Plasterer Career Starter Guide

Peter Chambers

Mar 6, 2023

arched ceilings are the work of a master plasterer

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If you love working with your hands and staying active, a plasterer career may be the right move for you. This lesser-known craft requires highly-skilled workers with an attention to detail. This guide will help you decide if this is the right path for you and help you get started on your way. You’ll have challenges ahead, but you’ll find being a plasterer rewarding. 

What Does a Plasterer Do?

Plasterers work with an assortment of materials like clay, lime and cement to create stunning artistic walls, decor or even fireproofing for commercial buildings. They have a range of opportunities to grow and skills to learn. A plasterer must know how to mix the right proportions of ingredients for each job and how to address each type of project.

Every job requires something a bit different. Plasterers make repairs, coat walls and ceilings for aesthetic purposes, seal doorways and joints for structural integrity and make decorative accents. 

What Skills Will I Need as a Plasterer?

Becoming a plasterer requires tremendous dedication to your craft. You should be comfortable in many types of locations — jobs can take you to the tops of buildings and into very tight areas. A certain amount of physical fitness is also a must since this career is quite active. You’ll need to carry heavy materials, go up and down ladders, hold a squat and reach overhead regularly.

Teamwork is another essential skill for anyone wanting to become a plasterer. Almost any construction job requires more than one type of craftsman. You’ll need to be able to work well with others to stay in the loop and complete the job well and on time.   

How Much Can You Make as a Plasterer?

According to Indeed’s database, plasterers earn an average of $22.40 an hour or $40,000 annually. However, the rate you can charge will be largely based on the amount of experience you have under your belt. Your certifications and who you apprenticed with can also significantly impact your starting rate. 

How Do I Get Started?

As with most careers, the earlier you can start, the better. You can begin preparing for a job as a plasterer as soon as you’re in high school. However, you’ll need more training before you’re ready to start work on your own. 

Start Prepping in High School

If you’re still in school, you can work towards becoming a plasterer by competing in sports to boost your athletic skills and teamwork. Shop classes would be another great addition to your load. They’ll familiarize you with the basic terms and tools you’ll need in the construction world. 

Take Coursework

After high school, you can enroll in an associate’s program or classes to earn certifications. These will help further prepare you for work as a plasterer and assist you in the workforce. Aside from experience, some employers will be looking for people with quality certifications. Plus, participating in an associate’s program can help you secure a good apprenticeship that may have been difficult to set up on your own. 

Secure an Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship gives you hands-on experience in your chosen field. You’ll work under a skilled plasterer to learn the basics of the craft and then begin to take on more responsibilities and gain more complex skills. Once you’ve completed the set number of hours, you’ll be certified and ready to take on your own jobs. 

Get on-the-job Experience

For those with no construction experience, you may find it easier to begin by getting straight into the workforce as a laborer in general construction. You can ask to work with plasterers to learn the basics and see if it feels like a good fit for you. In the meantime, you’ll gain exposure to all sorts of craftsman professions and practice working on a construction site and team. 

Is a Plasterer Career for You?

Are you an active person who loathes the thought of working a 9-5 sitting in a tight-packed cubicle for the rest of your life? A career as a plasterer will keep you moving and feel a bit different every day. If you have the teamwork and physical capabilities, you may be an excellent fit.

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