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Apprenticeship

Tilesetter

Tilesetters cover, repair and decorate exterior and interior walls, floors and ceilings in residential or commercial buildings. Common materials used are ceramic, glass, metals, marble, quarry tile, slate, terrazzo or granite.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,500
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Mason, Terrazzo Worker

NOC & Interest Codes
The Tilesetter is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Tilesetters
NOC code: 7283
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to cut and fit tiles around obstacles and openings

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to pack grout into joints between tiles and remove the excess; and in cutting, polishing and installing marble and granite

INNOVATIVE

Interest in creating decorative designs and in removing and replacing damaged tiles

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Aug 19, 2016

For a typical installation, tilesetters:

  • assess and reinforce different types of surfaces
  • comprehend and execute various blueprints
  • establish the best layout for achieving desired patterns to compliment a variety of spaces
  • prepare, measure and mark the surfaces to be covered 
  • cut and trim tiles to fit around various objects and openings
  • mix, apply and spread adhesives such as mortar, cement, mastic or epoxy over surfaces
  • set and position tiles according to design patterns using tools such as chalk lines, straight edge or laser lines 
  • finish tile installations using a variety of grouts and sealers.

Tilesetters also may:

  • create composite terrazzo surfaces using decorative aggregates
  • cut, shape, polish and install marble and granite slabs
  • maintain existing tiled surfaces by removing and replacing cracked or damaged tile
  • prepare cost and material estimates
  • design and create murals and medallions for esthetic purposes
  • install in-floor heating systems.
Working Conditions
Updated Aug 19, 2016

Tilesetters work both indoors and outdoors. They generally work a five day, 40 hour week but overtime may be required to meet construction deadlines.

Tilesetters do a considerable amount of bending, kneeling and reaching, and may be required to lift and move materials, equipment and tools that in excess of 25 kilograms. There is some risk of injury involved in working with sharp edges and power tools, and heavy lifting.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Aug 19, 2016

Tilesetters need the following characteristics:

  • manual dexterity
  • the ability to complete tile installation projects working from architectural plans and specifications 
  • the ability to do precise work
  • the ability to work with little supervision.

They should enjoy creating finished designs that require precise skills.

Educational Requirements
Updated Aug 19, 2016

To work in Alberta, a tilesetter must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate  
  • someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • self-employed.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 10-2 and Math 10-3, or equivalent, or a pass mark in all 5 GED tests, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates.  

The term of apprenticeship is 3 years (three 12 month periods) that include a minimum of:

  • 1,600 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training in the first and second year
  • 1,600 hours of on-the-job training in the third year.

High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Tilesetter apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently pending.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Aug 19, 2016

This is an Apprenticeship trade. For full details, see the related certification profile

Employment & Advancement
Updated Aug 19, 2016

Tilesetters are employed by special trade, building and general contractors. Those who are self-employed usually contract their services for smaller renovation projects. Employment prospects for tilesetters change with seasonal and economic climates.

Tilesetters may advance to supervisory positions such as foreman, superintendent and estimator. Alberta certified journeyperson tilesetters who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

In Alberta, 88% of people employed as tilesetters work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Aug 19, 2016

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $25 to $35 an hour plus benefits (2014 estimates). Apprentice tilesetters earn at least 60% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 70% in the second and 80% in the third.

According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Tilesetters occupational group earned on average from $21.44 to $30.29 an hour. The overall average wage was $28.25 an hour. More recent data is not available. 

Related High School Subjects
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Construction
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Aug 19, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

Calgary Construction Association website: www.cca.cc

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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