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Career and Education Opportunities for Plasterers in Chicago, Illinois

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for plasterers in the Chicago, Illinois area. Currently, 890 people work as plasterers in Illinois. This is expected to grow by 9% to 970 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for plasterers, which sees this job pool growing by about 6.6% over the next eight years. In general, plasterers apply interior or exterior plaster, cement, or similar materials.

Plasterers earn about $27 hourly or $57,830 per year on average in Illinois and about $18 per hour or $37,470 per year on average nationally. Incomes for plasterers are better than in the overall category of Carpentry and Masonry in Illinois, and better than the overall Carpentry and Masonry category nationally.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a plasterer, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. The most common level of education for plasterers is less than a high school diploma. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a plasterer if you already have a high school diploma.


Plasterer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, plasterers apply interior or exterior plaster, cement, or similar materials. They also may also set ornamental plaster.

Plasterers clean and ready surfaces for applications of plaster or similar materials, such as by drywall taping. They also develop decorative textures in finish coat, using brushes or trowels or stones. Equally important, plasterers have to mix mortar and plaster to desired consistency or direct staff who perform mixing. They are often called upon to apply coats of plaster or stucco to walls or partitions of buildings, using trowels, brushes, or spray guns. They are expected to apply weatherproof, decorative coverings to exterior surfaces of buildings. Finally, plasterers set up guide wires on exterior surfaces of buildings to indicate thickness of plaster or stucco and nail wire mesh or similar materials to the outside surface to hold stucco in position.

Every day, plasterers are expected to be able to twist and stretch their arms and legs to get work done. They need to move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices. It is also important that they lift, push and move large and heavy objects.

It is important for plasterers to rough the undercoat surface with a scratcher so the finish coat will adhere. They are often called upon to mold and install ornamental plaster pieces and trim. They also cure freshly plastered surfaces. They are sometimes expected to spray acoustic materials or texture finish over walls and ceilings. Somewhat less frequently, plasterers are also expected to apply insulation to building exteriors by installing prefabricated insulation systems over existing walls or by covering the outer wall with insulation board and a base coat.

And finally, they sometimes have to clean and ready surfaces for applications of plaster or similar materials, such as by drywall taping.

Like many other jobs, plasterers must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Brick and Block Mason. Lay and bind building materials, such as brick, structural tile, and terra-cotta block, with mortar and other substances to construct or repair walls, partitions, and other structures.
  • Bricklayer Helper. Help brickmasons, blockmasons, or tile and marble setters by performing duties of lesser skill. Duties include using, supplying or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
  • Painter. Paint walls, equipment, and other structural surfaces, using brushes, rollers, and spray guns. May remove old paint to prepare surface prior to painting. May mix colors or oils to obtain desired color or consistency.
  • Paperhanger. Cover interior walls and ceilings of rooms with decorative wallpaper or fabric, or attach advertising posters on surfaces, such as walls and billboards. Duties include removing old materials from surface to be papered.
  • Tile Setter. Apply hard tile, marble, and wood tile to walls, floors, and roof decks.


Lincoln College of Technology - Melrose Park, IL

Lincoln College of Technology, 8317 W North Avenue, Melrose Park, IL 60160-1605. Lincoln College of Technology is a small college located in Melrose Park, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 803 students and an admission rate of 100%. Lincoln College of Technology has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated 124 and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated three and five students respectively in 2008.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.