If you’ve ever looked up at a skylight in a shopping mall, you might have admired the fixture but had no idea how it got there. The worker who installed it was undoubtedly a glazier, a worker who installs glass.
Glaziers install and repair glass in commercial and residential buildings. Many spend most of the day working outdoors.
High School or GED
As a glazier, you’ll follow blueprints or other plans to select the correct type, size, color and thickness of glass for a job, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says. You’ll first remove any old glass, then cut the new glass. After installing or creating sashes or moldings used in installation, you’ll fasten the glass to them. You’ll also seal the glass against the weather.
O-net indicates that glaziers are very precise individuals who must be particularly conscious of safety, since this occupation has a very high rate of injuries from cuts and falls. Nearly two of every three glaziers hold jobs with building contractors.
If this work sounds interesting, you might be attracted to some similar occupations. Other trades with detailed work include:
- Terrazzo workers and finishers
- Tile and marble setters
- Stone cutters and carvers
- Sheet metal workers
- Brick masons
If you opt to become a glazier, be assured that business is booming. The BLS says that this occupation will experience 42 percent growth between 2010 and 2020. This is an increase of 17,700 jobs to the 41,900 noted in 2010. One reason is the increased use of glass exteriors in commercial construction.
Median pay is $17.61 per hour, or $36,640 per year. As an apprentice, you’ll typically earn between 30 and 50 percent of what a fully trained glazier earns.
Although you must complete an apprenticeship to become a glazier, only one state – Connecticut – requires a license.
According to O-net, you’ll be need to be able to use tools like files, glass cutters, grinding or polishing machines, levels, power sanders, power saws and tape measures. Glaziers also use software for computer-aided design, facilities management and project management.
You’ll need a basic knowledge of machine design, use, maintenance and repair, plus building materials and methods. Knowledge of arithmetic, geometry, statistics, algebra and calculus is also important.
Glaziers must have good manual dexterity and be able to interact well with customers. The ability to read blueprints or other building plans and to quickly and precisely adjust machine controls is essential.
You’ll learn this trade from an experienced worker, usually through a formal apprenticeship of three or four years.
The State of Wisconsin apprentice program requires you to be at least 17 (many others require 18) and complete a four-year program with 6,240 hours of on-the-job training plus 400 hours of related instruction.
You must be physically able to perform the trade and have a high school diploma or equivalent and either a driver’s license or suitable transportation. If required, you must pass an aptitude test. Wisconsin apprentices must also complete a first-aid course, including CPR training.
Steps to Becoming a Glazier
To find out if this career is a match, eHow suggests getting a job as a helper at a glass shop to learn the basics of how to choose and use glass. Check with a local community college or technical school to remedy any deficiencies you have in using the tools or the trade. Some offer glazier courses that should help you get a job as a helper.
Two organizations have information on training and getting apprenticeships. The National Glass Association has information about partnerships between businesses and glazing schools. You can also contact the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades to learn about current scholarships and apprenticeships.