Glaziers install glass in windows, skylights, and other fixtures in storefronts and buildings.

Duties

Glaziers typically do the following:

  • Follow blueprints and specifications
  • Remove any old or broken glass before installing replacement glass
  • Cut glass to the specified size and shape
  • Use measuring tape, plumb lines, and levels to ensure proper fitting installation
  • Make or install sashes and 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. 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 room dividers and security windows. Glazing projects may also involve exterior work such as replacing storefront windows for supermarkets, auto dealerships, banks, and 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.

Workers who replace and repair glass in motor vehicles are covered in the automotive body and glass repairers profile.

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Work Environment

Glaziers held about 53,500 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of glaziers were as follows:

Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors 69%
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers                        12
Building finishing contractors 5
Self-employed workers 5
Manufacturing 4

As in many other construction trades, the work of glaziers is physically demanding. They spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, and they often must lift and maneuver heavy, cumbersome materials, such as large glass plates.

Injuries and Illnesses

The work of glaziers can be dangerous, and workers risk injury. Injuries may include cuts from tools and glass, falls from ladders and scaffolding, and exposure to solvents. Workers may wear protective gear, such as safety glasses or gloves, to minimize the risk of harm.

Work Schedules

Most glaziers work full time.

Education and Training

Glaziers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn their trade through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.

Education

Glaziers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Training

Glaziers typically learn their trade through a 4-year apprenticeship or 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.

A few groups sponsor apprenticeship programs, including several union and contractor associations. Most programs require apprentices to have a high school diploma or equivalent and be at least 18 years old. After completing an apprenticeship program, glaziers are considered to be journey workers who may do tasks on their own.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states may require glaziers to have a license; check with your state for more information. Licensure requirements typically include passing a test and possessing a combination of education and work experience.

Personality and Interests

Glaziers typically have an interest in the Building and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a glazier, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Glaziers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Balance. To minimize the risk of falling, glaziers need a good sense of balance while working on ladders and scaffolding.

Hand-eye coordination. Glass must be precisely cut. As a result, a steady hand is needed to achieve a cut of the correct size and shape.

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for glaziers was $44,630 in May 2019. 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 $27,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,780.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for glaziers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors $46,500
Building finishing contractors 44,030
Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers                      39,270
Manufacturing 33,540

The starting pay for apprentices is less than what fully trained glaziers make. They receive more pay as they learn to do more. Glaziers who work at heights may be eligible for hazard pay.

Most glaziers work full time.

Job Outlook

Employment of glaziers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand for glaziers stems both from new construction and the need to repair and replace windows and other glass in existing buildings. The availability of prefabricated windows that carpenters and construction laborers can install is expected to moderate the employment growth of glaziers.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities should be good because of growth in the construction industries. Workers will also be needed to replace the glaziers who leave the occupation each year.

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.

For More Information

For more details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities in this trade, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local contractors or firms that employ glaziers, or local union-management finishing trade apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor's Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627.

For more information about glaziers, visit

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

Finishing Trades Institute

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

National Glass Association

 

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