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Taper Careers

What Does a Taper Do

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboard and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboard for painting, using tape and other materials. Many workers both install and tape wallboard.

Duties

Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, typically do the following:

  • Review design plans to minimize the number of cuts and waste of wallboard
  • Determine the precise locations of electrical outlets, plumbing, and windows
  • Cut drywall or ceiling tiles to the right size, using utility knives and power saws
  • Fasten panels and tiles, using cement adhesive, nails, screws, or clips
  • Patch, trim, and smooth rough spots and edges
  • Apply tape and sealing compound to cover joints between wallboards
  • Add coats of sealing compound to create an even surface
  • Sand all joints and holes to a smooth, seamless finish

Drywall is the most commonly used interior wall covering. The ability to use a wide variety of finishes over properly prepared drywall, as well as low installation costs, drive its popularity. In addition to covering insulation, electrical wires, and plumbing pipes, drywall dampens sound and provides fire resistance.

To hang and prepare ceilings, workers may use mechanical lifts or stand on stilts, ladders, or scaffolds. Once wallboards are hung, workers use progressively wider trowels to spread multiple coats of sealing compound over cracks, indentations, and any remaining imperfections. Some workers may use a mechanical applicator, a tool that spreads sealing compound on the wall joint while dispensing and setting tape at the same time.

Drywall installers are also called drywallers or hangers. They cut and hang the panels of wallboard.

Ceiling tile installers hang ceiling tiles and create suspended ceilings. Tiles may be applied directly to the ceiling, attached to furring strips, or suspended on runners that are connected by wire to the ceiling. Workers are sometimes called acoustical carpenters, because they also install tiles that block sound.

Tapers are also called finishers, because they prepare the drywall for covering by plaster, paint, and wallpaper. Tapers apply paper or fiberglass mesh tape to cover drywall seams.

In addition to performing new installations, many installers and tapers make repairs such as fixing damaged drywall and replacing ceiling tiles. The wall coverings applied to the finished drywall are installed by painters, plasterers, and paperhangers.

How To Become a Taper

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade on the job.  A formal educational credential is typically not required to enter the occupation.

Education

Although there are no education requirements for becoming a drywall and ceiling tile installers, or taper, high school math and vocational technical courses are considered useful.

Training

Most drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade on the job by helping more experienced workers and gradually being given more duties. They start by carrying materials and cleaning up, and then learn to use the tools of the trade. They also learn to measure, cut, and install or apply materials. Employers usually provide some on-the-job training, lasting up to 12 months. 

A few drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of related technical work and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. During training, apprentices learn construction basics related to blueprint reading, mathematics, building code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices.

A few groups, including the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering such a program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to perform the work

After completing an apprenticeship program, they are considered to be journey workers and may perform duties on their own. 

Important Qualities

Balance. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, often wear stilts. They must be able to move around and use tools overhead without falling.

Math skills. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, use math skills for measurement on every job. For example, they must be able to estimate the quantity of materials needed and measure accurately when cutting panels.

Physical stamina. Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers, constantly lift and move heavy materials into place, so workers should be in good physical shape.

Physical strength. Drywall and ceiling tile installers must often lift heavy panels over their heads to secure onto the ceiling.

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Average Salary
$51,238
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
2%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
287
Job Openings

Average Salary for a Taper

Tapers in America make an average salary of $51,238 per year or $25 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $68,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $38,000 per year.
Average Salary
$51,238
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Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Tapers
Tapers
Diversified Wall Systems, LLC
Diversified Wall Systems, LLC
01/02/2020
01/02/2020
$57,24601/02/2020
$57,246
Taper
Taper
Gold River Contractors
Gold River Contractors
01/22/2016
01/22/2016
$71,13601/22/2016
$71,136
Taper
Taper
Rinker Drywall and Painting Inc.
Rinker Drywall and Painting Inc.
02/25/2015
02/25/2015
$35,89602/25/2015
$35,896
Tapers
Tapers
Ace Drywall Inc.
Ace Drywall Inc.
04/14/2011
04/14/2011
$35,47904/14/2011
$35,479
Taper
Taper
Avila Construction, Inc.
Avila Construction, Inc.
09/17/2010
09/17/2010
$62,84009/17/2010
$62,840

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Taper Demographics

Gender

male

70.0 %

female

27.2 %

unknown

2.8 %

Ethnicity

White

57.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

32.6 %

Black or African American

4.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.6 %

French

11.8 %

Venetian

5.9 %
See More Demographics

Taper Education

Majors

Business
17.9 %

Degrees

High School Diploma

42.6 %

Certificate

29.9 %

Diploma

10.9 %

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Top Skills For a Taper

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 25.9% of tapers listed sand on their resume, but soft skills such as math skills and dexterity are important as well.

  • Sand, 25.9%
  • Sheetrock, 20.9%
  • Texture, 13.0%
  • Job Sites, 10.7%
  • Safety Procedures, 10.4%
  • Other Skills, 19.1%
  • See All Taper Skills

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Top Taper Employers

1. Triangle Rubber and Plastics Company
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$44,105
Tapers Hired: 
4+
2. Hard Drywall
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$38,121
Tapers Hired: 
4+
3. Sealy
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$40,239
Tapers Hired: 
3+
4. Cardinal Glass Industries
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$43,120
Tapers Hired: 
2+
5. Lacks Enterprises
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$41,014
Tapers Hired: 
2+
6. Westside
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$46,157
Tapers Hired: 
2+

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