Floor Covering Installers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

High school courses that would provide you with a good background for floor covering include wood and metal shop classes, mechanical drawing, mathematics (especially algebra and geometry), and chemistry (which will provide a good introduction to the chemical properties of various materials).

Postsecondary Training

Most installers gain their training as helpers working for flooring installation contractors and learn informally on the job. When they are first hired, helpers are assigned simple tasks, such as tacking down strips. As they gain skills and experience, they are given more difficult work, such as measuring and cutting. It may take an installer 18 months to two years of informal on-the-job training to learn the basics of carpet laying or resilient floor laying.

Apprenticeship programs, which often last two to four years, usually provide much more complete training in all phases of installation. Some apprenticeships teach installation of both types of flooring, while others specialize in just one covering. Apprentices work under the supervision of experienced installers and typically attend classes in related subjects once a week. Programs are available from INSTALL—Installation Standards Training Alliance, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades’ Finishing Trades Institute, and otherf organizations.  

Aspiring apprentices should consider participating in a pre-apprenticeship program that is offered by a union, community college, or professional association. These programs—which last anywhere from six to 12 weeks—help young people build their mathematics, literacy, and work-readiness skills and investigate potential occupational paths. The following organizations offer general construction or flooring-related pre-apprenticeship programs:

  • International Masonry Training and Education Foundation: http://imtef.org/training-programs
  • Home Builders Institute: www.hbi.org/Programs/Trades/Carpentry (includes training in laying wood floors)

Other Education or Training

The Carpet and Rug Institute offers continuing education (CE) courses such as Carpet Construction, Fibers and Yarns, Introduction to Carpet Specification, and Carpet Cushion and Adhesives. FCICA, the Flooring Contractors Association; the World Floor Covering Association; and other professional associations and trade groups also provide CE opportunities. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) offers the voluntary certified installer designation and other certification credentials to floor covering installers, sanders and finishers, and inspectors. Applicants for the certified installer credential must have a minimum of three years of experience installing hardwood floors, subscribe to a code of conduct, complete and pass the NWFA University online installation track, attend NWFA Intermediate Installation training, and complete hands-on testing on the day following the training event. The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, International Masonry Institute, International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, National Tile Contractors Association, National Wood Flooring Association, Tile Contractors’ Association of America, International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association, International Standards & Training Alliance, and the Tile Council of North America also provide certification programs. Contact these organizations for more information.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

To obtain experience, try to land a part-time or summer job as a helper at a flooring installation contractor. For those who do not participate in an apprenticeship, it may take from 18 to 24 months of on-the-job training to become a full-fledged floor covering installer.

Employers look for applicants who have good manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Because installers work on the premises of the customer, they should also have a neat appearance and a courteous manner. Other important traits include physical strength and stamina, a detail-oriented personality, good color vision, and an ability to work well both alone and with others.