Glaziers: Career, Salary and Education Information

Career, Salary and Education Information

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    Compensation: Competitive salary, commensurate with skill level Benefit

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What Glaziers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Duties of Glaziers

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 everyday 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 by making them less prone to breaking. The use of large windows, glass doors, and skylights 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 exterior work such as replacing storefront windows for supermarkets, auto dealerships, banks, and many other establishments.

For most large-scale construction jobs, glass is precut 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 placed over the glass. These coatings provide additional durability, security, and can add color or tint to interior and exterior glass. The laminate also provides safety benefits by making glass less prone to shattering, which makes 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 for Glaziers[About this section] [To Top]

Glaziers hold about 45,300 jobs, of which 66 percent are in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry. Another 14 percent of glaziers are employed in the building material and supplies dealers industry.

As in many other construction trades, the work is physically demanding. Glaziers spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, 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

Glaziers have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average for all occupations. Typical injuries for glaziers include cuts from tools and glass, and falls from ladders and scaffolding.

Glazier Work Schedules

Most glaziers work full time.

How to Become a Glazier[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Glaziers near you!

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

Glazier Education

Glaziers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent. High school courses in math are considered useful.

Glazier 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 learning different 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. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. 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 are the only two states to require glaziers to have a license. Licensure requirements include passing a test, completing an apprenticeship, and possessing a combination of education and work experience.

Important Qualities for Glaziers

Balance. Glaziers need a good sense of balance while working on ladders and scaffolding to minimize the risk of falling.

Hand-eye coordination. Glaziers must be able to cut glass precisely. As a result, a steady hand is needed to cut the correct size and shape in the field.

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.

Glazier Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for glaziers is $39,440. 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 $25,550, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,050.

The starting pay for apprentices is about 40 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.

Job Outlook for Glaziers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of glaziers is projected to grow 4 percent through 2024, slower 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 is expected to moderate employment growth of glaziers.

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 metropolitan areas where most glazing contractors and glass shops are located.

Employment projections data for Glaziers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Glaziers 45,300 47,200 4 1,900


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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