Plasterers are skilled tradesmen who construct traditional walls and decorative surfaces. They work for construction companies, and commercial and residential building contractors. Plasterers create partitions, panels, walls and decorative arches. They use trowels, cutting and mixing tools. Hand-eye coordination, physical strength and the ability to work in diverse conditions are essential qualities in this construction profession.
Plasterers mix and apply the plastering composition, use tools such as trowels, planes and saws to construct, repair and restore walls and other surfaces. They apply an initial coat of brown gypsum plaster on wire mesh material to create a foundation. They apply a final process called the white coating.
Plasterers need a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Aspiring plasterers should take courses in basic mathematics, blueprint reading, carpentry, chemistry and mechanical drawing. Training or coursework that teaches how to cut and measure materials is beneficial.
Plasterers learn their craft through formal apprenticeship programs. Plastering apprenticeships Iast three to four years with approximately 2,000 hours of annual on-the-job training combined with 166 hours of annual classroom instruction.
The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers International Masonry Institute offers three credentials for plastering professionals: journey level plasterer, certified instructor and journeyworkers and apprentices in the trowel trades. Plastering certification candidates must complete a 12-week program and pass an examination to earn the journey level plasterer designation.
Successful plasterers must be able to work long hours standing, crouched or on their knees. Plasterers must have significant upper-body strength, good balance and manual dexterity to perform hundreds of daily trowel movements quickly and efficiently. Plasters need creative ability to design and execute decorative projects. They need flexibility to work in cramped positions indoors and outdoors on narrow scaffolds. Plastering managers must have the ability to estimate projects, hire, fire and supervise subordinates.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage for plasterers was £12.90 and the mean annual salary was £26,819, as of May 2009. Plasterers earned salaries ranging from £16,458 for the lowest 10 per cent to £42,523 for the highest 10 per cent.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects job growth of 7 per cent for plasterers and stucco masons between 2008 and 2018. This figure represents a slower-than-average rate compared to all other occupations. Increased use of drywall materials instead of plaster contributes to disappointing growth prospects, according to BLS.