Do you like working with your hands? Would you rather head out to a different project every day rather than sit in an office? If so, perhaps a career as a glazier would suit you.
What do glaziers do?
- Meeting with customers to determine their needs
- Explaining the different glass options and helping customers choose the one thats best for their needs
- Removing any broken glass or leftover putty from existing frames
- Fitting the glass to the frame, which may include doing custom cutting
- Finishing the installation by making the glass secure and watertight
Where and when do glaziers work?
- Most glaziers work a 40-hour week. This may include regular night and weekend shifts as well as responding to customer emergencies.
- Most of the time, glaziers work onsite at the customers home or business.
- Some projects may include travel.
- Some installations require working on ladders.
- Some installations require working outside in rain or other unpleasant weather.
What do glaziers earn?
The highest salaries are usually for skyscrapers and other commercial buildings.
What skills do glaziers need?
- Good hands-on, practical skills
- Strong hand-eye coordination
- The ability to read and follow a plan
- Attention to detail
- The ability to take accurate measurements
- Math skills to make calculations for fitting
- Good health and fitness (it can be a physically demanding job)
- Strong sense of balance
- The ability to work alone and as part of a team
- Good organizational skills
- Good customer service skills
What education and training are required?
There is no required educational background for glaziers, although most U.S. employers will expect you to have at least a high school diploma. However, advances in technology and the movement toward energy-efficient glass have made the job more complex than it used to be, and some employers will want additional education, especially in math and design.
- In the U.S., most glaziers train through an apprenticeship program that requires 144 hours of technical coursework and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training for each year of the three-year program. Topics include:
o Using tools and equipment
o Handling glass
o Measuring and cutting glass
o Math and design
o Reading blueprints
o Installation techniques
In addition, the state of Connecticut requires glaziers to be licensed.
- In the UK, you can either join a construction apprenticeship scheme or work as a glaziers assistant. As you gain experience, your employer may be willing to offer you some training. You can then pursue a variety of industry qualifications:
o Level 2/3 (NVQ) Certificate in Glazing
o Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Fenestration Installation
o Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Fire Resistant Glazing
o Level 3 (NVQ) Certificate/Diploma in Fenestration Surveying
Additionally, many employers will want you to have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. That assures them that you have basic skills and understand safety precautions.
What are the job prospects?
As you gain experience, you have a couple of options:
o You could specialize in a certain types of glass or projects (new homes, conservatories, etc.).
o You could move into a supervisory position and manage a crew of glaziers.
o You could work as a sub-contractor owning your own business.
The industry expects to see higher-than-average growth over the next few years, thanks, in part, to companies and homeowners retrofitting their doors and windows for energy-efficient glass. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts growth of 17.2 % between now and 2020.
If youre good with your hands, physically fit, and crave the excitement of doing something new each day, working as a glazier could be the perfect job for you.