Framer: Trades Jobs Explained

A framer, also known as a framing carpenter, is a skilled tradesperson who specializes in the construction of the skeletal structure of buildings. This typically involves the creation of the framework for houses and commercial buildings, which includes the floors, walls, and roofs. Framers play a critical role in the construction industry, as they are responsible for the initial stages of building construction, setting the stage for the rest of the construction process.

Framers work in a variety of settings, from residential construction sites to large commercial projects. They work closely with other construction professionals, such as architects, engineers, and general contractors, to ensure that the building’s structure is built according to the design plans. This job requires a high level of physical fitness, as it involves heavy lifting and working at heights. It also requires a strong understanding of building codes and safety regulations.

The Role of a Framer

The primary role of a framer is to construct the framework of buildings. This involves reading and interpreting blueprints and architectural drawings, measuring and cutting lumber or other materials, and assembling them to create the structure of the building. Framers use a variety of tools, including hammers, saws, and nail guns, to perform their work.

Framers also play a crucial role in ensuring the structural integrity of the building. They must understand how different materials and construction methods affect the strength and stability of the structure. This requires a deep understanding of structural engineering principles, as well as the ability to apply these principles in a practical setting.

Skills and Aptitudes

Framers need a range of skills and aptitudes to be successful in their role. They need strong mathematical skills to accurately measure and cut materials, and a good understanding of geometry to understand how different parts of the structure fit together. They also need excellent hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity to handle tools and materials effectively.

Additionally, framers need strong problem-solving skills to overcome challenges that may arise during the construction process. They must be able to think critically and make quick decisions to keep the project on track. Good communication skills are also important, as framers often work as part of a team and need to coordinate their work with other tradespeople.

Career Path and Advancement

The career path for a framer typically starts with an apprenticeship, where they learn the trade under the supervision of experienced professionals. After completing their apprenticeship, framers can become journeymen and work independently. With further experience and training, they can advance to supervisory roles or start their own framing business.

There are also opportunities for framers to specialize in certain areas of construction, such as residential or commercial framing, or to expand their skills to include related trades, such as finish carpentry or cabinet making. With the right combination of skills, experience, and ambition, a career in framing can offer a wide range of opportunities for growth and advancement.

Education and Training

Most framers learn their trade through an apprenticeship program, which combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction. These programs typically last 3-4 years and cover a wide range of topics, including blueprint reading, mathematics for construction, building codes and safety regulations, and the use and care of tools.

In addition to formal apprenticeship programs, there are also vocational schools and community colleges that offer programs in carpentry and construction. These programs can provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for those interested in a career in framing.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for framers is generally positive, with steady demand for skilled tradespeople in the construction industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for carpenters, which includes framers, is projected to grow at a rate of about 8% from 2016 to 2026, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The salary for framers can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of construction work they do. However, the median annual wage for carpenters was $45,170 in May 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Satisfaction

Many framers find their work to be highly satisfying. They enjoy the physical nature of the work, the opportunity to work outdoors, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing a project progress from a set of blueprints to a completed structure. However, like any job, framing also has its challenges, including the physical demands of the work and the need to work in all kinds of weather conditions.

Despite these challenges, many framers find that the rewards of their work outweigh the difficulties. They take pride in their craftsmanship and enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the creation of homes, offices, and other structures that people use every day.


In conclusion, a framer is a skilled tradesperson who plays a critical role in the construction industry. They construct the framework of buildings, working from blueprints and using a variety of tools and materials. This job requires a high level of physical fitness, a strong understanding of building codes and safety regulations, and a range of skills and aptitudes, including mathematical ability, manual dexterity, and problem-solving skills.

With the right training and experience, a career in framing can offer a wide range of opportunities for growth and advancement. Whether you’re interested in residential or commercial construction, or want to expand your skills to include related trades, a career as a framer can be a rewarding and satisfying choice.

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