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Glaziers - What They Do


How to Advance (Advancement)
Glaziers who learn the trade through a formal registered apprenticeship program become certified journeyworkers. Some associations offer other certifications. The National Glass Association, for example, offers a series of written examinations that certify an individual's competency to perform glazier work at three progressively difficult levels of proficiency: Level I Glazier; Level II Commercial Interior or Residential Glazier, or Storefront or Curtainwall Glazier; and Level III Master Glazier.

Advancement for glaziers generally consists of increases in pay; some advance to glazier supervisors, general construction supervisors, independent contractors, or cost estimators. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers with limited understanding of English, because Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Supervisors and contractors need good communication skills to deal with clients and subcontractors and should be able to identify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to complete a job and accurately estimate how long a job will take to complete and at what cost.

Employment
Glaziers held 54,100 jobs in 2008. About 61 percent of glaziers worked for foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors. About 14 percent of glaziers worked in building material and supplies dealers that install or replace glass. A small amountóabout 7 percentówere self-employed.

Job Outlook
Average employment growth is projected. Good job opportunities are expected, especially for those with a range of skills.

Job Growth
Employment is expected to grow 8 percent from 2008-2018, about as fast as average for all occupations. Job growth will stem from increasing demand for new commercial construction emphasizing glass exteriors. As manufacturers of glass products 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 residences, often involves installing new windows. Demand for specialized safety glass and glass coated with protective laminates is also growing, in response to a higher need for security and the need to withstand hurricanes, particularly in many commercial and government buildings.

Counteracting these factors, however, is the ability of other workers, such as carpenters to install windows of simple design and low cost, which reduces employment growth for glaziers.

In addition to growth, job openings will arise from the need to replace glaziers who leave the occupation, resulting in good job opportunities. Since employers prefer workers who can do a variety of tasks, glaziers with a range of skills will have the best opportunities.

Like other construction trades workers, glaziers employed in the construction industry should expect to experience periods of unemployment, because of the limited duration of construction projects and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. During downturns in the economy, job openings for glaziers are reduced, as the level of construction declines. However, construction activity varies from area to area, so job openings fluctuate with local economic conditions. Employment opportunities should be greatest in metropolitan areas, where most glazing contractors and glass shops are located.

Earnings
In May 2008, median hourly wages of wage and salary glaziers were $17.11. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.37 and $22.66. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.65, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.47. Median hourly wages in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry were $17.79. Median hourly wages for glaziers employed by building materials and supply dealers, where most glass shops are found, were $14.90.

Glaziers covered by union contracts generally earn more than their nonunion counterparts. Apprentice wage rates usually start at 40 to 50 percent of the rate paid to experienced glaziers and increase as workers gain experience. Because glaziers can lose work time because of weather conditions and fluctuations in construction activity, their overall earnings may be lower than their hourly wages suggest.

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Academic Programs of Interest

Glazier
A Glazier Program teaches a student how to measure, handle, cut, prepare, install and repair all types of glass, mirrors and glass substitutes, typically in buildings or on the exterior walls of buildings. The Glazier Program also instructs students on the relevant skills associated with the layout, ...more