what is a joiner?

A joiner is a woodworker who designs and creates the wooden components of a building. These could include window frames, doors, stairs and ornamental features. Your products also include furniture, especially larger or permanent items such as cabinets or bookcases. As a joiner, you'll use both traditional hand carving tools and modern design software to create bespoke items. Joinery combines technical skill with artistic creativity, making it a great career if you want to put your skills to work making something beautiful. 

As a joiner, you work on many different projects, but home construction is among the most common. Other common projects include fitting or remodelling businesses, creating components such as counters, shelves or display cases. You could even work on more specialised projects such as stage or film sets. Being a joiner isn't only about creating new projects, though. In addition to creating new components to a design specification, you are often called on to repair or replace existing ones. 

Would working as a joiner suit your patience and attention to detail? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a joiner role.

joiner jobs

average salary of a joiner

As an entry-level joiner, you earn around £17,000 per year, but experience and proven reliability increase this. The upper range of a joiner's salary is around £38,000. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the median salary of carpenters and joiners is just under £28,000 per year. ONS does not track salary information for carpenters and joiners separately. 

factors affecting compensation

One factor that can help increase your take-home pay as a joiner is your work schedule. As a joiner, you'll often receive an hourly wage and work to tight deadlines. In the period before a major deadline, your work hours could be longer, giving you the opportunity to earn some extra money. The more techniques and tools you master, the more different jobs you can accept and the more you can charge for your services.


types of joiner

As a joiner, you work either in a workshop, creating components, or on a job site, assembling and installing them. If you spend your workday at a workbench, designing and building components, you're called a bench joiner. By contrast, if you're at a worksite, installing those components, you're a site joiner. Because the roles of site joiner and carpenter overlap, this job is often called 'site joiner and carpenter.'


male wearing protective ear covers, safety gloves and safety glasses on a production site
male wearing protective ear covers, safety gloves and safety glasses on a production site

working as a joiner

From drawing up technical plans to carefully hand-carving details, as a joiner, you'll guide projects from conception to completion. If you relish the challenge of creating beautiful woodworking quickly and safely, this could be the job for you.


education and skills

Preparing for a career as a joiner means making sure you have the right training for the task. There are multiple ways to gain the skills and experience necessary. One path to a job as a joiner is to study the subject at a further education college. Qualifications such as a diploma in Bench Joinery or Carpentry and Joinery will give you the technical skills you need for the role. Alternatively, you could pursue an apprenticeship in architectural joinery. This type, of course, combines classroom training with on-the-job experience. 

If you already have experience in other sectors of the construction industry or with woodworking, you may be able to gain some further on-the-job experience working as a joiner's mate. This type of job gives you workshop experience and lets you observe a joiner's work first-hand. 

In addition to training in joinery itself, you need to understand the safety procedures required by construction sites if you're going to be working on one. A relevant safety pass such as a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card lets you work on construction sites. It may also be needed for your training if you visit or work on a site as part of it. 

skills and competencies

Woodworking expertise is important, but it isn't the only skill that makes a great joiner. Working as a joiner, you will: 

  • communicate with architects and designers
  • pay attention to detail when crafting pieces
  • make calculations quickly 
  • maintain the machines and other tools you use
  • work on your own without direct supervision
  • read and interpret technical drawings
  • use a range of computer systems and design software

Communications and general construction skills make you not just an expert in woodworking but an invaluable part of the overall construction team. By working together smoothly with everyone from the architect to the site carpenters, you'll simplify every part of the process, from design to installation. 

focused male working in a production area
focused male working in a production area


FAQs about working as a joiner.

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.