- Do you like working with wood?
- Are you good with your hands?
- Could you build from the ground up and learn on the job?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Framer could be right for you.
Framers build, install, maintain and repair foundations, exterior doors and windows, floors, walls and roofs.
They are employed by single- and multi-family home builders, construction companies, framing contractors and factory maintenance departments, or they may be self-employed.
As a Framer, your duties may include the following:
- Selecting, measuring and marking materials for exterior doors and windows, foundations, floors, walls and roofs
- Cutting and shaping materials and joining them with nails, screws, bolts or glue
- Developing work plans
- Reading and interpreting blueprints
Working conditions for framers vary from one job to another. On some jobs, framers work mainly indoors and work a standard 40-hour week (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). On other jobs, they work mainly outdoors and may have varied hours depending on the demands of the project. As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next.
As a Framer, you will generally work on residential and commercial sites with other framers and carpenters. The job is physically demanding – you may have to work with power tools, lift heavy materials and kneel or crouch for long periods of time. You may also have to make quick mental calculations.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Framers are trained to work safely and wear special equipment to protect against injury.
Training and Certification
Apprenticeship is one way of starting out in the construction industry. It involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Framer, called a journeyperson.
As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 50 per cent of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship, until you reach the full rate.
Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for framer apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. Most programs require a secondary school diploma or equivalent. You may find it helpful to enrol in math, shop, industrial arts and mechanical drawing courses in high school.
Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as a framer.
Apprenticeship training programs for framers vary across Canada, but generally involve at least one 12-month period, including both on-the-job training and in-class technical training.
Related work experience or completion of a framer program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.
Certification is available but voluntary in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Where certification is not available, it may be possible to study as an apprentice through your local labour organization. Check out our Related links to find out who to contact. Even where certification is voluntary, it is still recommended. Certification tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional. It also helps you get jobs.
To be certified as a Framer, you must complete an apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a framing technician credential.
If you have two years of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses in framing, you may be eligible for the framing credential.
To keep their skills current, Framers must keep up with new technologies by reading and speaking with other framers.