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Glazier

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Overall Score
(5.6 out of 10)

Number of Jobs

8,000

Median Salary

$37,610

Unemployment Rate

0.9 percent

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This Job is Ranked in
Best Construction Jobs #3
The 100 Best Jobs #90

These skilled craftsmen cut and install glass in all types of buildings, from windows in homes to sweeping vistas in skyscrapers. "It is a physical job as compared to most," says Greg Renne, a former glazier who now works as recruitment manager for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. Glaziers work with large pieces of heavy glass, and much of the work is outdoors and sometimes several stories in the air. Renne says growing numbers of women and older glaziers can be seen on job sites, due partly to technological advances in tools and lift systems. But the work is often physically demanding: 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 increasingly seeking candidates with math and design knowledge and familiarity with sophisticated construction equipment. As a result, many jobs require multiyear training and apprenticeships. Training requirements and salaries vary in this profession, depending on whether jobs are offered through nonunion or union contractors. Generally, the most-demanding and best-paying jobs involve work on high-rise buildings.

Glaziers are benefiting from an increasing demand for environmentally conscious "green" construction, which often features energy-efficient glass products like double-paned windows that reduce heat loss. However, the increased use of prefabricated windows, which carpenters and general contractors can install, has somewhat dampened demand for glaziers. Still, job prospects are promising given the need to replace those leaving the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth of 17.2 percent between 2012 and 2022.

Salary

According to the BLS, glaziers earned a median wage of $37,610 in 2012, or about $18 an hour. The best-paid earned a median wage of $69,120, while the lowest-paid earned less than $24,170 in 2012. Starting pay for apprentices may be half or even less than that of a fully trained glazier. Employment sectors that pay well include local government, elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges, universities and professional schools. New York and Seattle have the most jobs for glaziers.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $48,270
Median $37,610
25th Percentile $30,640

Training

The majority of glaziers get their education through an apprenticeship program, according to Renne. Nonunion training tends to be provided in on-the-job situations, he says, whereas the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades offers a three-year training and apprenticeship program at roughly 150 sites throughout the country. Apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training each year. Training includes the use of tools and equipment, how to handle, measure, cut and install glass, how to 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.

Reviews & Advice

Glass must be cut precisely, so glaziers should have good hand-eye coordination. A good sense of balance and physical strength are also important. Glaziers should enjoy working with their hands, have a mechanical aptitude, solid math skills and the ability to visualize project installations and to 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 markets. As in many craft professions, it may be necessary to start on smaller projects that demand fewer skills and develop 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.

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility fair Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility good High
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Last updated by Katy Marquardt.


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