Drywall Installers and Finishers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Most employers prefer applicants who have completed high school, although some hire workers who are not graduates. High school courses in carpentry provide a good background; mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, general shop, and mathematics, such as basic math and algebra, are also important.

Postsecondary Training

Many drywall installers and finishers are trained on the job, beginning as helpers who aid experienced workers. Installer helpers carry materials, hold panels, and clean up. They learn how to measure, cut, and install panels. Finisher helpers tape joints and seal nail holes and scratches. In a short time, they learn to install corner guards and to conceal openings around pipes. After they have become skilled workers, both kinds of helpers complete their training by learning how to estimate the costs of installing and finishing drywall. 

Other drywall workers learn the trade through apprenticeship programs, which combine classroom study with on-the-job training. A major union in this field, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, offers apprenticeships in drywall installation via its various local councils. The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades also runs an apprenticeship program for finishers. Similar programs for nonunion workers are conducted by local affiliates of the Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Association of Home Builders. Apprenticeship programs typically last three to four years and must include at least 144 hours of related technical work and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is no certification or licensing available for drywall installers or finishers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

To obtain experience, complete an apprenticeship or try to work as a helper to a drywall installer or finisher.

Since drywall installing and finishing is a construction job, employers prefer to hire candidates who are in good physical condition. You will need a certain amount of strength for this job as well as endurance. Also, good coordination is a must. Other important traits include attention to detail, good mathematical ability, the ability to work as a member of a team and follow instructions, and strong interpersonal and communication skills.