# How many valence electrons does carbon have available for bonding to other atoms?

A carbon atom, $Z = 6$, has 4 valence electrons.
The carbon atom has an electronic configuration of $1 {s}^{2} 2 {s}^{2} 2 {p}^{2}$. The $2 s$ and the $2 p$ orbitals participate in bonding; a tetrahedral $s {p}^{3}$ hybridization scheme is commonly invoked in order to describe the observed geometry.