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Tile Installer Degrees and Diplomas with Job Training Information

Read details about educational and training programs designed for aspiring tile installers. Get details about certificate-level studies in this field, including educational prerequisites and courses taken. Find out info about apprenticeship programs and professional certification, as well as job outlook and salary statistics.

Essential Information

Tile installers, also known as tile setters, prepare surface areas for tile application to walls, countertops, floors and ceilings. No formal degree programs for tile installers are currently offered. Most aspiring tile installers learn the trade by working with skilled journeymen, or by participating in apprenticeship or vocational programs. Some vocational and technical schools, as well as training academies affiliated with workers' unions, provide classroom instruction for prospective tile installers. This type of training program will often lead to a certificate of completion. Tile installers with this educational background are often hired at higher beginning wages than those without.

Usually lasting 3-4 years, a formal apprenticeship program teaches tile installation in a structured on-the-job environment. Aspiring tile installers begin by carrying materials, holding tiles and clearing debris. As they advance through the apprenticeship, students learn to use the tools, machines and equipment of the trade. By the end of the program, participants should be able to estimate the cost of installing and finishing tile work, at which point they will be considered formally trained tile installers. Some programs can take between 2-3 years to complete and can be paid or unpaid.

Educational Prerequisites

In order to apply to tile installer or setter apprenticeships, applicants will need to contact a 2-year college, training center, technical school or local union office. Most apprenticeships require applicants to be 17 years old with high school diplomas or equivalent. It is recommended that candidates have taken English, general math, science, geometry and shop courses during high school. Apprentices may need to pass drug tests and physical exams to prove they can handle the working conditions.

Program Coursework

Tile installers will need knowledge of building and construction, business principles and materials. Tile types, installation techniques and control mechanisms are just some of the areas that apprentices study. Other topics include the following:

  • Finishing work
  • Blueprint reading
  • Marble installation
  • Layout

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for tile and marble setters was projected to increase by 25% during the 2010-2020 period, which represents a faster than average rate of growth (www.bls.gov). The BLS notes that tile setting will be in demand as the U.S. bounces back from the recession. The average hourly wage for tile and marble setters was $20.10 in 2012, reported the BLS.

Professional Certification and Continuing Education

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) exam is offered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF). This certification is available to tile installers who have two years of work experience in supervisory or lead tile installer positions. An associate degree is not required to work as a tile installer; however, professionals may consider continuing their educations through a skilled or technical degree program if they want to advance into management positions.

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