Floor, Ceiling, and Wall Insulation Workers
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Line and cover structures with insulating materials. May work with batt, roll, or blown insulation materials.
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Responsibilities and activities

Insulators typically do the following:

  • Remove and dispose of old insulation
  • Review blueprints and specifications to determine the amount and type of insulation needed
  • Measure and cut insulation to fit into walls and around pipes
  • Secure insulation with staples, tape, or screws
  • Use air compressors to spray foam insulation
  • Install plastic barriers to protect insulation from moisture

Insulators install and replace the material that saves energy and helps reduce noise in buildings and around vats, vessels, boilers, steam pipes, and water pipes. Insulators also install fire-stopping materials to prevent the spread of a fire and smoke throughout a building.

Insulators often must remove old insulation when renovating buildings. In the past, asbestos—now known to cause cancer—was used extensively to insulate walls, ceilings, pipes, and industrial equipment. Because of the health risks associated with handling asbestos, hazardous materials removal workers or specially trained insulators must remove asbestos before workers begin installing new insulation.

Insulators use common handtools, such as knives, trowels, and scissors. They also may use a variety of power tools, such as welders to secure clamps, staple guns to fasten insulation to walls, and air compressors to spray insulation.

Insulators sometimes wrap a cover of aluminum, sheet metal, or plastic over the insulation. Doing so protects the insulation from contact damage and keeps moisture out.

Floor, ceiling, and wall insulators install insulation in attics, under floors, and behind walls in homes and other buildings. To fill the space between wall studs and ceiling joists, workers either unroll, cut, fit, and staple batts of insulation or spray foam insulation.

Mechanical insulators apply insulation to equipment, pipes, or ductwork in many types of buildings.

Median salary: $41,690 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $33,300 and $54,500.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for insulation workers
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Floor, Ceiling, and Wall Insulation Workers
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Contaminants (79%)
  • Time Pressure (78%)
  • Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites (77%)
  • High Places (69%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health (64%)
  • Hazardous Equipment (46%)
  • High Conflict Frequency (38%)
  • Consequence of Error (37%)
  • Hazardous Conditions (35%)
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Floor, Ceiling, and Wall Insulation Workers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
Ability to work at heights
Insulators may be required to work high on ladders or scaffolds to install or remove insulation. 
To install insulation, insulators often must reach overhead, sometimes while confined in spaces where maneuvering is difficult.
Math skills
Insulators need to measure the equipment or areas they are insulating and to calculate the amount and dimensions of insulation needed.
Mechanical skills
Insulators must be adept at using a variety of handtools and power tools to install insulation.
Physical stamina
Insulators spend much of the workday standing, kneeling, and bending in uncomfortable positions.
Physical strength
Insulators may be required to lift or carry up to 50 pounds of tools or materials. 
Injury and Illness
About 262 floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers become injured or ill for every 10,000 workers, making this job more dangerous than 96% of other careers. The most common specific illnesses or injuries are detailed following.
All multiple traumatic injuries
Sprains, strains, tears
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers typically hold no formal educational credential.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as insulation workers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers

There are no specific education requirements for floor, ceiling, and wall insulators. Apprenticeships for mechanical insulators typically require a high school diploma or equivalent. High school courses in subjects such as math, mechanical drawing, and science are helpful for all types of insulators.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers

Insulation workers who remove and handle asbestos must be trained through programs accredited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some states require a license for asbestos abatement. Check with your state for more information. Mechanical insulators who complete an apprenticeship through the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers may receive this license as part of their apprenticeship. 

The National Insulation Association offers a certification for mechanical insulators who conduct energy appraisals to determine if and how insulation can benefit industrial customers. Mechanical insulators also may receive certification in other job duties, such as fire stopping

Education level of Insulation Workers
Only 4% of insulation workers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by insulation workers
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
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Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Insulation Workers per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for insulation workers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for insulation workers.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which insulation workers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Insulation Workers (ACS for all specialties)
6% of Insulation workers are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 6% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 71% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of insulation workers by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$39K$39K$29K$41K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedPrivate for-profitAll
Insulation workers and gender
With 4% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 89% of careers.
Gender of Insulation workers
Men (96%)
Women (4%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for insulation workers tops that, with the median salary for men 55% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Insulation workers
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Insulation workers.
Race/origin of insulation workers
White (74% )
Other (13% )
Black (7% )
Hispanic (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
American Indian (1% )
Asian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.