Approximately 27,360 plasterers and stucco masons are employed in the United States. Most plasterers work for independent plastering contractors and are members of unions, either the Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association or the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers.
Those who wish to become apprentices usually contact local plastering contractors, online job sites, or the appropriate union headquarters. In most places, the local branch of the Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association is the best place to inquire about apprenticeships. The Office of Apprenticeship, U.S. Department of Labor, and state employment offices are also good places to contact for information.
If the apprenticeship program is filled, applicants may wish to enter the field as on-the-job trainees. In this case, they usually contact a plastering contractor directly and begin work as helpers or laborers. They learn about the work by mixing the plaster, helping plasterers with scaffolding, and carrying equipment.
Most plasterers learn the full range of plastering skills. They develop expertise in finish plastering as well as rough coat plastering. They also learn the spray gun technique and become proficient spray gun plasterers. With additional training, they may specialize in exterior work as stucco masons or in ornamental plastering as molding plasterers.
If they have certain personal characteristics such as the ability to deal with people and good judgment and planning skills, plasterers may progress to become supervisors or job estimators. Many plasterers become self-employed, and some eventually become contractors.
Tips for Entry
Join the Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association (OPCMIA), https://www.opcmia.org, to receive advocacy, training, and assistance with your job search.
Contact a local union chapter of OPCMIA to apply for an apprenticeship.
Join the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers, https://bacweb.org, which offers educational opportunities and career advancement.