Glaziers


Glaziers install glass in windows, skylights, and other fixtures in storefronts and buildings.

Duties

Glaziers typically do the following:

  • Follow blueprints and specifications
  • Remove any old or broken glass before installing replacement glass
  • Cut glass to the specified size and shape
  • Use measuring tape, plumb lines, and levels to ensure proper fitting installation
  • Make or install sashes and moldings for glass installation
  • Fasten glass into sashes or frames with clips, moldings, or other types of fasteners
  • Add weather seal or putty around pane edges to seal joints

Glass has many uses in everyday life. For example, insulated and specially treated glass keeps in warm or cool air and controls sound and condensation. Tempered and laminated glass makes doors and windows more secure by making them less prone to breaking. Glaziers specialize in installing these different glass products.

In homes, glaziers install or replace windows, mirrors, shower doors, and bathtub enclosures. They fit glass for tabletops and display cases. On commercial interior projects, glaziers install items such as room dividers and security windows. Glazing projects may also involve exterior work such as replacing storefront windows for supermarkets, auto dealerships, banks, and other establishments.

For most large-scale construction jobs, glass is precut and mounted into frames at a factory or a contractor’s shop. The finished glass arrives at the jobsite ready for glaziers to position and secure into place. Using cranes or hoists with suction cups, workers lift large, heavy pieces of glass for installation. In cases where the glass is not secure inside the frame, glaziers may attach steel and aluminum sashes or frames to the building, and then secure the glass with clips, moldings, or other types of fasteners.

Many windows are now being covered with laminates—a thin film or coating placed over the glass. These coatings provide additional durability, security, and can add color or tint to interior and exterior glass. The laminate also provides safety benefits by making glass less prone to shattering, which makes it ideal for commercial use.

Workers who replace and repair glass in motor vehicles are covered in the automotive body and glass repairers profile.

Glaziers held about 53,500 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of glaziers were as follows:

Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors 69%
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers 12
Building finishing contractors 5
Self-employed workers 5
Manufacturing 4

As in many other construction trades, the work of glaziers is physically demanding. They spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, and they often must lift and maneuver heavy, cumbersome materials, such as large glass plates.

Injuries and Illnesses

The work of glaziers can be dangerous, and workers risk injury. Injuries may include cuts from tools and glass, falls from ladders and scaffolding, and exposure to solvents. Workers may wear protective gear, such as safety glasses or gloves, to minimize the risk of harm.

Work Schedules

Most glaziers work full time.

Glaziers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn their trade through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.

Education

Glaziers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Training

Glaziers typically learn their trade through a 4-year apprenticeship or on-the-job training. On the job, they learn to use the tools and equipment of the trade; handle, measure, cut, and install glass and metal framing; cut and fit moldings; and install and balance glass doors. Technical training includes learning different installation techniques, as well as basic mathematics, blueprint reading and sketching, general construction techniques, safety practices, and first aid.

A few groups sponsor apprenticeship programs, including several union and contractor associations. Most programs require apprentices to have a high school diploma or equivalent and be at least 18 years old. After completing an apprenticeship program, glaziers are considered to be journey workers who may do tasks on their own.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states may require glaziers to have a license; check with your state for more information. Licensure requirements typically include passing a test and possessing a combination of education and work experience.

Important Qualities

Balance. Glaziers need a good sense of balance while handling large panes of glass or while working on ladders or scaffolds.

Communication. Glaziers need to be able to communicate effectively with other team members and with customers to ensure the work is done precisely and on time.

Hand–eye coordination. Glaziers must be able to cut glass precisely. As a result, a steady hand is needed to cut the correct size and shape in the field.

Physical stamina. Glaziers work on their feet and move heavy pieces of glass most of the day. They need to be able to hold glass in place until it can be fully secured.

Physical strength. Glaziers must often lift heavy pieces of glass for hanging. Physical strength, therefore, is important for the occupation.

The median annual wage for glaziers was $43,550 in May 2018.

The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,910, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $81,950.

In May 2018, the median annual wages for glaziers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors $44,940
Building finishing contractors 42,710
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers 39,340
Manufacturing 32,770

The starting pay for apprentices is less than what fully trained glaziers make. They receive more pay as they learn to do more. Glaziers who work at heights may be eligible for hazard pay.

Most glaziers work full time.

Glaziers

Median annual wages, May 2018

Construction trades workers

$44,810

Glaziers

$43,550

Total, all occupations

$38,640

 

Employment of glaziers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand for glaziers stems both from new construction and the need to repair and replace windows and other glass in existing buildings. The availability of prefabricated windows that carpenters and construction laborers can install is expected to moderate the employment growth of glaziers.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities should be good because of growth in the construction industries. Workers will also be needed to replace the glaziers who leave the occupation each year.

Like many other types of construction worker jobs, employment of glaziers is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. On the one hand, glaziers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.

Employment projections data for glaziers, 2018-28
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2018 Projected Employment, 2028 Change, 2018-28 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Glaziers

47-2121 53,500 59,200 11 5,700 Get data

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of glaziers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2018

Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.

High school diploma or equivalent $41,330

Carpenters

Carpenters

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

High school diploma or equivalent $46,590

Construction laborers and helpers

Construction Laborers and Helpers

Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.

See How to Become One $34,810

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboard and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboard for painting, using tape and other materials.

No formal educational credential $45,180

Masonry Workers

Masonry workers use bricks, concrete blocks, concrete, and natural and manmade stones to build masonry structures.

See How to Become One $44,810

Sheet Metal Workers

Sheet metal workers fabricate or install products that are made from thin metal sheets.

High school diploma or equivalent $48,460

Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers assemble, install, and maintain solar panel systems on rooftops or other structures.

High school diploma or equivalent $42,680

Tile and marble setters

Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile.

No formal educational credential $40,830

For more details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities in this trade, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local contractors or firms that employ glaziers, or local union-management finishing trade apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627.

For more information about glaziers, visit

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

Finishing Trades Institute

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

National Glass Association

O*NET

Glaziers


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Glaziers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/glaziers.htm (visited ).


 

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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