Insulation workers install various materials around equipment such as pipes and duct work or within ceilings, walls and floors in buildings and/or homes. The insulating materials help to provide a stable temperature environment which prevents the equipment or structure from becoming too cold or hot. For example, adequate insulation can keep pipes from freezing and bursting in the winter. It can also keep equipment protected from abuse.
Insulation Workers Job Responsibilities
Insulation workers use various methods to install the insulation, from taping, stapling it in to using wire banding to hold it around a piece of equipment. In a home or building, the insulation may be blown in or applied in sections to spaces in between walls.
When blown into a space, the worker may be using materials such as cellulose or fiberglass into the space. They may also utilize a foam like material for the same purpose. Once the insulation is in, it is covered with drywall and prepared for finishing. Insulation workers may have to work in older structures where asbestos may be a danger. This means that the individual will have to receive special training in safety and special work procedures. They utilize of number of tools, including saws, staple guns, pliers, knives, brushes, trowels and power equipment. There is also a lot of bending, stooping, standing and moving around with this work, and the individual may be forced to work in smaller spaces. Paying attention to and using proper safety procedures is a key element of this job.
Insulation Workers Training and Education Requirements
High school students can prepare for this field by taking classes in woodworking, shop, science and construction. Many workers are hired straight out of high school and receive on-the-job training from other workers with experience. This hands-on training can last for a period up to four years, starting out by helping a more experienced worker with installation. If the worker is going to be doing insulation in residential homes, the training is much shorter than if he or she will be working in the commercial or industrial realm. As they learn the trade over time, they are given greater responsibility.
Others can choose to enter a full apprenticeship program, which lasts anywhere from four to five years. During this time, the individual gets hands-on training while working on site which is supplemented with classroom instruction. These programs give the apprentice a more in-depth and broad education in the full spectrum of dealing with installation of insulation. When the training program is completed, individual is required to take those a written test and a practical portion that shows they have mastered both the knowledge and skills required.
Insulation Workers Salary and Wages
according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2018 this field will have a 17% increase in jobs available for installation workers. This is especially true due to new buildings needing to increase their energy efficiency and in high periods of construction and residential homes and commercial buildings. The average hourly wage for installation workers is approximately $15.34 that worked in residential homes or businesses. The highest hourly wage for these workers is at or below $9.61, with the highest earning at or above $26.53. Installation workers in the mechanical field earned on average around $17.95 an hour. The lowest paid fell at or below $11.46 an hour, while the highest was at or above $32.82. Those workers who were members of a union tended to earn higher rate of pay per hour than those who were not you workers. Pay was also higher for those with more skill and experience.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Insulation Workers Certifications
Apprentices who have completed a program of training, after passing the required tests, are seen as competent to do the job. The main official certification is required is in this field is for dealing with asbestos in certain situations. If the worker will be doing installation within a structure that has been deemed to have asbestos present must go through a special training program. This program gives the worker knowledge and skills related to safe removal of asbestos, being aware of the hazards involved and what proper safety procedures must be used. Once a worker is completed the training, they are given certification in this area. The certification is also required by the Environmental Protection Agency for these workers. These programs are more common for those working in the mechanical end of the field.
Insulation Workers Professional Associations
For installation workers, unions are the primary professional organizations that they can join. Unions offer their members to benefits of support in both training through apprenticeship programs and dealing with negotiations with management in regards paying benefits. The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers is one example of these organizations.