There are approximately 37,200 carpet installers, 30,100 floor layers (except carpet, wood, and hard tiles), and 56,000 tile and marble setters employed in the United States. Many floor covering installers are self-employed. Others work for contractors, many of which now specialize in carpet alone. Experienced installers may work for floor covering manufacturers or retailers, either as installers or as sales representatives.
After gaining experience as a helper and learning skills on the job, you can apply directly to floor covering contractors and retailers. For specific job leads, check employment Web sites for job postings, as well as the listings in newspaper classified ads or the local offices of the state employment service. Information on apprenticeships in your area may be available from contractors, the state employment service, or the local offices of unions to which some installers belong, such as the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
Installers who work for large floor-laying firms may be promoted to supervisor positions. Installers who are familiar with the business and can communicate effectively can move into sales jobs with retailers of flooring products. They could also become cost estimators—workers who measure floors, compute areas, and figure costs using their knowledge of the materials and labor required for various kinds of installations.
With experience and a client base, many installers decide to go into business for themselves as independent subcontractors.
Read publications such as Floor Focus (http://www.floordaily.net/FloorFocus) and The Flooring Contractor (https://www.fcica.com) to learn more about the industry.
Join FCICA, the Flooring Contractors Association to access publications and networking opportunities.
Talk to floor covering installers about their careers.