Commercial Painters, Glaziers, Drywall Finishers, Sign & Display, Industrial Coating & Lining Application Specialist Apprenticeships

Drywall Finisher

Drywall finishers (or tapers) prepare unfinished interior drywall panels for painting by taping and finishing joints and imperfections.

Drywall consists of a thin layer of gypsum between two layers of heavy paper; it is used on walls and ceilings in most buildings today because it is faster to apply than plaster and gives a professional finish when completed.

Using the wide, flat tip of a special trowel, drywall finishers spread joint compound into and along each side of the joint between two hung drywall panels and use a paper tape to cover the seams between panels, resulting in a uniform and almost perfect surface.


An Architectural Glass and Metal technician, called a Glazier, is responsible for selecting, cutting, installing, replacing, and removing all types of glass. Work in the glazing field includes both residential and commercial projects. Residential projects may include replacing a home’s window glass to improve energy efficiency, installing glass mirrors, shower doors and fitting glass for tabletops and display cases. Commercial interior glazing projects include installing items such as heavy, decorative room dividers or security windows. Other glazing projects may involve replacing storefront windows for establishments such as supermarkets, auto dealerships or banks. In the construction of large commercial buildings, glaziers build metal framework extrusions and install glass panels or curtain walls.

Skills needed to become a Glazier include manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately also is required.

Employment in the glazing trade is less seasonal than in most of the construction occupations. Such activities as replacing broken glass, making shower doors, and cutting glass for store cabinets and fixtures provide work through the year. Employment in retail outlets also tends to be stable.

Industrial Coating & Lining Application Specialist

Industrial Coating and Lining Application Specialists apply techniques to prepare substrates for coating and lining application. Techniques may include removal of rust, mill scale and previously applied hazardous coatings utilizing industry‐specific tools and techniques. Industrial Coating and Lining Application Specialists apply/install protective coatings and linings to steel and concrete on complex structures, such as bridges and towers; waterfront structures, such as locks and dam, ship hulls, offshore platforms, bulkheads, and piers; metal and manufacturing facilities; chemical and processing facilities (e.g. food processing; pulp and paper mills; food and beverage plants; water and wastewater processing facilities); and conventional and nuclear power generation facilities.

By the nature of their work, Industrial Coating and Lining Application Specialists often work in dangerous environments such as bridges high over waterways, other highways or railroads, or in confined spaces such as shipboard spaces, small vessels or storage tanks. Because of this, Industrial Coating and Lining Application Specialists are required to receive more specialized training in health and safety due to the hazards associated with their work.

In today’s environmentally‐conscious culture, the Industrial Coating and Lining Application Specialist must also be careful to protect the environment surrounding the work site to ensure that hazardous debris such as lead‐based paint and abrasive blasting media is properly contained and disposed of according to stringent federal, state and local regulations. This often requires the rigging of intricate containment systems and work platforms.

Students will learn to apply their theoretical knowledge and skills to the corrosion protection of steel and concrete on complex industrial structures through course work in Health and Safety Awareness for Application Specialists, surface preparation and coating materials properties, and application. Specialty application course work in plural component and thermal spray will further assist students in expanding their skills. Students will have their capabilities verified thru the IUPAT/FTI Industrial Coating and Lining Application Specialist Certification Program.

The objective of the Certification Program is to determine, through proctored written and practical examination, whether an individual craft worker has the skill and knowledge to perform quality surface preparation and protective coatings application. The ICLAS program meets this need and provides criteria for the education, training, experience, knowledge, and motor skills required to prepare and apply protective coatings to steel and concrete surfaces of complex industrial and marine structures.

This training and certification has been designed to meet the requirements for a Level II certified Coating and Lining Application Specialist set forth in the Body of Knowledge contained within the SSPC ACS 1/NACE No.13 Joint Standard and in accordance with ISO 17024. Students shall be required to maintain their Qualifications per the requirements set forth in the SSPC ACS 1/NACE No.13 Joint Standard.

Commercial Painter

Painters and Decorators apply decorative and protective finishes in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial settings. They prepare a variety of surfaces (wood, masonry, drywall, plaster, concrete, synthetics, stucco and metal) prior to the application of materials such as paint, high performance coatings, waterproofing, fireproofing, varnish, shellac, wall coverings and special decorative finishes.

Painters and Decorators are employed by construction companies, painting contractors, building maintenance contractors, or are self-employed. They work on projects such as home interiors and exteriors, residential high rises, wall covering work, industrial tanks and plants, bridges, airports, institutions, marine and offshore projects, and other commercial and industrial projects. Some Painters and Decorators may work for years on a single site; others may work for contractors that rarely work on the same site more than once.

Painters and Decorators must have an eye for detail, the ability to plan work, and knowledge of many types of finishes, their properties and their applications. They must be able to calculate areas and relate such calculations to required material. Good communications and customer service skills are required by Painters and Decorators who often interact with home/business owners, contractors, interior designers and architects.

Sign & Display

Sign and Display craftspeople design, fabricate, construct, paint and install interior and exterior signage of all types. This includes lettering for windows and vehicles, plastic and neon signs, as well as for trade shows, office complexes, shopping plazas and other locations and for various purposes. Signs are crafted to meet the requirements of the customer using innovative and high quality workmanship to create aesthetically pleasing signs made of materials such as metal, vinyl, glass, Plexiglas, wood, neon and plastic. Apprentices typically specialize in a particular segment of the industry (e.g. graphic design, fabrication, silk screening, etc.) and learn to use state of the art equipment to perform such jobs as computerized letter fabrication, welding, neon bending, computer routed lettering, screen printing and more. People with limited or no experience in the industry can use the available apprenticeship program as a catalyst to becoming a qualified journeyperson in the trade.

Sign and Display workers learning their trade through an apprenticeship program will receive relevant classroom training as well as on-the-job training and experience. The on-the-job training may include tasks such as cutting, painting, stenciling on various substrates as well as using tools and screen printing equipment, computer software, installation methods and other materials of the trade.

How do I prepare for these trades?
The following will be helpful to have completed courses in or possess the following skills:

  • Good reading ability
  • General math ability
  • Able to lift 60 pounds
  • Good blueprint-reading ability

How do I qualify?

  • At least 18 years old
  • High school education or GED
  • Have a valid photo identification
  • Have reliable transportation

What are the program specifics?

  • Length of program is 4 years
  • Minimum of 160 hours of classroom instruction each year
  • 1,500 hours of on-the-job training each year
  • Starting pay is 50% of journeyperson wages during 30-day probationary period; 55% of journeyperson wages after 30 days.



The Finishing Trades Institute of the Ohio Regional will not discriminate against apprenticeship applicants or apprentices based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, genetic information, or because they are an individual with a disability or a person 40 years old or older. The Finishing Trades Institute of the Ohio Region will take affirmative action to provide equal opportunity in apprenticeship and will operate the apprenticeship program as required under Title 29 of the Code of the Federal Regulations, part 30.

Where do I apply or receive additional information?

George Boots
Director of Training
Finishing Trades Institute of the Ohio Region
200 Kovach Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45215