A glazier is a person who installs, removes, or repairs glass. Glaziers work on cutting, installing, and repairing glass in all types of environments. Glaziers install glass in window frames and other surfaces. They work in stores, residential homes, commercial buildings, museums, and other environments.
They have to follow specific blueprints for each job. The work includes driving specific trucks that can transport glass, fabricating and installing metal sashes or molds to hold glass, weatherizing and sealing joints for glass installations, and securing work sites by removing old or broken glass before new installations.
It is very important to have good hand-eye coordination, and have a basic understanding of cutting and joining things. Glaziers also work with aluminum, steel, granite, marble, plastics, and other glass substitutes.
They use tools such as glass cutters, circle cutters, drills, saws, grinders, heat guns, heating irons, breaking blocks, files, lead, knives, soldering irons, and even computer programs.
Precision and detail are necessary since it is such a hands-on job. Good balance, hand-eye coordination, and physical strength are also valuable skills for being a glazier since they may help climbing heights and using various technical tools.
Types of Glazier
Commercial Glazier – These glaziers typically work on high rises and storefronts.
Commercial Glazing is a type of glazing that is used to install/repair glasses on commercial buildings. The glass used in commercial buildings is different from the glass that is used in residential buildings.
They are usually longer and designed to allow more light into the workspaces in business buildings. Commercial glazier needs to more skills with regards to safety and precision. They need to be ready to work at heights since the commercial buildings are usually tall.
There is always a good demand for Commercial glazier since there are always commercial buildings out there that need new installations or repairs.
Residential Glazier– They work on home projects. This includes removing and repairing home windows, shower doors, glass tabletops, and other types of display cases.
A Residential glazier will work with relatively small glasses compared to a commercial glazier. It is less physically demanding but the time consumed in the work might usually be high due to various glasses present inside a home.
Glaziers who are afraid of working at heights can consider residential glazing as a career since you will usually work in lower altitudes as a residential glazier.
Specialty Glazier– These glaziers work on art glass installations for galleries, museums, hotels, casinos, and other private and public spaces. Stained glass artists would also fit in this category.
A specialty glazier is more like an artist. They work with a lot of experimental designs and cuts of the glass. Their focus is on the aesthetics and making installations that are more likely unique from each other.
Types of Glass Glaziers Use
Based on the purpose, Glaziers use different types of glasses. Let us know a few of them.
This kind of glass is used in places where there is a lot of need for safety and broken glass can turn hazardous to people. Laminated glass will not fly into pieces when there is an impact. You usually see them in the malls where the stores will need to showcase their collections through clear glasses while maintaining high safety with shatterproof glass.
You find this kind of glass on commercial buildings where even privacy is a concern. It will keep the glass slightly opaque and hard to peep while allowing sunlight into the building. It even filters harmful UV light from the sun before it enters the building
The glass can have some designs and patterns on top of them. This kind of glass is used for various decorative purposes in commercial and residential places.
In Commercial buildings, the glasses tend to catch a lot of dust which will add to maintenance costs. Self-cleaning glass has the property of dropping dust and not letting dust accumulate over them.
There are many other types of glasses you can explore by clicking on this link.
It is very important to have good hand and eye coordination, and have a basic understanding of cutting and joining things. Glaziers also work with aluminum, steel, granite, marble, plastics, and other glass substitutes.
They work with all different types of tools. Knowledge of working with different tools is essential for the job. Precision and detail are necessary as it is a very hands-on job.
Good balance, hand-eye coordination, and physical strength are also valuable skills for being a glazier, as they may help climbing heights and using various technical tools. It also involves lots of bending, lifting, and working with fragile materials, and reading blueprints.
Previous experience in construction helps. You will handle glass that weighs hundreds of pounds. There is also a lot of standing involved. You will have to adjust the glass as people don’t always follow the blueprints or the blueprint may have something that may not work. Every job is a little different.
This is a great career for people who like to think and be creative. Metal fabrication is a part of the job. Navigating blueprints is a key part of the job so it is essential to get good at it. Construction is done all over the country so you can find work anywhere. More work will be available in cities that are growing.
Precision and detail are extremely important. Glaziers work with very expensive custom glass. Messing up or missing any detail from a blueprint will cause delays as some glass may have to be special ordered. Sometimes glaziers will work with computer programs that measure and design glass with even more precision.
The Glass Installer Technician Certification is not necessary but it is helpful to have. Only 1 state, Connecticut, requires a license where you must pass a test. Florida used to require a license but removed that requirement in 2012. As always, check your local state website to see if anything has changed.
A typical glazier apprenticeship is 3-4 years. It typically consists of 2000 hours of paid training and at least 144 hours of classroom instruction every year. Classroom instruction may be at night after a day of work. Your salary will typically go up as you hit certain milestones during your apprenticeship.
As stated before, this is a very physical job. Glaziers typically work for glass companies or construction companies. Safety is very important, as you will be handling expensive and dangerous equipment. You must follow all safety protocols when on the job.
If you were afraid of heights, it would be best to avoid being a commercial glazier as they often work on high-rise buildings. Your hours may vary depending on the construction job (sometimes you may have to work at night or early in the morning). You may have to work overtime to get a job done before a certain date.
- A glazier is a unique and interesting job.
- It is great for people who like to think and be creative.
- You can also work on many different types of projects so there will always be something new to learn.
- There are good growth opportunities in the future especially in big cities that are growing.
- A lot of new buildings are made out of glass.
- There is also a lot of work in many parts of the country so you are not limited geographically.
- You are also able to create your own custom glass company once you get enough experience.
- You get to interact with a lot of different professions so you can learn a lot.
- You can also transfer your skills to other parts of the construction industry if you would like to take on different types of work.
- Being a glazier is a very physical job. It will tire out your body, so if you aren’t used to physical work or have physical ailments, this may not be the job for you.
- If you are not detail-oriented, it is extremely easy to make an expensive mistake.
- If you prefer a more repetitive job, this may not be the job for you as each job will be a little different. You will sometimes have to deviate from the blueprint to make sure the job gets done.
- You also may have a lot of driving involved some days as the glass needs to be transported in special vehicles.
Total Employment: 47,330
Mean Annual Wage: $47,480
Median Annual Wage: $42,580
Top 5 Highest Paying States
Annual mean wage
Top 5 States with Highest Employment
Annual mean wage
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)
Is being Glazier a good career?
Overall, a glazier is a great job for someone that can handle the physical aspects of the job. You have good growth opportunities and you get to work on interesting projects. You will always learn on the job.
As you gain more experience, your value as a glazier will rise. It is also good to be able to admire your work after it is done. A job site that isn’t complete looks completely different after everything is put together.
Helpful Links and References:
Find a Glazier job now
If you understood the glazier job description and felt you suit it well. No degree provides you with numerous glazier job opportunities.
National Glass Association
The National Glass Association is a great resource for a glazier. It has a lot of educational resources and is great to follow to keep up with industry news. It is a must for glaziers who want to stay on top of their careers.
Online Glazier training by the National Glass Association
The National Glass Association has an online class for glaziers. While an online glass is never a substitute for actual hands-on experience, it will position an aspiring glazier and separate them from their competition. The classes include an introduction to the trade, safety protocols and information, glass and metal fabrication, and more.
Glaziers: Stories From People Who've Done It by Gigi Little (AMAZON)
This book is a MUST READ for someone serious about becoming a Glazier. The author has expereince in different parts of the glazing industry. So her first-hand expereince provides helpful insights into what a career in glazing looks like.