Drywall Installers, 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.

Work Environment: Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers work indoors. 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 installers, 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 $48,040. The median annual wage for tapers is $61,080.

Job Outlook: Employment of drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations.

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

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a drywall or 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

  • Foreman/Superintendent/Drywall Installer - Cornerstone Plastering & Drywall, Inc - Brandon, SD

    Cornerstone Plastering & Drywall has 1-3 open positions for an experienced Foreman, Superintendent or Drywall Installer . We offer great pay and great advancement opportunities. Primary among our ...

  • Drywall Installer - Farley Construction - Orange, CA

    Looking for skilled Drywall installer to add to our team. Applicant must have extensive drywall experience and be able to do all levels of drywall installation and finishing. Must have own truck and ...

  • Drywall Installer at Wholesale Painting, LLC - Carson Derifield - Belgrade, MT

    A Skilled Drywall Installer must be willing to work with various tools and different heights and spaces while observing all safety measures. They must be reliable and dependable and possess excellent ...

See all Drywall Installer jobs

Top 3 Ceiling Tile Installer Jobs

  • Sales Representative-Acoustical Ceiling - Installed Building Products - Azusa, CA

    Estimates the amount of materials and cost of labor to complete the installation of acoustical ceiling grid and tile and insulation in commercial, multi-family, and residential projects * Maintain ...

  • Acoustical Carpenters - E&K Companies, Inc. - Phoenix, AZ

    Measure and cut tile for installation . * May include cleanup, scrapping, moving material, tools, or ... Lifting up to 65 lbs. ( ceiling tile box 65 lbs., grid box 40 lbs.) * Lifting 5 to 10 lbs. above ...

  • Facilities Operator-Temp - SPT Labtech - Concord, CA

    Installation of shelving and assembly equipment such as electric saws, power drills, etc. * Knowledge of minor construction and repair of sheetrock walls, ceiling tile patch, and misc. carpentry

See all Ceiling Tile Installer jobs

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

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

  • Measure, mark, and cut drywall panels according to design plans
  • Fasten panels and tiles to support structures
  • 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 and ceiling tile installers place panels over the walls and ceilings of interior rooms in buildings. The panels cover insulation, electrical wires, and pipes; dampen sound; and provide fire resistance. Tapers prepare the drywall for finishing.

Workers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds to hang and prepare ceilings. After hanging wallboards, workers use trowels to spread coats of sealing compound over cracks, indentations, and other imperfections. Some workers 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. The tools they use include tape measures, straightedges, utility knives, and power saws.

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, also called finishers, prepare the drywall for covering by paint and wallpaper. Tapers apply paper or fiberglass mesh tape to cover drywall seams. They also smooth the tape after affixing it and apply a finishing compound to the tape.

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

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hold about 121,200 jobs. The largest employers of drywall and ceiling tile installers are as follows:

Drywall and insulation contractors 63%
Self-employed workers 18%
Nonresidential building construction 6%

Tapers hold about 19,800 jobs. The largest employers of tapers are as follows:

Drywall and insulation contractors 69%
Self-employed workers 18%
Nonresidential building construction 7%
Painting and wall covering contractors 2%

Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers work indoors. 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 Installer, Ceiling Tile Installer, and Taper Work Schedules

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

How to Become a Drywall Installer, Ceiling Tile Installer, or Taper[About this section] [To Top]

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

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

Education for Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

There are no educational credential requirements for becoming a drywall installer, ceiling tile installer, or taper, although some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a high school diploma or equivalent.

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for workers starting an apprenticeship.

Drywall Installer, Ceiling Tile Installer, and Taper Training

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

A few groups, including the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs for drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with technical instruction and typically last 2 to 4 years.

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

Advancement for Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers may advance to become supervisors, general superintendents, project managers, or estimators. Workers may also choose to start their own business after gaining experience in the occupation.

Workers who join a union may also find career advancement opportunities within their union, such as becoming the business manager for a local chapter or becoming an instructor for the apprenticeship program.

Important Qualities for Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Ability to work at heights. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers may be required to work on ladders, scaffolding, lifts, or stilts.

Attention to detail. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers must take precise measurements, follow specific instructions, and be meticulous in their work.

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

Dexterity. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers work with hand tools on every job.

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

Physical stamina. Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers routinely lift and move heavy materials into place, so workers should be physically fit.

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

Drywall Installer, 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 $48,040. 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 $30,460, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $95,600.

The median annual wage for tapers is $61,080. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,980, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $100,160.

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

Nonresidential building construction $59,180
Drywall and insulation contractors $48,000

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

Nonresidential building construction $83,610
Drywall and insulation contractors $60,360
Painting and wall covering contractors $48,610

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

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

Employment of drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 12,300 openings for drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Much of the projected employment growth in these occupations is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020.

Employment of drywall and ceiling tile installers is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations. 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 also are expected to be a source of job growth as owners of existing homes and other buildings make improvements.

Employment of tapers is projected to show little or no change over the next ten years. The continued use of new tools that allow workers to do more in less time will limit employment growth of tapers.

Employment projections data for Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers, 2020-30
Occupational Title Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30
Percent Numeric
Drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers 141,000 147,100 4 6,100
  Drywall and ceiling tile installers 121,200 127,200 5 6,000
  Tapers 19,800 19,900 0 100


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


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