Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They 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.

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 One: 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.

Salary: The median annual wage for drywall and ceiling tile installers is $45,700. The median annual wage for tapers is $59,070.

Job Outlook: Employment of drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers is projected to show little or no change over the next ten years. However, there will be openings each year because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

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

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a drywall and ceiling tile installer with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Drywall Installer Jobs

  • Drywall Installer - Purofirst Fire & Water Restoration - Rancho Cucamonga, CA

    5+ years of experience Ability to match existing texture is essential Candidates must possess the following skills: * Measure, mark, and cut panels according to the scope of work using tape measures ...

  • Drywall Installer - PeopleReady Skilled Trades Division - Nashville, TN

    People Ready Skilled Trades is looking for experienced Drywall Installers . Projects can range from commercial to residential and can include all phases of drywall installation . Length of project and ...

  • Drywall Installer - Trades Masters - Atlanta - Loganville, GA

    We are currently seeking Commercial Drywall Installers to join our team! You will be responsible for installing wallboards to ceilings and interior walls of buildings and applying plaster, smoothing ...

See all Drywall Installer jobs

Top 3 Ceiling Tile Installer Jobs

  • Drywall Installer/Finisher - DMC Enterprises Inc. - San Antonio, TX

    Work with ceiling tile installers to build walls. * Read blueprints and designs. * Measure, cut, fit, and fasten panels. * Prepare panels by sawing, drilling, or cutting holes in panels for ...

  • Drywall Installer - PeopleReady Skilled Trades Division - Nashville, TN

    ... ceiling tile to fit the precise size needed * Cutting drywall to the right size, using utility ... Installing metal corner beads to protect exterior corners * Filling joints, holes, and cracks with ...

  • Drywall Installers and Finishers - PeopleReady Skilled Trades Division - Miami, FL

    ... ceiling tile to fit the precise size needed * Cutting drywall to the right size, using utility ... Installing metal corner beads to protect exterior corners * Filling joints, holes, and cracks with ...

See all Ceiling Tile Installer jobs

What Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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 of Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

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 for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers[About this section] [To Top]

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hold about 125,100 jobs. The largest employers of drywall and ceiling tile installers are as follows:

Drywall and insulation contractors 64%
Self-employed workers 18%
Nonresidential building construction 5%

Tapers hold about 21,800 jobs. The largest employers of tapers are as follows:

Drywall and insulation contractors 69%
Self-employed workers 18%
Nonresidential building construction 6%
Painting and wall covering contractors 2%

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.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer, and Taper 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] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers near you!

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.

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Education for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

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

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer, and 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 for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

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.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer, and Taper Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for drywall and ceiling tile installers is $45,700. 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 $28,490, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $85,090.

The median annual wage for tapers is $59,070. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,190, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $95,950.

The median annual wages for drywall and ceiling tile installers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Nonresidential building construction $49,480
Drywall and insulation contractors $46,190

The median annual wages for tapers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Nonresidential building construction $68,730
Drywall and insulation contractors $58,280
Painting and wall covering contractors $57,140

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

Job Outlook for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers is projected to show little or no change over the next ten years.

Drywall continues to be the most common interior wall covering in buildings, so the demand for these workers is expected to continue to come from the construction of new buildings. Home-remodeling projects are also expected to be a source of job growth as owners of existing homes and other buildings make improvements.

However, overall employment in the drywall and insulation contractors industry—an industry employing about two-thirds of drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers—is projected to decline over the decade, offsetting employment growth in other industries. In addition, tapers will continue to use new tools that allow workers to do more in less time.

Job Prospects for Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

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, 2019-29
Occupational Title Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29
Percent Numeric
Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers 146,900 146,600 0 -300
  Drywall and ceiling tile installers 125,100 125,600 0 500
  Tapers 21,800 21,000 -4 -900


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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