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Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and Lathers

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NOC:7284
Occupation:Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers, and Lathers
Category:Trades and Transportation

About the job

Nature of work:

Plasterers apply finish, and maintain and restore plaster or similar materials, on interior and exterior walls, ceilings and building partitions to produce plain or decorative surfaces. Drywall installers and finishers install and finish drywall sheets and various types of ceiling systems. Lathers install support framework for ceiling systems, interior and exterior walls and building partitions. They are employed by construction companies and by plastering, drywalling, and lathing contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties:
Plasterers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Clean and prepare surfaces.
  • Mix plaster ingredients in trough to desired consistency.
  • Apply, level and smooth coats of plaster using trowels, floats, brushes and spraying equipment.
  • Trowel or spray coats of stucco over exteriors of buildings to form weatherproof surfaces.
  • Finish corners and angles and create decorative designs in finish coat, if required.
  • Cure freshly plastered surfaces.
  • Mould and install ornamental plaster panels, cornices and trim.
  • Spray acoustic materials or texture finish over walls and ceilings.
Drywall installers and finishers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Measure, cut and fit drywall sheets for installation on walls and ceilings.
  • Position and secure sheets to metal or wooden studs or joists.
  • Cut and install metal corner beads to protect exterior corners.
  • Fill joints, nail indentations, holes and cracks with joint compound using trowel and broad knife.
  • Tape over joints using taping machine and embed tape in compound.
  • Smooth out excess compound and allow coat to dry.
  • Apply successive coats of compound and sand seams and joints.
  • Fabricate and install suspended metal ceiling grids and place in panels to form acoustical and coffered ceilings.
Lathers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Prepare wall and ceiling layouts.
  • Install metal stud framing and furring for interior drywall or plaster walls and ceilings, using hand and power tools.
  • Attach metal or gypsum lath to studs or furring using nails, screws, clips or wire ties.
  • Cut openings in lath for heating and ventilation piping, ducts and electrical outlets.
  • Install corner beads and wire mesh around beams to which plaster is to be applied.
  • May install acoustic tile, hangers for suspended ceilings and metal studs for composition wallboard or lath.
Sample job titles:
  • acoustic tile and drywall installer
  • drywall finisher and plasterer
  • drywall hanger
  • gyproc applicator
  • lather (interior systems mechanic)
  • plasterer-decorator
  • sheetrock applicator
  • wall and ceiling installer
Skills:

To work in this trade, you should be in good physical condition and comfortable working at varying heights. Basic mathematical skills are needed to make accurate measurements. You must be able to follow instructions and work well with others. The ability to read blueprints is also an asset. Organizational and management skills would be helpful for promotion to supervisor.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a three- or four-year apprenticeship program in plastering, drywalling or lathing or a combination of over three years of work experience and some high school, college or industry courses in plastering, drywalling or lathing is usually required.
  • Trade certification for lathers (interior systems mechanics) is available, but voluntary, in Nova Scotia.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) is also available to qualified lathers (interior systems mechanic) and drywall finishers and plasterers upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.
Other considerations:

Most jobs in the construction industry are affected by seasonal changes and general economic conditions, and furthermore many jobs are on a project basis. Consequently, workers in these jobs should be prepared for periods of unemployment. However, since plaster and drywall installers are less affected by weather conditions, they enjoy steadier work throughout the year than do other construction workers. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers, and Lathers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 32% of Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers, and Lathers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $41,338. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and Lathers410declineN/AHigh
Minimum: $15.50
Median: $24.00
Maximum: $33.14
Minimum: $5,768
Median: $23,620
Maximum: $58,697
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and LathersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time84%89%
Percent self-employed0%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentPlasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and LathersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern9%x12%$30,581
Northern15%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton13%x13%$32,974
Halifax48%$28,51747%$41,209
Annapolis Valley16%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgePlasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and LathersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
15-24N/Ax
25-3414%13%
35-4424%33%
45-5431%34%
55-6427%19%
65+3%x
Median Age4747
GenderPlasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and LathersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Female4%5%
Male96%95%
EducationPlasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and LathersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school34.8%x18.2%$25,753
High school30.4%$32,80725.5%$28,089
Trades certificate21.7%x29.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma12.0%x22.6%$39,023
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax1.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degreeN/Ax2.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.2%$41,705
Master's degreeN/Ax0.3%x
Doctorate2.2%x0.0%$36,029
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.0%$3,714
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Drywall Finisher and Plasterer
Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary):This job is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, however, a certificate is not needed to legally work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
(902) 424-0717
apprenticeship@novascotia.ca
Lather (Interior Systems Mechanic)
Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary):This job is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, however, a certificate is not needed to legally work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
(902) 424-0717
apprenticeship@novascotia.ca
Useful contacts:
Construction Association of Nova Scotia
260 Brownlow Avenue, Unit 3
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1V9
Tel: (902) 468-2267
Fax: (902) 468-2470
cans@cans.ns.ca
BuildForce Canada
220 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1150
Ottawa, ON K1P 5Z9
Tel: (613) 569-5552
Fax: (613) 569-1220
info@buildforce.ca
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
10 Ragged Lake Blvd. Unit 1
Halifax, NS B3S 1C2
Tel: (902) 832-4761
Fax: (902) 832-4763
info@nscsc.ca
Red Seal
c/o Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency PO Box 578
Halifax, B3J 2S9
Tel: (902) 424-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
burridge.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
truro.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Drywall installation/drywaller
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to install, tape, and plaster drywall installations in interior and exterior construction jobs. These programs include courses in drywall handling and transport, cutting and mounting, taping and spackling, finishing, job analysis and estimation, site safety, tool operation and maintenance, blueprint and specification interpretation, and applicable codes and standards.
See all institutions providing this program+
Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Carpenter Millwright Trades College (CMTC) Inc.
1000 Sackville Drive
Lower Sackville, NS B4E 0C2
(902) 252-3553
admissions@cmtctradescollege.ca
Additional resources: