,690. The starting pay for apprentices is obviously less than what fully trained carpenters. As apprentices gain experience, their pay will increase.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of carpenters is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This increase in employment is primarily due to the population growth, which should result in the need for more home construction, where rough carpenters are essential.

However, the increasing popularity of modular and prefabricated components and homes may limit the demand for more carpenters. For example, roof assemblies, bathrooms, windows, and entire buildings can now all be manufactured in a separate facility and then assembled onsite.

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