What is a Plasterer?

A Plasterer is a skilled tradesperson who specializes in applying plaster or other finishing materials to walls, ceilings, and floors in buildings. They play a crucial role in creating smooth and attractive surfaces for both interior and exterior spaces. In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of plastering, exploring what plasterers do, how to become one, potential earnings, career prospects, and related opportunities in the United Kingdom.

What Does a Plasterer Do?

Plasterers are responsible for various types of plastering work, including:

Solid Plastering

  • Applying plaster or cement to internal and external walls, ceilings, and floors.

Fibrous Plastering

  • Crafting ornamental plasterwork used in decorative ceilings and interior design.


  • Constructing walls or partitions using plasterboard and then applying plaster to create a smooth surface, preparing it for decoration.

Plasterers often work as part of a team, collaborating with other construction trades to ensure projects are completed efficiently and to high standards.

How to Become a Plasterer

Becoming a Plasterer typically involves completing an apprenticeship and gaining the necessary qualifications. Here’s a step-by-step guide to becoming a skilled Plasterer:

Entry Requirements

  • To enter the plastering industry, you can serve an apprenticeship. To be eligible for the Construction Apprenticeship Scheme (CAS), you’ll need some GCSEs/National 5s in English, Maths, and Design and Technology, along with an employer to sponsor your training.
  • Alternatively, you can start as a plasterer’s “mate” or labourer, where formal qualifications may not be required, but some employers prefer candidates with on-site experience.

Apprenticeship Training

  • Apprenticeships are available at both Intermediate and Advanced Levels, providing structured training programs leading to an NVQ/SVQ Level 3 qualification.
  • Apprentices can choose from various plastering specializations, such as solid plastering, fibrous plastering, or dry lining. These programs are validated by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and typically last 2-4 years in England and Wales, and 4 years in Scotland.
  • Most of the training occurs on the job while attending college to obtain qualifications like NVQs/SVQs in Plastering (Levels 1-3) or the City & Guilds Certificate in Basic Construction Skills – Plastering (6217-04). If you’re interested in repairing and conserving historic buildings, you can also pursue an NVQ Level 3 in Heritage Skills (Construction).

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Card

  • Plasterers working on construction sites must obtain a CSCS card as proof of their competency on-site.
  • To qualify for a CSCS card, you’ll need to have obtained or be working towards a formal qualification, such as an NVQ.

Working Conditions

Plasterers work in a variety of settings and conditions depending on the type of plastering they specialize in:

  • Solid/Drylining: This work is mostly indoors, although exterior work may require outdoor tasks. Plasterers typically work from ladders and scaffolding.
  • Fibrous Plastering: Most fibrous plasterers work in workshops but may also install their work on-site.
  • All plastering work involves adhering to health and safety regulations, including wearing appropriate protective gear. Plasterers may work standard hours, although early starts, late finishes, and weekend work may be required.

Plasterer Salary

Plasterer salaries can vary based on experience, specialization, and location. Here’s a general salary range for plasterers:

  • Trainees can earn around £14,000-£18,000 per year.
  • Qualified plasterers with experience can expect salaries in the range of £18,000-£25,000.
  • Highly skilled and experienced plasterers may earn upwards of £30,000 per year.
  • Additional earnings can come from overtime, shift allowances, and performance-based bonuses. Self-employed plasterers set their own rates of pay.

Career Prospects and Progression

Plasterers have several avenues for career progression:

  • As you gain experience, you can advance to roles like surveyor, senior surveyor, or even become an associate or partner with several years of expertise.
  • In the public sector, enhancing your career prospects may involve obtaining a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) qualification or specializing in a specific area of surveying, such as regeneration, conservation, or land management.
  • Plasterers can also diversify into related areas within the construction industry, such as tiling, estimating, or site management. Some may choose to become self-employed or explore contract work opportunities overseas.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Working as a plasterer has its own set of advantages and disadvantages:


  • Plasterers enjoy varied work opportunities and may have the chance to travel both within the UK and abroad.
  • Weekend work is uncommon, and there’s flexibility for additional hours if needed.
  • Plasterers have the satisfaction of creating visually appealing and durable surfaces.


  • Working at heights may be challenging for some individuals.
  • Plasterers must adhere to strict health and safety regulations, and the work environment can sometimes be dusty and allergenic.

Related Opportunities

If you’re interested in the construction and property development industry, you might also explore related career opportunities:

  • Building Technician: Specializing in various aspects of building and construction.
  • Mastic Asphalter: Focusing on the application of mastic asphalt in construction projects.
  • Wall/Floor Tiler: Specializing in tiling surfaces for both functional and decorative purposes.

Further Information

For more information on pursuing a career as a Plasterer, you can explore resources from the following organizations:

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