A man framing a structure.

Program Details, Costs, and Admission Requirements

  • Program Length
    8 Months
  • Credential
  • Options
  • Location Offered
    Cowichan, Nanaimo, tiwšɛmawtxʷ (Powell River)

Build the foundation for your career in the carpentry industry with VIU’s Carpentry program. Vancouver Island University’s eight-month Carpentry Training Program is for anyone who wants a career that combines physical and mental work and the rewarding feeling that comes with building things.

Graduates find work as apprentice carpenters, concrete formers, wood framers, finishing carpenter’s helpers, cabinet installers and home renovators. It’s also a good foundation for getting into construction project management. With a combination of classroom and on-the-job training, this Carpentry course is unique – it is one of only two programs in the province that sends students off-site to build real houses.

Program Overview

This Foundation program covers the basic carpentry skills required in preparation for employment as a carpenter apprentice in the building industry.

The program has been developed collaboratively by industry and Vancouver Island University, and follows the BC Provincial Apprenticeship Level 1 program competencies. The curriculum seeks an effective balance between hands-on learning activities and specific academic and theoretical components.

The program includes on-the-job training as well as construction of real life projects. Strong ties with the Nanaimo CHBA and other local contractors, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 527, City of Nanaimo building officials, and many other sub-trades and suppliers have resulted in a close cooperative training partnership with the local building industry.

Students will be evaluated throughout the program and will receive letter grades and weighted credits for each of the courses, including applied and theoretical work.

Class times may vary, and students can expect to spend one to two hours a day on homework. Good attendance is mandatory. A minimum 70% grade average in theory and practical is required to receive a graduation certificate.

Students who successfully complete the program will be awarded a certificate from Vancouver Island University for Carpentry Foundation (Level I Carpentry Apprenticeship).

For more information and schedules visit VIU's Trades and Applied Technology Apprenticeship page.

Notes on Admission

  • Physically fit and able to adapt to working conditions.
  • Good hand/eye coordination.
  • Good health, free of vision, hearing or respiratory ailments.
  • For student’s wishing to operate vehicles and equipment a valid driver’s license will be required.
  • Enrolment in this program is limited. Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program.


CPTY 111T - (Occupational Skills, Documentation, Tools, and Safety)8.5
CPTY 113T - (Surveying, Layout, and Concrete)4.5
CPTY 115T - (Framing and Building Science)4.5
CPTY 109T - (Work Experience)1.5

Total Credits



Essential Skills


ESFC 100T - (Personal Management Skills)2.0
ESFC 105T - (Trades Math)1.0
ESFC 110T - (Business Operations)0.5
ESFC 115T - (The Emerging Workplace)0.5
ESFC 120T - (Employment Strategies)1.0

Total Credits


All program courses must be successfully completed before certificates will be issued.

This unique, high-profile, information-packed program is well recognized by the building industry as an excellent introduction to the residential and commercial building industries. The program provides a path to apprenticeship, a career, and Red Seal Certification.

Graduates of this program have been successful in procuring employment in positions such as apprentice carpenters, concrete formers, wood framers, finishing carpenters’ helpers, cabinet installers, and home renovators. Graduates have also found employment with many other related building industry employers.

Excellent opportunities exist for graduates of this program to obtain carpentry apprenticeships with professional building contractors or the Carpenters’ Unions.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Fees - Nanaimo Campus Amount
Tuition (8 months x $499.20 per month) 3,993.60
Supply fee 478.03
Student Services fee (4.417% of tuition) 176.40
Student Activity fee (4% of tuition and lab fee) 178.87
VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $27.60 per month) 220.80
Health and Dental Plan fee ($265.00 per year) 265.00
Books and supplies (approximate cost) 1,300.00

* Students are responsible for transportation costs to job site.

The VIUSU Health and Dental Plan fee is assessed for all students enrolled in 6 credits or more per term, or in Trades/Vocational programs of 5 months or longer.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice and are expected to increase by 2% each year on April 1.

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus Options
VIU Carpentry Students, Natalie and Karly

Natalie and Karly, Carpentry

“It’s empowering to know how to fix things. In the future I plan on mentoring other women and teaching them the basics of carpentry.”

Read about Natie and Karly's experience