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Occupation Profile for Glaziers

Install glass in windows, skylights, store fronts, and display cases, or on surfaces, such as building fronts, interior walls, ceilings, and tabletops.


Significant Points

  • Many glaziers learn the trade by helping experienced workers.
  • Job opportunities are expected to be good.


$34,610.00 Median Annual Wage 2,000 Average Job Openings Per Year
5.5 Average Unemployment Percentage 71.8 Percentage That Completed High School
55,000 Employment Numbers in 2006 25.3 Percentage That Had Some College
62,000 Employment Numbers in 2016 (est.) 0.0 Percentage That Went Beyond College Degree

Sample Job Titles
Apprentice, Glazier
Art Glass Setter
Glass Fitter
Glass Glazier
Glass Inserter
Glass Installer
Glass Setter
Glazier Apprentice
Glazier, Stained Glass
Lead Applier
Leaded Glass Installer
Mechanic, Glass
Mirror Installer
Plate Glass Installer
Stained Glass Glazier
Stained Glass Installer
Stained Glass Joiner
Window Assembler
Window Glass Installer
Window Glazier

  • These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, pharmacy technicians, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
  • These occupations usually require a high school diploma and may require some vocational training or job-related course work. In some cases, an associate's or bachelor's degree could be needed.
  • Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience may be helpful in these occupations, but usually is not needed. For example, a teller might benefit from experience working directly with the public, but an inexperienced person could still learn to be a teller with little difficulty.
  • Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees.

Most glaziers learn their trade by helping experienced workers, sometimes with supplemental classroom training. A few formal apprenticeship programs are available.

Education and training. Glaziers learn their trade through formal and informal training programs. Usually 3 years of classroom and on-the-job training are required to become a skilled glazier. There are a number of different avenues that one can take to obtain the necessary training. Most glaziers start by obtaining a job with a contractor who then provides on-the-job training. Entry-level workers generally start as helpers, assisting more experienced workers. During this time, employers may send the employee to a trade or vocational school or community college to receive further classroom training.

Some employers offer formal apprenticeships. These programs combine paid on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Apprenticeship applicants usually must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. The length of the program is usually 3 years, but varies with the apprentice’s skill. Because the number of apprenticeship programs is limited, however, only a small proportion of glaziers learn their trade through these programs.

On the job, apprentices or helpers often start by carrying glass and cleaning up debris in glass shops. They often practice cutting on discarded glass. Later, they are given an opportunity to cut glass for a job and assist experienced workers on simple installation jobs. By working with experienced glaziers, they eventually acquire the skills of a fully qualified glazier. 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. In the classroom, they are taught about glass and installation techniques as well as basic mathematics, blueprint reading and sketching, general construction techniques, safety practices, and first aid.

Licensure. Only the State of Connecticut currently requires glaziers to have a license. In addition to passing a test, workers need education, experience, and an apprenticeship to be licensed. There is a voluntary license in Florida. Other States may require licenses in the future.

Other qualifications. Skills needed to become a glazier include manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required. In addition, a good work history or military service is viewed favorably by employers.

Certification and advancement. Glaziers who learn the trade through a formal registered apprenticeship program become certified journeyworkers. Some associations offer other certifications. The National Glass Association, for example, offers a series of written examinations that certify an individual’s competency to perform glazier work at three progressively difficult levels of proficiency: Level I Glazier; Level II Commercial Interior or Residential Glazier, or Storefront or Curtainwall Glazier; and Level III Master Glazier.

Advancement for glaziers generally consists of increases in pay; some advance to glazier supervisors, general construction supervisors, independent contractors, or cost estimators. For those who would like to advance, it is increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish in order to relay instructions and safety precautions to workers with limited understanding of English because Spanish-speaking workers make up a large part of the construction workforce in many areas. Supervisors and contractors need good communication skills to deal with clients and subcontractors and should be able to identify and estimate the quantity of materials needed to complete a job and accurately estimate how long a job will take to complete and at what cost.

Nature of Work

Glass serves many uses in modern life. Insulated and specially treated glass keeps in warmed or cooled air and provides good condensation and sound control. Tempered and laminated glass makes doors and windows more secure. In large commercial buildings, glass panels give office buildings a distinctive look while reducing the need for artificial lighting. The creative use of large windows, glass doors, skylights, and sunroom additions makes homes bright, airy, and inviting.

Glaziers are responsible for selecting, cutting, installing, replacing, and removing all types of glass. They generally work on one of several types of projects. Residential glazing involves work such as replacing glass in home windows; installing glass mirrors, shower doors, and bathtub enclosures; and fitting glass for tabletops and display cases. On commercial interior projects, glaziers install items such as heavy, often etched, decorative room dividers or security windows. Glazing projects also may involve replacement of storefront windows for establishments such as supermarkets, auto dealerships, or banks. In the construction of large commercial buildings, glaziers build metal framework extrusions and install glass panels or curtain walls. (Workers who replace and repair glass in motor vehicles are not covered in this statement. See the statement on automotive body and related repairers elsewhere in the Handbook.)

Besides working with glass, glaziers also may work with plastics, granite, marble, and other similar materials used as glass substitutes and with films or laminates that improve the durability or safety of the glass. They may mount steel and aluminum sashes or frames and attach locks and hinges to glass doors.

For most jobs, the glass is precut and mounted in frames at a factory or a contractor’s shop. It arrives at the jobsite ready for glaziers to position and secure it in place. They may use a crane or hoist with suction cups to lift large, heavy pieces of glass. They then gently guide the glass into position by hand.

Once glaziers have the glass in place, they secure it with mastic, putty, or other paste-like cement, or with bolts, rubber gaskets, glazing compound, metal clips, or metal or wood moldings. When they secure glass using a rubber gasket—a thick, molded rubber half-tube with a split running its length—they first secure the gasket around the perimeter within the opening, then set the glass into the split side of the gasket, causing it to clamp to the edges and hold the glass firmly in place.

When they use metal clips and wood moldings, glaziers first secure the molding to the opening, place the glass in the molding, and then force springlike metal clips between the glass and the molding. The clips exert pressure and keep the glass firmly in place.

When a glazing compound is used, glaziers first spread it neatly against and around the edges of the molding on the inside of the opening. Next, they install the glass. Pressing it against the compound on the inside molding, workers screw or nail outside molding that loosely holds the glass in place. To hold it firmly, they pack the space between the molding and the glass with glazing compound and then trim any excess material with a glazing knife.

For some jobs, the glazier must cut the glass manually at the jobsite. To prepare the glass for cutting, glaziers rest it either on edge on a rack, or "A-frame," or flat against a cutting table. They then measure and mark the glass for the cut.

Glaziers cut glass with a special tool that has a small, very hard metal wheel. Using a straightedge as a guide, the glazier presses the cutter’s wheel firmly on the glass, guiding and rolling it carefully to make a score just below the surface. To help the cutting tool move smoothly across the glass, workers brush a thin layer of oil along the line of the intended cut or dip the cutting tool in oil. Immediately after cutting, the glazier presses on the shorter end of the glass to break it cleanly along the cut.

In addition to handtools such as glasscutters, suction cups, and glazing knives, glaziers use power tools such as saws, drills, cutters, and grinders. An increasing number of glaziers use computers in the shop or at the jobsite to improve their layout work and reduce the amount of wasted glass.

Work environment. Glaziers often work outdoors, sometimes in inclement weather. Their work can, at times, result in injuries as they work with sharp tools and may need to remove broken glass. They must be prepared to lift heavy glass panels and work on scaffolding, sometimes at great heights. Glaziers do a considerable amount of bending, kneeling, lifting, and standing during the installation process.

Related Occupations

Sources: Career Guide to Industries (CGI), Occupational Information Network (O*Net), Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH)

In May 2006, median hourly earnings of wage and salary glaziers were $16.64. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.85 and $22.18. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.19, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.52. Median hourly wage-and-salary earnings in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry were $17.03. Median hourly earnings for glaziers employed by building materials and supply dealers, where most glass shops are found, were $15.51.

Glaziers covered by union contracts generally earn more than their nonunion counterparts. Apprentice wage rates usually start at 40 to 50 percent of the rate paid to experienced glaziers and increase as they gain experience. Because glaziers can lose work time due to weather conditions and fluctuations in construction activity, their overall earnings may be lower than their hourly wages suggest.

Some glaziers employed in construction are members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

For the latest wage information:

The above wage data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, unless otherwise noted. For the latest National, State, and local earnings data, visit the following pages:

  • Glaziers
  • Job Outlook

    Average employment growth is projected. Good job opportunities are expected, especially for those with a range of skills.

    Employment change. Employment is expected to grow 12 percent from 2006 to 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment of glaziers is expected to increase as a result of growth in residential and nonresidential construction. Demand for glaziers also will be spurred by the continuing need to modernize and repair existing structures, which often involves installing new windows. Also, more homeowners now prefer rooms with more sunlight and are adding sunrooms and skylights to houses. Demand for specialized safety glass and glass coated with protective laminates is also growing in response to a higher need for security and the need to withstand hurricanes, particularly in many commercial and government buildings. Homes and buildings that have been built recently are less likely to need replacement windows than older structures.

    Counteracting these factors, however, is the ability of other workers such as carpenters to install windows, which reduces employment growth for glaziers.

    Job prospects. Job opportunities for glaziers are expected to be good. Since employers prefer workers who can do a variety of tasks, glaziers with a range of skills will have the best opportunities.

    Like other construction trades workers, glaziers employed in the construction industry should expect to experience periods of unemployment because of the limited duration of construction projects and the cyclical nature of the construction industry. During downturns in the economy, job openings for glaziers are reduced as the level of construction declines. However, construction activity varies from area to area, so job openings fluctuate with local economic conditions. Employment opportunities should be greatest in metropolitan areas, where most glazing contractors and glass shops are located.


    Glaziers held 55,000 jobs in 2006. About 68 percent of glaziers worked for glazing contractors engaged in new construction, alteration, and repair. About 16 percent of glaziers worked in retail glass shops that install or replace glass, and for wholesale distributors of products containing glass.

    • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
    • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
    • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
    • Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
    • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
    • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
    • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
    • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
    • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
    • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
    • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
    • Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
    • Explosive Strength — The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
    • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
    • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
    • Core — Grind and polish glass, and smooth edges when necessary.
    • Core — Cut, fit, install, repair, and replace glass and glass substitutes, such as plastic and aluminum, in building interiors or exteriors and in furniture or other products.
    • Core — Prepare glass for cutting by resting it on rack edges or against cutting tables, and brushing thin layer of oil along cutting lines or dipping cutting tools in oil.
    • Core — Cut and remove broken glass prior to installing replacement glass.
    • Core — Pack spaces between moldings and glass with glazing compounds, and trim excess material with glazing knives.
    • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
    • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
    • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
    • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
    • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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