How to Become a Drywall Contractor: Career Guide

Find out how to become a drywall contractor. Research the training requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in drywall contracting.

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Should I Become A Drywall Contractor?

A drywall installer works in specialty construction, measuring, cutting, and fastening panels of drywall on the interior walls of both residential and commercial buildings. Workers referred to as tapers usually patch the nail holes, apply tape, cover the joints with sealing compound, and sand the joints smooth. Drywall contractors may complete both the installation and taping in some instances. In either case, work is physically demanding and often carried out on scaffolds or ladders. The work is also dusty, and drywall contractors usually wear protective gear, such as goggles and masks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2015 that the median annual salary for drywall and ceiling tile installers was $39,220.

Career Requirements

Degree Level None required but a high school diploma may be needed to enter some apprenticeship programs
Experience 1+ years; apprenticeships may take 3-4 years
Key Skills Ability to move moderate to heavy loads and repeatedly perform physical tasks; stamina; knowledge of construction tools; basic math skills; knowledge of basic office, accounting, and construction software
Salary $39,220 (2015 median for drywall and ceiling tile installers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Drywall Contractor

Let's learn about the steps you need to take if you want to become a drywall contractor.

Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent

A high school diploma is not a requirement to become a drywall installer, but some training programs require individuals to have a diploma or GED. High school mathematics and shop courses can provide help in understanding basic concepts necessary for drywall installation.

Success Tip:

Seek vocational training. A vocational program that covers general construction concepts, drafting, and mathematics can help prepare you for employment as a drywall installer and the further training needed to become a contractor.

Step 2: Obtain a First Job for Training

The first job a drywall contractor obtains is usually with an employer that is able to offer on-the-job training. An entry-level position in this field begins with training, which is usually completed within a year. This training allows you to gain experience in the field and to observe the operation of a drywall contracting business.

Success Tip:

Seek apprenticeship training. An apprenticeship with a drywall installer offers more in-depth training. In addition to on-the-job training, an apprenticeship involves classroom time in a variety of technical topics. Apprentices learn other aspects of the industry, such as interpreting blueprints and understanding building codes, in addition to improving their drywall installation skills. These skills can be useful for an independent contractor.

Step 3: Obtain Licensure

Contractors are usually required to be licensed. The requirements of licensure vary widely by state, and even by region. Some states may require completion of a construction program, while others require a certain amount of experience as a journey drywall installer.

Step 4: Start Your Own Drywall Business

With enough years of experience in the field, you may start your own independent drywall businesses. Beyond standard drywall installation skills, some knowledge of accounting and small business management is usually important.

To become a drywall installer, you need to obtain the necessary training either through on-the-job training or an apprenticeship and then obtain any required license.

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