“You won’t be good or quick at everything, but as long as you’re improving and always giving your best at work, then everything is good.”

– Tanner Coleman, Carpenters Apprentice at Carpenters Training Institute

Tanner Coleman and Jake Johnson are two regular guys. They grew up watching their dads, siblings, and other family members work hard and make a living as carpenters and millwrights. They go to school, hang out with friends, and try to save a little money to one day buy a home or a new car. As high school wrapped up, Tanner and Jake both wanted a secondary education option that wouldn’t land them in thousands of dollars of debt. Encouraged by family members to consider the skilled trades, they applied for apprentice programs at Carpenters Training Institute.

Now that they’re here, Tanner and Jake spend every day working with their hands, learning something new, and earning a living wage while they develop their craft. Here’s what the average day at Carpenters Training Institute looks like for Tanner and Jake:

Q&A With Apprentices Tanner Coleman and Jake Johnson

Q: How did you hear about Carpenters Training Institute?

Tanner: My father and uncles are millwrights in Local 1463 and steered me in this direction.

Jake: I heard about Carpenters Training Institute from my dad and my brother. My dad has been a millwright for over 30 years out of Local 2158. My brother has been a millwright out of Local 1463 for nearly nine years.

Carpenters Training Institute is part of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, North America’s largest building-trades union. As a member, you earn an equal wage, receive a pension and health insurance, and gain opportunities for advancement at every stage of your career.

Q: Which apprentice program did you choose? What drew you to that program?

Tanner: Interior Systems Carpenter. I’ve done carpentry off and on for five or six years and figured the carpenters program would be a good place to start. Plus, it paid more than any job I’ve had before.

Jake: Millwright. I wanted to learn more about working from heights, welding, and rigging.

Whatever craft you’re interested in, there’s a place for you in the skilled trades. At Carpenters Training Institute, we offer five apprentice programs: professional carpenter, millwright, floor coverer, pile driver, and cabinet maker. Each four-year program gives you the skills, knowledge, and support you need to begin your career as a journeyworker.

Q: Which tools, skills, and techniques have you learned and practiced so far?

Tanner: I’ve done a lot of different things in the year I’ve been in so it’s hard to go into detail about what I’ve learned, but there is always an easier and safer way to do things. Also, quality matters.

Jake: Welding and rigging.

During the classroom portion of your apprenticeship at Carpenters Training Institute, you’ll gain the knowledge and understanding necessary to read blueprints and layouts, estimate time and materials, judge load capacities, ensure the safety of everyone on the job site, and more.

When you’re out on the job, you’ll work with your hands and get comfortable using a variety of tools and techniques to safely and efficiently produce high-quality work.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

Tanner: I do something different almost every day.

Jake: Show up to work, have a safety meeting, get permits from the plant, then do the job safely.

Every day at Carpenters Training Institute looks different, and that’s what our apprentices love most! As an apprentice, you’ll complete roughly 7,000 hours of diverse, on-the-job training, and about 640 hours of classroom instruction before graduating and beginning your work in the field.

Q: What surprised you the most about Carpenters Training Institute or your apprentice program?

Tanner: The shop, because it’s huge. The equipment is new, and trainers take the time you need to teach you.

At Carpenters Training Institute, we’re proud of our state-of-the-art classrooms and training facilities. During your apprenticeship, you’ll be surrounded by heavy machinery, powerful tools, and tons of moving parts everyday. And, each of our instructors is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, innovative tools, and high-quality training from the International Training Center.

Q: What do you like most about your apprentice program?

Tanner: You start off making good money, and it only gets better. Plus, you kind of end up with a second family. I also like building things and solving problems.

Jake: Getting paid while going to class.

As an apprentice at Carpenters Training Institute, you’ll earn a living wage while getting real-world experience. During your apprenticeship, you’ll focus on building your career—not debt.

Q: What do you like most about Carpenters Training Institute?

Tanner: I like that you can take extra classes. My personal favorite is welding.

If you just can’t get enough of the hands-on, on-the-job training Carpenters Training Institute offers, you can deepen your education with continuing education courses. Like Tanner, you’ll add extra classes to your roster, so you can learn skills that may not traditionally be associated with your craft—like welding, operating an aerial lift, or tradeshow installation, just to name a few.

Q: What kinds of projects do you hope to work on after you complete your apprenticeship?

Jake: I hope to run my own crew for a company.

Jake wants to be a foreman—someone in charge of an individual craft or job crew. Maybe you want to be a foreman, too. Or maybe you’ll choose to become a site superintendent. A superintendent is responsible for helping coordinate job crews, subcontractors, and vendors, and making sure the site runs smoothly. After your four-year apprenticeship, you can explore new opportunities for more consistent work and better pay, whatever route you take. Where you go is up to you.

What Will Your Apprenticeship Look Like?

If you’re like Tanner and Jake—and you want a free college alternative where you gain hands-on, on-the-job training, consider an apprenticeship in a skilled trade. You’ll learn lifelong skills as a professional carpenter, millwright, pile driver, floor coverer, or cabinet maker, and go on to earn a living as a successful foreman, superintendent, or any other role you choose.

See our state-of-the-art facilities for yourself. Schedule a visit to Carpenters Training Institute.