Construction Trades

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your accredited online learning program includes seven Instruction Sets designed to take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you'll employ in your new career as a Skilled Carpenter.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted, and other courses will follow as you complete your exams. Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: To prepare students for an entry-level career in the residential and light commercial construction fields.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Outline design techniques and principles in the production and interpretation of basic blueprints and architectural drawings to follow specifications and meet the needs of clients.
  • Describe composition and usage of construction materials and the processes and tools required for assembly.
  • List measurement methods and mathematical processes necessary to prepare and implement construction-related projects.
  • Determine quantities and sizes of construction materials and their related installation processes by applying formulas.
  • Recall established rules and regulations related to the workplace and project requirements.
  • Recognize how to solve problems by adjusting project plans, including types of installation methods of materials and related equipment.

Instruction Set 1

Starting Your Program
In this course, you’ll develop the necessary skills to ensure your success in the program. Starting Your Program is designed to help you make a smooth transition to Penn Foster, including how to use all the tools and resources that are available to you, get help when you need it, understand the Code of Conduct, and improve your study skills and time management. The goal is to help you become a confident, independent learner.


  • Identify skills needed to be a confident and independent online learner.

Introduction to Construction and Building Trades
This course introduces you to the various domains of the construction industry: carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, roofing, drywall work, general maintenance, and so on. You’ll study the differences between construction and building trades and residential and commercial construction. The duties and tasks of the construction and building trades professional are also explained in this course. Finally, you’ll examine the proper safety measures required in various areas of the construction industry. Securing a safe environment is crucial to ensuring individual workers’ safety.


  • Analyze the structure of work, safety measures, and fundamentals of the construction industry and building trades.

Instruction Set 2

Math for Construction Trades
In this course, you’ll get a general overview of the math skills required for a career in Construction Trades.


  • Identify parts of a fraction and the conversion process.
  • Solve fraction operations and problems with ratios and proportions.
  • Change numbers to represent decimals, fractions, and percentages.
  • Product calculations with different tools for linear and angular measurements.
  • Consider common formulas and their purposes.

Instruction Set 3

Construction Drawings and Building Materials
This course will introduce you to the ability to read and interpret construction drawings. When you understand how to read construction plans, you’ll be able to visualize the completed project and plan what materials and techniques will be required to get the job done.


  • Categorize codes and the various types of construction plans and the tools involved in them.
  • Analyze the various steps to a building’s layout.
  • Consider the importance and utility of the types of lumber and fasteners used in construction and complete building plans.

Digital Textbooks: Carpentry and Building Construction

Learning Aids:

  • Architect Scale
  • Construction Print Set

Instruction Set 4

Tools, Foundations, and Concrete Work
In this course, you’ll be introduced to common hand tools and power tools used in construction trades, the proper method of caring for tools, and tool safety procedures. You’ll also cover concrete mixing, pouring, and finishing, as well as foundation building.


  • Explain the various uses of power tools and the safety procedures used with them.
  • Explain the various characteristics and components of concrete.

Digital Textbook: Foundations and Concrete Work

Instruction Set 5

In this course, you’ll study framing in construction work and several basic methods of framing and structural design used to create home frames. You’ll examine the major components to assemble in a building project, including floor, wall, and roof framing systems. This course will also focus on residential construction of wooden stairs and roofs and the reading of blueprint plans. You’ll also have an opportunity to apply carpentry skills to practice situations you may face in the field someday.


  • Identify the various intricacies of the floor framing system.
  • Recognize the elements and methods used for framing walls and doorways.
  • Explain the types of styles, assembly, and processes in roofing.

Instruction Set 6

Insulation and Exterior Finishes
In this course, you’ll explore the installation of windows and insulation and the construction of porches, decks, and fences. You’ll study the six major types of windows and how to make windows energy efficient. This course also examines the window schedule, older installation practices versus current ones, and the dangers of improper building ventilation. You’ll focus on weather barriers and insulation and the basic of deck design and construction. Additionally, you’ll have an opportunity to apply carpentry skills to practice situations you may face in the field someday.


  • Identify the types of windows and the methods of selecting and installing them.
  • Recognize the various types of insulation materials and importance of adequate ventilation.
  • Describe the importance of siding and the methods used to install it.
  • Summarize the steps of designing and constructing decks and porches.

Instruction Set 7

Interior Finishes
This course will examine finishing the interior of a construction project. You’ll learn to identify types of drywall panels, classify different types of residential doors and frames, and define finish floor and ceiling installation methods. The course will also explain drywall installation, repairs, and remodels, and aspects of interior finish carpentry. While completing your final project, you’ll apply these new skills to real-world residential interior framing and insulation situations.


  • Identify the various types of drywall panels and the methods used to apply them.
  • Classify the various types of residential doors and frames.
  • Define the methods and plans used install floors and ceilings.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

You must have completed the 8th grade to enroll in this program.

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