Career Profile: Drywall finisher and...

Career Profile: Drywall finisher and Plasterer

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

If you look at the walls of your house or apartment, you see paint or wallpaper. Have you ever looked behind the surface? If your home is like most buildings in Canada, it has drywall covering the surfaces between the rooms and spaces between walls. If you are strong and you enjoy working with your hands, becoming a drywall finisher and plasterer could be a good career choice.

Drywall finishers and plasterers work in the construction industry. Often, they work for building companies, but they can also set up their own businesses and help with repairing or restoring homes or small buildings. Generally, people in this trade work regular hours, but sometimes, they might have to work late to finish a project. Often, people in this trade work with construction companies, but they can also work as private contractors. In that case, they also should be able to work with accounting, ordering supplies, and possibly hiring assistants.

Much of the work of drywall finishers and plasterers is indoors, but the job still depends on the construction season, which tends to be very busy in summer but quiet in winter. Large cities tend to have much more work than small towns, although work can be available anywhere. Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia recently had the most jobs in this trade, but the COVID-19 pandemic might change that.

Salaries for drywall finishers and plasterers start at about $24,000 and can rise to $69,000. Graduation from high school and completion of an apprenticeship are normally necessary for getting into this trade. Certification is required in Quebec and is available but voluntary in most other parts of the country.

Most apprenticeships last about four years and include both classroom studies and on-the-job training. Apprentices learn to tape and finish drywall, using various tools to smooth off the surfaces and the rough edges. They apply plaster to walls and repair existing plaster if necessary. They also learn how to form decorative shapes with the plaster and to restore anything that is broken, chipped, or crumbling.

Working as a drywall finisher and plasterer requires many different skills. Both mathematical ability and creativity are useful for this job. Installing the drywall involves measuring and cutting, often calculating the amounts necessary for the job. Some people in this field might do only the finishing and plastering work while letting others install the drywall, but being able to do all parts of the job is helpful.

Even before finishing high school, you can start to prepare for work as a drywall finisher and plasterer. Mathematics courses are good for learning how to calculate amounts of materials you need, and shops classes are very useful for learning the practical skills necessary for the job. Taking English courses is also a good choice, since people in this trade need to be able to read instructions or to explain procedures to other workers.

Every construction job has its dangers because of the nature of the work. Drywall finishers and plasterers can be injured by the tools they use and the dust they breathe in, but this trade is normally less dangerous than many other jobs in the construction industry. If the tasks appeal to you, why not consider this trade? It could be ideal for you.


Careers in Construction. “Plasterer/Drywall Installer and Finisher/Lather.” https://www.careersinconstruction.ca/en/career/plastererdrywall-installer-and-finisherlather.

Job Bank. “Drywall Installer and Finisher Apprentice near Toronto (ON).” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/outlook-occupation/21540/22437.

Red Seal. “Drywall Finisher and Plasterer.” http://www.red-seal.ca/trades/dryw.1ll_pl.1st.2r-eng.html.

Statistics Canada. “7284—Plasterers, Drywall Installers and Finishers and Lathers.” https://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?CLV=4&CPV=7284&CST=01012011&CVD=122376&Function=getVD&MLV=4&TVD=122372.

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