Insulation workers
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Floor, Ceiling, and Wall Insulation Workers
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Overview
Insulation workers, also called insulators, install and replace the materials used to insulate buildings and their mechanical systems.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers are expected to grow by 1%, and should have about 3,300 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers are more likely to be automated than 64% of other careers.
Workforce size
Floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers, with 30,900 workers, form a smaller workforce than 63% of careers.
Education
Only 3% of insulation workers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by insulation workers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer insulation workers have bachelor's degrees than 95% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 68% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers.
This job's median $38KAll jobs' median $39K$36K$38K20142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 4% of insulation workers -- that's a smaller percentage than 88% of other jobs.
Gender of insulation workers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For insulation workers, the median men's salary was 45% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 12% of insulation workers are minority, and 34% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of insulation workers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (34%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Floor, Ceiling, and Wall Insulation Workers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 28% of insulation workers, and 49% have company-sponsored health insurance (20% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for insulation workers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
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%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (77%)
  • Exposed to High Places (69%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (64%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (46%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (38%)
  • Consequence of Error (37%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions (35%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do insulation workers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group insulation workers, which combines the data for 2 careers, including floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data is classified by SOC specialty, and excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers (BLS Salary Data)
$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. Additionally, we only have ACS survey data for the larger career category and not for the specialty level. We first show the full salary distribution for all insulation workers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for insulation workers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for insulation workers (ACS Salary Data)
$37K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$37K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Insulation workers (ACS)
Private for-profit (92.0%)
Private not-for-profit (1.3%)
Local government (0.6%)
State government (0.5%)
Federal government (1.7%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.6%)
Self-employed not incorporated (2.3%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of insulation workers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of insulation workers, which combines the 2 specialties for this career.
$37K$29K$37K$36K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Self-employed not incorporatedPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$38K$38K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000PrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for insulation workers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$22K$36K$43K$39K$42K$40K$37K$41K$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
02K4K6K8KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Insulation workers and gender

With 4% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 88% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
4%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Insulation workers
Men (96%)
Women (4%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%, and the difference for insulation workers tops that, with the median salary for men 45% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$25K$37K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Insulation workers have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 95% of other jobs.

45%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of insulation workers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority insulation workers than for 86% of other careers. Although this career does not include a large percentage of minorities, it does hire more foreign-born people that most other careers.

Race/origin of insulation workers
White (75% )
Other (13% )
Black (6% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (2% )
American Indian (1% )
Asian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
12%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
34%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for insulation workers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$31K$32K$39K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KBlackOtherWhite
Distribution: Salaries for insulation workers by nativity
$35K$39K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
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. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for insulation workers.

Education attained by insulation workers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers

There are no specific education requirements for floor, ceiling, and wall insulators. Mechanical insulators should have a high school diploma. High school courses in basic math, woodworking, mechanical drawing, algebra, and general science are considered 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 a program accredited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The National Insulation Association offers a certification for mechanical insulators who conduct energy appraisals to determine if and how insulation can benefit industrial customers.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for insulation workers? Below we see the distribution of insulation workers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as insulation workers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$31K$37K$43K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KNone (27%)High School (46%)Some College (18%)Bachelor's Degree (2%)
Certificate/degree pathways
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for insulation workers

What jobs will most insulation workers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of insulation workers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Insulation workersConstruction laborersCarpentersHand laborers and freight, stock, and material moversFirst-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workersManagers (specialized areas)Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installersProduction workersPipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfittersInstallation, maintenance, and repair workersEngineers (specialized areas)Assemblers and fabricators (specialized areas)Agricultural ManagersChemical processing machine setters and operatorsEducation, training, and library workers (specialized areas)
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for insulation workers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 7 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as insulation workers as well as 1% of respondents after working as insulation workers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for insulation workers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Construction laborers
153,300
$0$200K$30K
Carpenters
113,800
$0$200K$34K
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
70,600
$0$200K$56K
Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
68,500
$0$200K$44K
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers
39,100
$0$200K$43K
Production workers
37,400
$0$200K$32K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for insulation workers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as insulation workers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of insulation workers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for insulation workers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Retail salespersons
676,200
$0$200K$31K
1.8%
Secretaries and administrative assistants
395,200
$0$200K$36K
1.3%
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
376,900
$0$200K$41K
2.4%
Cooks
358,700
$0$200K$21K
1.4%
Construction laborers
153,300
$0$200K$30K
5.6%
Carpenters
113,800
$0$200K$34K
1.7%
Food preparation and serving workers
89,600
$0$200K$20K
1.1%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
2.3%
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
70,600
$0$200K$56K
2.4%
Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
68,500
$0$200K$44K
1.6%
Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks
67,300
$0$200K$31K
1.4%
Cleaners of vehicles and equipment
58,500
$0$200K$23K
1.2%
Welding, soldering, and brazing workers
51,000
$0$200K$39K
2.2%
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers
39,100
$0$200K$43K
1.4%
Production workers
37,400
$0$200K$32K
1.3%
Construction managers
34,800
$0$200K$66K
2.9%
Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics
33,200
$0$200K$50K
1.2%
Science technicians
24,800
$0$200K$41K
1.5%
Drywall and ceiling tile installers
13,400
$0$200K$29K
3.4%
Insulation workers
6,800
$0$200K$37K
49.4%
Read about floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers
Responsibilities and activities
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

Insulated buildings save energy by keeping heat in during the winter and out in the summer. Insulated vats, vessels, boilers, steam pipes, and water pipes prevent the loss of heat or cold and prevent burns. In addition, insulation helps reduce noise that passes through walls and ceilings.

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 this danger, hazardous materials removal workers or specially trained insulators are required to remove asbestos before workers can begin installation.

Insulators use common hand tools, such as knives and scissors. They also may use a variety of power tools, such as power saws to cut insulating materials, 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 vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) 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. Most of these workers unroll, cut, fit, and staple batts of fiberglass insulation between wall studs and ceiling joists. Alternatively, some workers spray foam insulation with a compressor hose into the space being filled.

Mechanical insulators apply insulation to equipment, pipes, or ductwork in businesses, factories, and many other types of buildings. When insulating a steam pipe, for example, they consider the diameter, thickness, and temperature of the pipe in determining the type of insulation to be used.

Personality and skills
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.

Dexterity
Insulators often reach above their heads to install insulation, sometimes in confined spaces, where maneuvering can be difficult.
Math skills
Mechanical insulators need to measure the size of the equipment or pipe they are insulating to determine the amount and dimensions of insulation needed.
Mechanical skills
Insulators use a variety of hand and power tools to install insulation. Those who apply foam insulation, for example, must be able to operate and maintain an air compressor and sprayer to spread the foam onto walls or across attics.
Physical stamina
Insulators spend much of the workday standing, kneeling, and bending in uncomfortable positions.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 68% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $38KAll jobs' median $39K$40K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers are anticipated to grow by 1% over the next decade; 76% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030010,00020,00030,00040,00050,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
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.

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.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all insulation workers, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Floor, Ceiling, and Wall Insulation Workers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.8
Salary
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.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all insulation workers, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Median salary ratio: Floor, Ceiling, and Wall Insulation Workers to all workers (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which floor, ceiling, and wall insulation workers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio 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
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Insulation workers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
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Knowledge
Physical Abilities
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