Skilled Trade

Tile Worker

 Average Hourly Wage


What You Need

  • 18 years old
  • 2,000-6,000 OJT hours, depending on program
  • 144-456 hours related training

Job description

Tile and Terrazzo are finish trades. This means that they are some of the last parts of a construction projects to be completed. Setting tile and terrazzo involves making sure the surfaces are properly prepared, including walls, floors, showers, tub surrounds, countertops, stairs and sometimes the exterior of structures. Tile and terrazzo can be installed in homes or commercial structures. This trade involves meticulous installation of ceramic, marble and granite tiles. The work is done by hand and requires a high attention to detail. Designs are often creative and visually appealing. Terrazzo is similar to tile in that it is a finish, but instead of tiles, the decorative surface could be made of sand, cement, pigment or marble chips.

Working conditions

Bricklayers usually work outdoors in all types of weather. Marble setters, tile setters, and terrazzo workers generally work indoors. The work is usually performed indoors, but sometimes tile and terrazzo can be installed outdoors as well. Workers spend a lot of time reaching, kneeling, bending and lifting. Sometimes installation is done at great heights using ladders and scaffolding. Heavy lifting is required for most masonry work. At times masonry workers must work at heights. Concrete blocks are used more than bricks, often weighing 30 pounds or more, which must be lifted with one hand. Caulker/pointer/cleaners work primarily outdoors and most definitely at heights. They use a lot of personal protective equipment due to heights and working with chemicals. There may be periods of unemployment between jobs.

Length of apprenticeship

There are tile work programs that only take one year to complete on average and those programs represent the lower wage ranges. The higher wage range programs tend to be 4 years in length.

Minimum qualifications

Apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, they must provide proof of high school graduation or general education development (GED) equivalent. Local apprenticeship committees may require additional qualifications. Ability to pass a drug test required by some programs


Beginning apprentices start at about 50 percent of the journey-level wage. Upon successful completion of required class work and on-the-job hours, wages increase usually every six months, until the journey-level rate is achieved.

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