Career Profile: Tile Setter

Career Profile: Tile Setter

by Stephanie Hughes
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

So you know that you want to enter the trades, but you’re still not sure what trade you might like the most. Here’s one to think about: the terrazzo (which is a funny word for a speckled floor made out of chips of marble, quartz, granite, and glass), tile and marble setter. What these tradesmen do is they set different terrazzo, tile, and marble patterns down in buildings to cover the inner walls, the floors, or the outside walls. To take up this job, you need to be able to mix and place mortar (a paste that helps tiles stick to walls and floors) and cement down to keep tiles in place when setting them down; be able to measure a workable area before laying tile down; be able to remove and replace broken tiles; know how to use power tools that are needed in the job – and how to do all of this work safely.

What are the perks of the job?

As a novice terrazzo, tile, and marble setter, you can expect an entry-level salary of around $37,473 and an intermediate salary of about $74,611. As with any trade, a career like this also has a very positive outlook, meaning you will very likely get a job after training in this field. Most marble setters enter the building finishing industry where workers join a union. Terrazzo, tile, and marble setters can also be self-employed, which means they work at their own business and make their own money. Another perk that most people entering the trades enjoy is that the education and training not only costs you nothing – but you actually get paid while taking an apprenticeship program!

What are some of the setbacks?

There are a few issues people might have with the idea of becoming a terrazzo, marble, and tile setter and that’s the amount of work involved. The working day isn’t the usual 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM work day, you only get to go home after the job is done. The lack of certainty in the hours and the amount of hard work in this career could be a problem for some people. The industry could also do poorly sometimes which would cause marble setters to go unemployed for certain periods of time.

How can I grow with this career?

There are a few ways to be promoted in this career: being hired by a construction company, residential and industrial building developers and masonry contractors presents its own chain of promotion capabilities. Another way to move up in this career is to become your own boss and start a tile setting business. Being self-employed has its own risks, but the reward can be very high if your business does well. You can even hire your own group of terrazzo, tile, and marble setters and expand your business.

That’s all great, but could I be hired for other careers?

The skills that you gain from working as a terrazzo, tile, and marble setter can be used for many other trade-related careers like bricklaying, cement masonry, marble masonry, cement and concrete finishing, drywall finisher, floor covering installer, construction craft-worker, and restoration mason.

All in all, being a terrazzo, tile, and marble setter has a very good future in the trades industry and requires a lot of physical work, which can appeal to a lot of people.


Truity, “Tile or Marble Setter”: https://www.truity.com/career-profile/tile-or-marble-setter

ApprenticeSearch.com, “What does a terrazzo, tile and marble setter do?”: http://www.apprenticesearch.com/AboutTrades/GetTradeDetails?tradeId=101&

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