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Drywall Installer: Employment Info & Requirements

You've got a sharp eye, physical strength and you want a good paycheck. You might even be willing to consider getting a 2-year, associate degree with a construction focus. If so, you might want to check out opportunities for drywall installers.

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Career Definition for Drywall Installers

Drywall installers, also called drywall framers or drywall hangers, precisely measure and cut standard-sized pieces of drywall to fit building walls. Since drywall is a heavy material consisting of two layers of paper with gypsum in between, it usually takes two workers to lift it against a wall and glue, nail or screw it to a wood or metal building frame. When drywall is installed in ceilings, workers use mechanical lifts to put it in place.

Education On-the-job training or apprenticeship; construction associate's degrees are available
Job Skills Mathematics aptitude, manual dexterity, physical fitness, good eyesight and balance
Median Salary (2015)* $39,220 (drywall and ceiling tile installers)
Career Outlook (2014-2024)* 5% (drywall and ceiling tile installers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

It's possible to find work as a drywall installer through a contractor who's willing to provide on-the-job training or through union apprenticeships; some apprenticeships are listed by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC). Some employers favor those with postsecondary training in community, junior, technical or trade schools. Certain community colleges offer 2-year Associate of Applied Science degrees with a construction focus; typical courses may include drywall installation, construction safety, carpentry and blueprint reading.

Skills Required

Drywall installers need to be strong and physically fit, with good manual dexterity, eyesight and balance. They also have the basic math skills needed to take measurements.

Economic and Career Outlook

Drywall and ceiling tile installers find the most work in highly populated areas. During the decade ending in 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job opportunities for these workers to grow by 5%. As of May 2015, median wages for drywall and ceiling tile installers were $39,220, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Related careers include:

Carpenter

The most common path toward this career is for high school graduates to learn their carpenter skills through a formal apprenticeship, although some learn their skills by starting as a carpenter's helper and learning while on the job. The opportunities for carpenters should be good during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the BLS, with 6% growth expected. The median annual salary for this profession in 2015 was $42,090, per the BLS.

Brickmason, Blockmason and Stonemason

High school graduates can learn masonry skills by completing an apprenticeship or technical school program; some also learn the necessary skills while on the job. Masons who build walkways, walls and fences with stone, concrete blocks and bricks earned an annual median wage of $39,640 overall in 2015, with the brickmasons and blockmasons earning the top salaries, the BLS reported. The employment outlook for all masonry workers is much faster than average, with 15% growth anticipated for stonemasons and 19% predicted for brickmasons and blockmasons from 2014-2024.

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