Glaziers

Summary

glaziers image
Glaziers cut glass to meet job specifications in shops.
Quick Facts: Glaziers
2012 Median Pay $37,610 per year
$18.08 per hour
Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Apprenticeship
Number of Jobs, 2012 46,700
Job Outlook, 2012-22 17% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 8,000

What Glaziers Do

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

Work Environment

As in many other construction trades, the work is physically demanding. Glaziers may experience cuts from tools and glass, and falls from ladders and scaffolding. Most work full time.

How to Become a Glazier

Glaziers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn their trade through an apprenticeship.

Pay

The median annual wage for glaziers was $37,610 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of glaziers is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth is expected as commercial construction increasingly uses glass exteriors for buildings.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of glaziers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about glaziers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Glaziers Do

Glaziers
Suction handles are used to pick up and maneuver glass.

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

Duties

Glaziers typically do the following:

  • Follow blueprints or specifications
  • Remove any old or broken glass before installing replacement glass
  • Cut glass to the specified size and shape
  • Make or install sashes or 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 modern 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. The creative use of large windows, glass doors, skylights, and sunroom additions makes buildings bright, airy, and inviting. 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 heavy, often etched, decorative room dividers or security windows. Glazing projects also may involve replacing storefront windows for supermarkets, auto dealerships, banks, and many other establishments.

For most large-scale construction jobs, glass is pre-cut 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 that covers glass. These coatings provide additional durability, security, and can add color or tint to interior and exterior glass. The laminate also prevents glass from shattering, making it ideal for commercial use in areas prone to high winds.

A few glaziers work with plastics, granite, marble, and other materials used as glass substitutes.

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

Work Environment

Glaziers
Glaziers may need to work at great heights.

Glaziers held about 46,700 jobs in 2012, of which 61 percent were employed in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry. Another 14 percent were employed in the building material and supplies dealers industry. About 8 percent of glaziers were self-employed.

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

When installing glass plates on buildings, glaziers often lead a team of construction workers in guiding and installing the pieces into place.

Injuries and Illnesses

Typical injuries for glaziers include cuts from tools and glass, and falls from ladders and scaffolding.

Work Schedules

Most glaziers work full time. About 8 percent of glaziers were self-employed in 2012, many of whom can set their own schedule.

How to Become a Glazier

Glaziers
Some glaziers install windows in single family homes.

Glaziers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn their trade through an apprenticeship.

Education

Glaziers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent. High school courses in math are considered useful. Some prospective glaziers attend technical schools to earn a certificate.

Training

The typical training for glaziers is a 4-year apprenticeship. Each year, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of related technical training and 2,000 hours of paid 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 installation techniques as well as basic mathematics, blueprint reading and sketching, general construction techniques, safety practices, and first aid.

After completing an apprenticeship program, glaziers are considered to be journey workers who may do tasks on their own. 

A few groups sponsor apprenticeship programs, including several union and contractor associations. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to perform the work

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Connecticut and Florida require glaziers to have a license. Licensure requirements include passing a test, completing an apprenticeship, and a combination of education and work experience.

The National Glass Association offers a series of written exams that certify an individual’s competency to perform glazier work as a Certified Glass Installer Technician.

Important Qualities

Balance. To minimize the risk of falling, glaziers need a good sense of balance while working on ladders and scaffolding.

Hand-eye coordination. Glass must be precisely cut. As a result, a steady hand is needed to achieve a cut of the correct size and shape.

Physical stamina. Glaziers must be 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.

Pay

Glaziers

Median annual wages, May 2012

Construction trades workers

$38,970

Glaziers

$37,610

Total, all occupations

$34,750

 

The median annual wage for glaziers was $37,610 in May 2012. 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 $24,170, and the top 10 percent earned more than $69,120.

The median annual wage for glaziers in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry was $39,080 in May 2012.

The median annual wage for glaziers in the building material and supplies dealers industry was $34,790 in May 2012.

The starting pay for apprentices is usually near 50 percent of what fully trained glaziers make, receiving pay increases as they learn to do more. Glaziers who work at great heights may be eligible for hazard-premium pay.

Most glaziers work full time. About 8 percent of glaziers were self-employed in 2012, many of whom can set their own schedule.

Job Outlook

Glaziers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Construction trades workers

22%

Glaziers

17%

Total, all occupations

11%

 

Employment of glaziers is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment growth is expected as commercial construction increasingly uses glass exteriors. As glass manufacturers continue to improve the energy efficiency of glass windows, architects are designing more buildings with glass exteriors, especially in the South.

In addition, the continuing need to modernize and repair existing structures, including many homes, often involves installing new windows. Furthermore, specialized laminated glass is increasingly being installed in homes and commercial and government buildings.

Nonetheless, the availability of prefabricated windows that carpenters and general contractors can install may limit overall employment growth of glaziers.

Job Prospects

Good job opportunities are expected from the need to replace glaziers who leave the occupation each year.

Because employers prefer workers who can do many different tasks, glaziers with a wide range of skills will have the best job opportunities. In addition, workers with military service experience are viewed favorably during initial hiring.

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 opportunities should be best in the South and in metropolitan areas, where most glazing contractors and glass shops are located.

Employment projections data for Glaziers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Glaziers

47-2121 46,700 54,700 17 8,000 [XLS]

Similar Occupations

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

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2012 MEDIAN PAY
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons

Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons

Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons (or, simply, masons) use bricks, concrete blocks, and natural and man-made stones to build fences, walkways, walls, and other structures.

High school diploma or equivalent $44,950
Carpenters

Carpenters

Carpenters construct and repair building frameworks and structures—such as stairways, doorframes, partitions, and rafters—made from wood and other materials. They also may install kitchen cabinets, siding, and drywall.

High school diploma or equivalent $39,940
Construction laborers and helpers

Construction Laborers and Helpers

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

See How to Become One $29,160
Sheet metal workers

Sheet Metal Workers

Sheet metal workers fabricate or install products that are made from thin metal sheets, such as ducts used for heating and air conditioning.

High school diploma or equivalent $43,290
Tile and marble setters

Tile and Marble Setters

Tile and marble setters apply hard tile and marble to walls, floors, and other surfaces.

Less than high school $37,040
Automotive body and glass repairers

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 $37,680

Contacts for More Information

For 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 toll free help line: 1 (877) 872-5627 or the Employment and Training Administration.

For more information about glaziers, visit

Associated Builders and Contractors

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, 2014-15 Edition, Glaziers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/glaziers.htm (visited October 24, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014