Career Profile: Glazier
Nearly every building and vehicle you pass each day has glass windows or doors. The unique properties of glass mean that most uses require a specialized professional to perform installation and maintenance. This is done by skilled tradespeople known as glaziers.
Glaziers are skilled tradespeople who are responsible for cutting, fitting, installing, and replacing glass inside and outside all kinds of buildings, including commercial and residential, as well as other types of structures. Glaziers will assemble and install prefabricated glass and glass substitutes for windows, mirrors, doors, skylights, cabinets, and aquariums. They will also be trained to build wood or metal frames for windows and other glass installations.
Other aspects of construction-related glasswork also fall under the duties of a glazier. This includes tinting glass, working with stained glass for churches or museums, and specialty glass such as glass railings, smoke baffles, or shower enclosures. The automotive industry also employs glaziers to work with the glass in windshields, sunroofs, and doors.
However, most glaziers are employed by construction companies to install glass, or manufacturing companies where they perform fabrication of unitized panels. Working on construction projects involves working both indoors and outdoors, depending on the project. Depending on the job, glaziers will need to know how to use equipment including lifting equipment, scaffolding, cranes and hoists. Many tasks a glazier performs are considered heavy labour, and so glaziers must be physically fit and capable of bending, lifting, kneeling, standing, and maneuvering suspended loads.
Tradespeople who work as glaziers will often work closely with other construction professionals and members of the skilled trades, such as architects, bricklayers, carpenters, roofers, ironworkers and automotive vehicle repair people
Most glaziers will work regular hours with a construction or fabrication job, such as 9am to 5pm. However, depending on the job or the needs of a specific project, occasional overtime or working in evenings and weekends may be required.
Entering the trade is usually accomplished through completing an apprenticeship program after graduating from high school, which requires a combination of approximately 8,000 hours of on-the-job and in-school training, followed by a certification exam. The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades is one group that offers glazier internship programs.
This kind of trade apprenticeship requires you to train under an experienced mentor while you learn the work involved. The benefit of this is that apprenticeships are paid positions in Canada, so you are able to earn a wage while you learn the trade. There is also a Red Seal accreditation program and exam available for glaziers, which is optional, but will often be considered a significant benefit as it means you have all the current standards and can work in any province in Canada.
Salaries for glaziers in Canada range from around $28,000 for apprenticeship and entry-level workers, up to around $69,000 for those with experience.