California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

   Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall in California

May also be called: Installers; Insulation Estimators; Insulation Installers; Insulation Mechanics; Insulators; Retrofit Installers; Warehouse Insulation Workers

What Would I Do?

Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall* install insulation in residential and commercial buildings. Insulation Installers may work in existing buildings performing retrofitting projects or installing insulation in newly constructed buildings in order to meet minimum building standards. Insulation Installers work with three different types of insulation materials: blow, batt, and roll. Blow insulation is installed with a compressor hose machine. The Installer sprays areas with loose insulation materials while a helper feeds the machine with fiberglass, cellulose, or rock-wool loose insulation materials. Batt and roll insulation come in precut strips that fit into standard wall frames, attics, or ceilings.

Green Economy

Insulation Workers could play an important role in the emerging green economy. They will assist with energy conservation by improving the efficiency of heating and air conditioning systems. Through proper insulation techniques, buildings will be able to maintain comfortable temperatures while minimizing the use of heating and air systems – reducing energy consumption and energy bills.


Insulation Workers use common hand tools, such as trowels, brushes, scissors, saws, pliers, and staple guns. They may use power saws to cut insulating materials, welding machines to join metal or secure clamps, and compressors to blow or spray insulation.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

*This product was partially funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The information contained in this product was created by a grantee organization and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. All references to non-governmental companies or organizations, their services, products, or resources are offered for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Department of Labor. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it and is intended for individual organizational, non-commercial use only.

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Read blueprints and select appropriate insulation, based on space characteristics and the heat retaining or excluding characteristics of the material.Building and Construction
Cover and line structures with blown or rolled forms of materials to insulate against cold, heat, or moisture, using saws, knives, rasps, trowels, blowers, and other tools and implements.Arm-Hand Steadiness
Measure and cut insulation for covering surfaces, using tape measures, handsaws, power saws, knives, or scissors.Production and Processing
Fit, wrap, staple, or glue insulating materials to structures or surfaces, using hand tools or wires.Multilimb Coordination
Remove old insulation such as asbestos, following safety procedures.Judgment and Decision Making
Cover, seal, or finish insulated surfaces or access holes with plastic covers, canvas strips, sealants, tape, cement or asphalt mastic.Information Ordering
Distribute insulating materials evenly into small spaces within floors, ceilings, or walls, using blowers and hose attachments, or cement mortars.Monitoring
Prepare surfaces for insulation application by brushing or spreading on adhesives, cement, or asphalt, or by attaching metal pins to surfaces.Stamina
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Insulation Workers usually work indoors after residential and commercial buildings have been constructed. Unlike other construction occupations, the work of Insulation Workers is not affected by weather conditions since their work is performed indoors. Installers need to be able to work in confined spaces and be able to climb and stand on ladders for long periods of time while applying blow insulation with a hose or use a staple gun or other types of hand tools to secure insulation materials. Insulation Installers are often required to purchase their own tools and equipment. Their work usually requires more coordination than strength.

Insulation Workers may wrap pipes with insulation in order to prevent heat loss or rupturing during periods of cold weather. Wrapping pipes with insulation may bring the Installer into contact with hot pipes that could cause discomfort or burns. During renovation projects, removing older insulation from existing structures may be necessary. Older insulation may contain asbestos, a known cause of cancer in humans. Due to the potential exposure to asbestos, Installers must use caution and if certified to remove asbestos, must remove the hazardous material before new insulation is installed.

When insulation is being installed, minute particles can become airborne and cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and, if inhaled, to the respiratory system. In order to protect themselves from insulation irritants, Installers need to follow strict safety procedures, such as keeping areas well ventilated; wearing protective suit, masks, and respirators; and taking decontamination showers when necessary. Insulation Installers typically work 8- to 12-hour shifts, although longer shifts are common when nearing a project completion date. Installers are often required to purchase their own tools and equipment.

Many Insulation Workers belong to the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Insulation Workers may appeal to those who enjoy working on projects that require practical, hands-on problems and solutions. This occupation may interest those who are attentive to detail and thorough in completing work tasks. This occupation does not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages for Insulation Workers differ widely depending on job duties, work experience, and location of the work. Workers in large cities usually earn higher wages than those who work in smaller towns and rural areas.


The median wage in 2016 for Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall in California is $44,040 annually, or $21.17 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


Benefit packages vary widely from company to company. Insulation Workers generally receive health insurance, vacation, sick leave, and holiday pay. The type of benefit package is determined by company policy or union contract. Self-employed Installers are responsible for purchasing their own benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

With the increased focus on energy efficiency and the overall reduction of energy use, it is expected that there may be increased opportunities for Insulation Installers. However, like many other construction workers, employment is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. Workers in these trades may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall are expected to increase by 40.0 percent, or 600 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 50 new job openings per year is expected for Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall, plus an additional 50 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 100 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Most employers prefer to hire applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers are willing to train entry-level helpers on the job. However, completion of a formal apprenticeship, trade, or vocational training program enhances employment opportunities.


The amount and type of work experience required varies from company to company. Before entering an Insulation Workers apprenticeship program, applicants must have six months experience in construction.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation courses in English, Spanish, mathematics, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and wood and metal shop are helpful for students interested in Insulation Installer occupations.


Formal apprenticeship programs require applicants to be at least 18 years of age. A high school diploma or equivalent is required along with six months experience in the construction field. Applicants must be physically able to perform all phases of the work, which includes climbing up ladders while carrying equipment. Apprenticeship opportunities are available through the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers.


Those who transport hazardous materials in California must have a commercial driver license with a HazMat (hazardous materials) endorsement, which can be obtained through testing at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. To obtain or renew a HazMat endorsement, applicants must pass a background check or security threat assessment through the Transportation Security Administration. Transporters of hazardous waste must also hold a valid registration from the Department of Toxic Substances, which is renewable each year.

To become a Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Worker, candidates must obtain a federal license as mandated by the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employers are responsible for providing employees with a formal 40-hour training program, given either in house or in OSHA-approved training centers. Contractors need to obtain a Hazardous Substances Removal Certification from the Contractors State License Board if they work with asbestos or hazardous substance removal.

Individuals working as employees work under the license of the employer-contractor. Insulation Workers entering self-employment as Insulation Installer Contractors must have at least four years of journey-level work experience. They must also pass a written exam and a fingerprint background check to obtain their license. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site at and scroll down to "Career Tools." Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information.Click on the license title below for details.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Building Finishing Contractors 82.7%
Employment Services 1.2%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through registration with temporary employment agencies and through classified advertisements in newspapers, trade publications, and Internet job listings. Union members generally search for work by registering with their local hiring hall. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall.

  • Asbestos Detection and Removal Services
  • Insulation Contractors
  • Insulation Contractors Equipment and Supplies

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Insulation Workers generally begin their careers as helpers and advance to full journey level after several years of experience. From there, Insulation Workers may move up to foreman or supervisor. In larger firms, an Insulation Installer may become an estimator. Some Insulation Installers become contractors and open their own businesses.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall with links to more information.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile InstallersGuide
Floor Layers, Except Carpet, Wood, and Hard TilesProfile

Other Sources

  • California Department of Consumer Affairs
  • California Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board
  • California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health
  • International Association of Heat and Frost and Allied Workers
  • National Insulation Association
  • North American Insulation Manufacturers Association

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification47-2131
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall47-2131.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)RCE
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Construction Trades, Other 469999
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Public Works210210