Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Summary

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Quick Facts: Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers
2016 Median Pay $42,280 per year
$20.33 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education No formal educational credential
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2016 143,200
Job Outlook, 2016-26 1% (Little or no change)
Employment Change, 2016-26 1,500

What Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers Do

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

Work Environment

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers work indoors. As in many other construction trades, the work is physically demanding. Workers spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, and they often must lift and maneuver heavy wallboard.

How to Become a Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer, or Taper

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn their trade on the job. A formal educational credential is typically not required to enter the occupation.

Pay

The median annual wage for drywall and ceiling tile installers was $41,090 in May 2016.

The median annual wage for tapers was $48,990 in May 2016.

Job Outlook

Employment of drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers is projected to show little or no change from 2016 to 2026. Job opportunities should be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers Do About this section

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers
Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, work with many different types of tools.

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

Duties

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers typically do the following:

  • Measure, mark, and cut panels according to design plans by using tape measures, straightedges, utility knives, and power saws  
  • Fasten panels and tiles by using glue, nails, or screws
  • Patch, trim, and smooth rough spots and edges
  • Apply tape and sealing compound to cover joints between wallboards
  • Add coats of sealing compound to create an even surface
  • Sand all joints and holes for a smooth, seamless finish

Drywall is a commonly used interior wall covering. In addition to covering insulation, electrical wires, and plumbing pipes, it also dampens sound and provides fire resistance.

Workers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds to hang and prepare ceilings. Once wallboards are hung, workers use trowels to spread coats of sealing compound over cracks, indentations, and other imperfections. Some workers may use a mechanical applicator, a tool that spreads sealing compound on the wall joint while dispensing and setting tape at the same time.

Drywall installers are also called drywallers or hangers. They cut and hang the panels of wallboard.

Ceiling tile installers hang ceiling tiles and create suspended ceilings. Tiles may be applied directly to the ceiling, attached to furring strips, or suspended on runners that are connected by wire to the ceiling. Workers are sometimes called acoustical carpenters, because they also install tiles that block sound.

Tapers are also called finishers, because they prepare the drywall for covering by plaster, paint, and wallpaper. Tapers apply paper or fiberglass mesh tape to cover drywall seams.

In addition to performing new installations, many installers and tapers make repairs such as fixing damaged drywall and replacing ceiling tiles. The wall coverings applied to the finished drywall are installed by painters, plasterers, and paperhangers.

Work Environment About this section

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers
Tapers cover the seams where drywall edges meet.

Drywall and ceiling tile installers held about 119,500 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of drywall and ceiling tile installers were as follows:

Drywall and insulation contractors 62%
Self-employed workers 22
Nonresidential building construction 5

Tapers held about 23,700 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of tapers were as follows:

Drywall and insulation contractors 65%
Self-employed workers 22
Nonresidential building construction 5
Painting and wall covering contractors 3

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers work indoors. As in many other construction trades, the work is physically demanding. Workers spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, and they must often lift and maneuver heavy wallboard.

Work Schedules

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers work full time.

How to Become a Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer, or Taper About this section

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers
New drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, typically learn their job by working with more experienced workers.

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn their trade on the job. A formal educational credential is typically not required to enter the occupation.

Education

There are no educational credential requirements for becoming a drywall and ceiling tile installer, or taper.

Training

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn their trade on the job by helping more experienced workers and gradually being given more duties. They start by carrying materials and cleaning up and then learn to use the tools of the trade. They also learn to measure, cut, and install or apply materials. They may start out working on less visible areas like closets. The on-the-job training received typically lasts up to 12 months.

A few groups, including the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs for drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction.

During their apprenticeship training, drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers learn a number of safety rules, many of which are standardized through the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

Important Qualities

Balance. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers often wear stilts. They must be able to move around and use tools overhead without falling.

Dexterity. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers work with hand tools on every job. For example, they must be able to lift panels and use hammers and nails to secure the panels.

Math skills. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers must be able to estimate the quantity of materials needed and measure accurately when cutting panels.

Physical stamina. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers constantly lift and move heavy materials into place, so workers should be in good physical shape.

Physical strength. Drywall and ceiling tile installers must often lift heavy panels over their heads to secure onto the ceiling.

Pay About this section

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Median annual wages, May 2016

Tapers

$48,990

Construction trades workers

$42,310

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers

$42,280

Drywall and ceiling tile installers

$41,090

Total, all occupations

$37,040

 

The median annual wage for drywall and ceiling tile installers was $41,090 in May 2016. 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 $26,830, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,660.

The median annual wage for tapers was $48,990 in May 2016. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,260.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for drywall and ceiling tile installers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Nonresidential building construction $41,240
Drywall and insulation contractors 41,220

In May 2016, the median annual wages for tapers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Nonresidential building construction $53,910
Drywall and insulation contractors 48,530
Painting and wall covering contractors 45,690
Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers work full time.

Job Outlook About this section

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Construction trades workers

11%

Total, all occupations

7%

Drywall and ceiling tile installers

1%

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers

1%

Tapers

1%

 

Employment of drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers is projected to show little to no change from 2016 to 2026.

Drywall is the most common interior wall covering in buildings, and so the demand for these workers will come from the construction of residential and commercial buildings. Home-remodeling projects are also expected to create jobs, because owners of existing homes and other buildings may plan to make improvements. However, overall employment in the drywall and insulation contractors industry, an industry employing nearly two-thirds of these workers, is projected to decline 2016-26, offsetting employment growth in other industries.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers should be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

Employment projections data for drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers

143,200 144,700 1 1,500

Drywall and ceiling tile installers

47-2081 119,500 120,900 1 1,400 employment projections excel document xlsx

Tapers

47-2082 23,700 23,800 1 100 employment projections excel document xlsx

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2016 MEDIAN PAY Help
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons

Masonry Workers

Masonry workers, also known as masons, use bricks, concrete blocks, concrete, and natural and manmade stones to build walls, walkways, fences, and other masonry structures.

See How to Become One $41,330
Carpenters

Carpenters

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

High school diploma or equivalent $43,600
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 $32,230
Painters, construction and maintenance

Painters, Construction and Maintenance

Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls and ceilings, buildings, bridges, and other structures.

No formal educational credential $37,570
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 $39,150
Insulation workers

Insulation Workers

Insulation workers, also called insulators, install and replace the materials used to insulate buildings and their mechanical systems.

See How to Become One $39,280
Roofers

Roofers

Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings, using a variety of materials, including shingles, bitumen, and metal.

No formal educational credential $37,760

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about drywall and ceiling tile installers and tapers, visit

Associated Builders and Contractors

Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry

Finishing Trades Institute

National Association of Home Builders

NCCER

United Brotherhood of Carpenters

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 drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers; or local union–management finishing trade apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor's ApprenticeshipUSA program online or by phone at 877-872-5627.

O*NET

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers

Tapers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/drywall-and-ceiling-tile-installers-and-tapers.htm (visited November 16, 2017).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What They Do

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Work Environment

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How to Become One

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Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

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Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2016

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2016, which is the base year of the 2016-26 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2016-26

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.