|Number of Jobs:||41,960|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Construction Jobs||#4|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#75|
Glaziers are the primary skilled craftsmen doing glass work on all types of America's buildings, including new structures and remodeling jobs. The work is as varied as the structures, ranging from installing sweeping glass vistas on the upper floors of high-rise office and apartment buildings to putting standardized window inserts into residences. "It is a physical job as compared to most," and much of the work is outdoors and often at least several stories in the air, says Greg Renne, a former glazier who now works as recruitment manager for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT). However, he says growing numbers of women and older glaziers can be seen on job sites, due partly to technological advances in tools and lift systems. Glaziers suffer high job-related injury rates, from cuts as well as falls from ladders and scaffolding.
Although jobs do not require more than a high school diploma, employers are becoming more demanding in terms of math and design knowledge and familiarity with sophisticated construction equipment. As a result, multi-year training and apprenticeships are required for many jobs. There may be sharply varying training requirements and salaries depending on whether jobs are offered through non-union or union contractors. The most-demanding and generally best-paying jobs involve working on high-rise buildings, which tend to be located in or near large metropolitan areas. In addition, the South has a concentration of glazing contractors. Glazier work is also benefiting from the rise in environmentally conscious "green" construction, which often features energy-efficient glass products and window systems.
The growth of pre-fabricated windows has dampened demand for glaziers, as has the severe decline in commercial and residential construction because of the recession. Activity has started to pick up, however, providing good prospects for work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment growth of more than 42 percent between 2010 and 2020. That represents 17,700 new jobs and 15,700 replacement jobs. There were 41,960 glaziers in 2011; this excludes self-employed contractors, who accounted for about 5 percent of all glaziers in 2010.
According to the BLS, glaziers earned a median wage of $37,350 in 2011, or nearly $18 an hour. The best-paid earned a median wage of $69,120, while the lowest-paid earned less than $23,610 in 2011. Salaries for apprentices may be half or even less than what a journeyman makes. Experienced journeymen working on demanding projects can command very attractive salaries. Employment sectors that pay well include local government and nonresidential building construction plus elementary and secondary schools. New York and Chicago have the most jobs for glaziers.
"The majority of the glaziers and glassworkers get their education through an apprenticeship program," says the IUPAT's Renne. Non-union training tends to be provided more in on-the-job situations, he says, whereas IUPAT provides a three-year training and apprenticeship program at roughly 150 sites across the country through its Finishing Trades Institute programs. Each year, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. Training includes the use of tools and equipment; how to handle, measure, cut, and install glass; how to cut, fit, and work with molding materials; installation techniques; basic math; and blueprint reading and sketching. Connecticut is the only state that requires glaziers to be state-licensed.
Glaziers need to have very good eye-hand coordination, a good sense of balance, and be strong enough to lift heavy pieces of glass. They should enjoy working with their hands, have a mechanical aptitude, solid math skills, and the ability to visualize project installations and to correctly interpret complex architectural drawings and construction blueprints. Construction contractors are looking for trained and, preferably, experienced glaziers. Completing a training program is a good way for new entrants into the field to verify their expertise. Unions don't influence access to jobs as much as they once did, but they do retain a large presence in many local craft markets. Like many craft professions, it may be necessary to start on smaller projects that demand fewer skills, and develop both on-the-job experience and contacts within the local construction trades market. Military veterans are sought by many contractors and training programs. "If you have a willingness to learn and a willingness to work, and you're good at what you do, you're always going to find an opportunity to work," Renne says.
|Stress Level||Above Average|