glass and glazing

Complete Guide to Getting a Glass and Glazing License

To become a glazier, a professional who works with cutting, handling, and installing glass in construction settings, you need to go through a proper qualification process. Only two states: Connecticut and Florida, actually require you to get a formal license. However, the path to getting your license is similar to getting a starter job in other states. The prospects for glass and glazing professionals are steadily ticking upwards, meaning that this is a good-long-term career to look at. This article will cover all the essential steps to work your way to a glass and glazing license.

Starting As A Glazier

Most glass and glazing professionals enter the job with a high school diploma or appropriate equivalent (GED, etc). High schoolers should focus on math courses in order to give themselves the best basis possible. After graduation, most glaziers get their first professional training through a 4-year apprenticeship. Most apprenticeships require you to be a high school graduate, at least 18 years old, and be able to physically handle the work. 

The baseline for an apprenticeship in glass and glazing is having 144 hours of technical training combined with 2,000 hours of training, paid on the job. This will help you learn essential information such as:

  • -Using all relevant glassworking tools and equipment
  • -How to measure, cut, and handle glass and metal framing
  • -How to use moldings
  • -Balancing glass doors

This is generally combined with technical training in a classroom setting. This includes topics such as:

  • -Basic math
  • -How to read blueprints and sketches
  • -Fundamental construction techniques
  • -First aid
  • -Safety practices

Once a glazier completes their apprenticeship, they will reach the journeyman stage, similar to other trades. This gives them the ability to go out and do tasks on their own. For people interested in getting an apprenticeship but having trouble finding one, unions and contractor associations may be able to help.

glass and glazing
Photo By Dmitry Kalinovsky

Obtaining a Glass and Glazing License

So, what exactly does it take for you to get your glass and glazier license in Florida or Connecticut? This generally boils down to getting a certain amount of experience and taking state certification tests. There are quite a few combinations of experience that you can have in terms of work on the job and formal education. Let’s take a look at what Florida allows for, as an example:

  • -A four-year degree in construction from an accredited institution, along with a year of proven experience.
  • -A year’s experience as a glass and glazing foreman and less than three years of credits from college-level courses.
  • -One year’s experience as a worker, one year’s experience as a foreman, and two years of credits. 
  • -Four years of experience as a worker or foreman. At least one of those years must be spent as a foreman.

There are also provisions available for veterans who had glass/glazier work as a part of their duties. Relevant experience during their service can go towards qualifying for their exam. How you get work experience is also pretty varied. You don’t need to get your years of experience in-state or even in the U.S. However, you do need to have it certified and notarized by a state-licensed glazing/general contractor that knows you and knows you worked on glazing projects for at least a year.

Applicants also need to provide proof of their financial stability and responsibility in order to qualify for their exams. This includes getting a credit report as well as proof that your state, local, and federal records were searched. Those with a FICO credit score lower than 660 need to submit a bond or irrevocable letter of credit. Some of this requirement can be covered by taking a financial responsibility course. Applicants also need to submit to a background check, as well as attest that they have purchased public liability and property damage insurance.

At this point, you need to pass state exams both on glazing as well as business. Relevant topics here include:

Glass and Glazing Test

  • -Preconstruction
  • -Fabricating glass
  • -Transporting glass
  • -Installation
  • -Repair/service

Business and Finance

  • -Establishing a business
  • -Managing trade operations
  • -Conducting accounting
  • -Complying with government regulations

One major point here is that you have up to 4 years after passing the state exam to get the experience needed to get your glass and glazing license. This can be useful for those who want to become a glazier, but can only do the education portions of preparing for the job at a given time due to recovering from an accident or something similar.

As a final note here, while licensure is only required in Connecticut and Florida, it may also be worth it to pursue voluntary certification. This can give you additional industry knowledge as well as helping you qualify for more jobs.

glass and glazing
Photo By Alex Ander

While you are working to get your glass and glazing license, these are some of the fundamentals that you should be thinking about. However, it’s also well worth it to do some additional work while you are new in the industry. Familiarizing yourself with project management software is a good starting point. This is so useful because every modern glass and glazing company is going to be using this both to track materials and teams, as well as monitor their financial status.

As a result, while it may not make sense money-wise for a new professional to buy project management software like eSub for themselves, they should start looking into the different types and learning about the interface. This will likely be a major component of their job work on a daily basis. In addition, you may also want to reconsider a job offer you get if you find that they aren’t using this technology. The company may be leaving money and time on the table if this is the case.