Approximately 122,000 drywall and ceiling tile installers are employed in the United States and roughly 14 percent are self-employed. Most drywall installers and finishers work primarily for drywall contractors associated with the construction industry. Typically installers and finishers find work in more heavily populated areas, such as cities, where there is enough work for full-time employment in their specialty.
If you want to work in this field, you can start out as an on-the-job trainee or as an apprentice. Those who plan to learn the trade as they work may apply directly to contracting companies for entry-level jobs as helpers. Good places to look for job openings include the offices of the state employment service, the classified ads section in local newspapers, and the local offices of the major unions in the field. Information about apprenticeship programs may be obtained from local contractors or local unions.
Opportunities for advancement are good for those who stay in the trade. Experienced workers who show leadership abilities and good judgment may be promoted to supervisors of work crews. Sometimes they become cost estimators for contractors. Other workers open their own drywall contracting business.
To obtain experience, try to work as a helper to a drywall installer or finisher.
Talk with drywall installers and finishers about their careers. Ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Join the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades to increase your chances of landing a job and receiving fair pay for your work.