Blown Insulation Contractor
Blown insulation contractors supervise insulation installers who use specialized equipment to insert insulation products into attics and in between walls to control temperatures. Contractors provide estimates, negotiate business contracts and schedule workers to complete insulation projects. Depending on the materials being used, personal protective equipment might be required while on site.
Getting into this career typically requires a high school graduate to complete an apprenticeship program. Depending on state law, contractors may be required to hold a license and a surety bond to protect customers. Certifications might also be required, depending on the insulation materials being used.
Insulation installation requires workers to be in sufficient physical shape, as they may be moving heavy objects in hazardous conditions. A warm and focused personality is beneficial in dealing with clients, and use of and familiarity with protective equipment is required.
In 2015, installation installers earned a median annual salary of $38,630, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Steps to Getting into this Career
Now let's take a look at the steps you can take to become a blown insulation contractor.
Step 1: Join an Apprenticeship Program
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mechanical insulation workers are usually trained through apprenticeship programs that may require 4-5 years of supervised work. Formal apprenticeships are available to individuals who are at least 18 and have a high school education. In order to complete an apprenticeship program, aspiring insulators must usually pass a written exam to become a journey-level worker.
Some community colleges offer heat and cold insulation apprenticeship programs that allow apprentices to earn a certificate or associate degree. These programs include on-the-job training and classroom lectures covering blown insulation installation techniques, blueprint reading and equipment usage.
State-run workforce development departments and local insulation companies can be helpful for finding local apprenticeship programs. Trade organizations and unions such as the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers also offer formal apprenticeship programs that include hands-on and classroom training.
To really succeed in your apprenticeship, get in top physical shape. Insulation installation requires workers to be in great shape, as they regularly are performing manual work in a potentially taxing environment. Aspiring contractors should get in shape early so they're ready for anything upon entering the workforce.
Additionally, learn about the construction business. The more an insulation installer becomes familiar with the ins and outs of other realms of the construction field, they better they can work with professionals on the job site. Understanding the basics will make the day smoother with the electricians, construction managers and carpenters whose work contractors may have to understand.
Step 2: Learn Safety Protocols
The BLS states that insulation installers and contractors must learn and adhere to safety procedures, such as wearing masks or respirators and working in well-ventilated areas when possible. Workers wear safety goggles to avoid damage to their eyes from falling debris and may take decontamination showers after working with certain types of insulation materials.
Step 3: Pursue Certification
Insulation installers who remove asbestos are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete federal or state certification courses. The National Insulation Association offers a 2-day voluntary certification program for insulation energy appraisers to promote use of energy-efficient insulation products.
Step 4: Obtain a Contractor's License
Insulation contractor's license requirements vary by state; however, most states require individuals to pass an exam on applicable business and trade laws. Applicants must meet state-specified experience and education requirements. Some states require contractors to have a minimum of four years of experience and be classified as a journey-level worker. Independent contractors may also be required to deposit a surety bond when filing for a state license in order to protect consumers in the event that contracted work is not completed.
To recap, with the completion of an apprenticeship and license, blown insulation contractors earn about $39,000 a year to supervise insulation installers who use specialized equipment to insert insulation products into attics and in between walls to control temperatures.