- Do you enjoy working with your hands?
- Are you precise with an eye for detail?
- Are you creative and artistic?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Tilesetter could be right for you.
Tilesetters cover interior and exterior walls, floors and ceilings with ceramic, marble and quarry tiles, mosaics or terrazzo.
They are employed by construction companies and masonry contractors, or they may be self-employed.
As a Tilesetter, your duties may include:
- Laying and setting tiles to create decorative wall, mural and floor designs
- Cutting and fitting tiles around obstacles and openings using hand and power cutting tools
- Preparing, measuring and marking surfaces to be covered
- Mixing, applying and spreading cement, glue or other adhesives using hand tools
- Aligning and straightening tiles using levels and squares
- Applying plaster between tiles and removing excess plaster
- Cutting, polishing and installing marble and granite
- Removing and replacing cracked or damaged tiles
- Preparing cost estimates and orders
The standard work week for Tilesetters is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next.
As a Tilesetter, you may work indoors and outdoors, alone or with a team of other construction professionals. The job is physically demanding – you may have to bend and kneel for long periods of time, and often have to lift heavy materials.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Tilesetters are trained to work safely and take special precautions to protect against injury.
Training and Certification
Apprenticeship involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Tilesetter, called a journeyperson.
As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 60 per cent of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.
Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for Tilesetter apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. In most provinces and territories, you must be at least 16 years old and have a Grade 8 education to enter the program. You may find it helpful to have courses in English and Math.
Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as a Tilesetter.
Apprenticeship training programs for tilesetters vary across Canada, but generally involve three 12-month periods, including at least 4,800 hours of on-the-job training, two eight-week blocks of technical training and a final certificate exam.
Related work experience or completion of a Tilesetter program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.
Certification is required in Quebec, and is available but voluntary in most other provinces and territories. Where certification is not available, it may be possible to study as an apprentice through your local labour organization. Even where certification is voluntary, it is still recommended as it tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional, and it also helps you get jobs.
To be certified as a Tilesetter, you usually need to complete a three-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a journeyperson certificate.
You may be eligible for certification in some provinces and territories if you have more than three years of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses in tilesetting.
To keep their skills current, Tilesetters must keep up with new technologies by reading and speaking with others in their field.
Anticipated In-Demand Regions
- British Columbia
- Ontario - Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
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