The high costs of four-year college degree programs are leaving many young people wondering if attending a university is the only path to a lucrative and stable job. Indeed, there are career opportunities in many sectors that do not require higher education and may even offer salaried apprenticeship programs to new hires. One such field is the glazing industry. Glaziers cut, fit and install glass in residential, commercial and industrial buildings and other structures. Typically, they work for installation contractors, architectural and design firms and glass fabrication and repair businesses.
What Are the Duties and Working Conditions?
Glaziers carry out a variety of tasks. Some of these involve the application of math, such as reading blueprints, measuring, marking and cutting glass and calculating cost estimates. Thus, anyone considering a career in this industry should have intermediate math skills. Another commonplace duty is installing glass, glass products or mirrors on the interior or exterior of buildings. This can be physically demanding, and workers need to be comfortable with heights. In light of these conditions, the starting pay for glaziers is often either equal to or greater than that of corporate positions that require a degree. Likewise, benefits are comparable to those offered to white-collar employees.
What Are the Job Prospects in This Field?
Job prospects for glaziers are very good. The industry is facing a labor shortage, which is predicted to worsen as baby boomers retire from glazing. According to the National Glass Association, the scarcity of workers is felt throughout the sector, from office staff to field positions. As a result, contractors are unable to accept all of the jobs they are offered and may even have to delay current projects. Moreover, the career saturation and competition that afflict other fields do not affect the prospects for glaziers.
How Do You Become a Glazier?
To become a glazier, you need to undergo an apprenticeship program with an employer. This lasts roughly four years, consisting of 144 hours of formal training and a total of 8,000 hours of paid, hands-on training with a senior employee per year. Formal training can be done via local trade colleges or online courses. Sites like myglassclass.com offer online classes that teach industry fundamentals. Employers will often pay the course fees for their apprentices, but there are also scholarships available. For example, Donald Friese, a veteran of the glazing sector, has teamed with myglassclass.com to offer scholarships for online classes via the website. After completing the apprenticeship program, glaziers in Florida and Connecticut must pass an exam to receive a professional license.
There are many who cannot or do not want to take on the financial burden of attending a four-year college program, and they may feel that their career options are limited. However, there are alternatives to corporate or white-collar jobs that offer similar salaries and benefits. If you apprentice as a glazier, you will get paid to learn a valuable skill that will lead to an interesting and high-salary career in a growing sector.