Are you considering a career in construction but dread the thought of working in extreme heat or cold? You might pursue training in drywall installation or finishing; jobs in this field are usually located indoors. Read on to learn more about education and career opportunities for aspiring drywall installers and finishers.
Drywall installers are also known as hangers or framers. These professionals are responsible for installing panels made from drywall onto frames in different types of structures. Drywall finishers, often called tapers, tape and apply compound to the joints between drywall panels to give them a finished look.
If you're interested in pursuing a construction career in drywall installation and finishing, you might be able to find an employer who offers on-the-job training or an apprenticeship program. However, gaining formal academic training could prepare you for a more advanced position. After gaining experience in the field, you might pursue a supervisory role or become self-employed as a contractor. Other related careers include those of building inspectors and carpenters.
Physical fitness, manual dexterity and basic math skills are necessary in order to work as a drywall installer or finisher. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed drywall and ceiling tile installers, tapers, plasterers and stucco masons was projected to increase by 12% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2010, drywall and ceiling tile installers earned an average yearly wage of $41,570, and tapers earned an average of $48,560 per year, noted the BLS.
Undergraduate construction programs often include courses in drywall installation and finishing, like moisture protection techniques, drywall tools and wall coatings. Through these types of programs, you might earn a carpenter diploma, drywall certificate, carpentry certificate or interior finishing certificate, all of which could prepare you for work in the field. If you're interested in distance learning, some schools offer online courses in carpentry or online contractor degree programs. Online learning can be a good supplement to practical, hands-on experience.
A few community colleges offer drywall finishing apprenticeship programs that lead to an associate's degree. In many cases, you need to be registered as an apprentice through an organization that's part of the U.S. Bureau of Labor's Registered Apprentice program in order to enroll. Common topics of study include preparation methods, drywall installation techniques, reading blueprints and safety measures. Some of these programs may take up to four years to complete and can prepare you for employment at the journeyman level.