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 $47,460. The median annual wage for tapers is $59,450.

Job Outlook: Employment of drywall installers, 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 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

  • Drywall Installer - PeopleReady Skilled Trades - Minneapolis, MN

    We are looking for experienced drywall installers for work in Minneapolis/ St. Paul and the greater areas of MN.

  • Drywall Installer - PeopleReady Skilled Trades - Fresno, CA

    Drywall Installer Entry-Level, Apprentice, and Journeyman Drywall Installers , or Drywallers, to join with one of our skilled labor clients. As a Drywaller, you work on home construction and ...

  • Drywall Installer - All American Water Restoration, Inc. - Orlando, FL

    Hang drywall * Tape * Mudd * Texture * Finish Job Requirements: * Applicants must be reliable, driven, customer-oriented, and willing to be part of a team. * Basic understanding of technology and ...

See all Drywall Installer jobs

Top 3 Ceiling Tile Installer Jobs

  • Ceiling Grid and Tile Installer - iHire - Spring Hill, FL

    Install Acoustical ceiling grid and tiles Must have dependable transportation and valid drivers lisence Must have own hand tools. Able to install ceiling grid and tiles using measuring tape, laser ...

  • Drywall-ceiling Tile Installer - Katy & Frank Home Buyers - Waco, TX

    Measure and cut drywall for installation according to client specifications * Attach sheets to wall studs or metal frames * Finish panels by filling cracks with plaster * Use power tools to sand ...

  • Experienced Tile Installer/ Carpenter/ Demo Expert - Tony Carifa Marble and Tile Company - Columbus, OH

    Tile Expert: * Must have extensive knowledge of trade and basic knowledge of interrelated trades ... Must be able to install floor, wall, and ceiling trim without any issues. * Must be able to install ...

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 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 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 $47,460. 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 $29,890, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $85,070.

The median annual wage for tapers is $59,450. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,580, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $95,800.

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

Nonresidential building construction $49,880
Drywall and insulation contractors $48,030

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

Nonresidential building construction $70,320
Drywall and insulation contractors $58,290
Painting and wall covering contractors $57,080

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 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 Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Despite limited growth, about 11,800 openings for drywall installers, ceiling tile installers, and tapers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Nearly all of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment projections data for Drywall Installers, 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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