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Insulation Workers, Mechanical
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Description: what do they do?
Apply insulating materials to pipes or ductwork, or other mechanical systems in order to help control and maintain temperature.
Also known as:
Insulation Worker, Insulator, Mechanic Insulator, Mechanical Insulator, Insulation Installer, Insulation Mechanic, Insulation Helper, Industrial Insulator, Heat and Frost Insulator, Commercial Insulator

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Keeping out the winter chill… and staying cool inside when outdoor temperatures rise… insulation maintains conditions at the right temperature and humidity both for human comfort and safe operation of equipment. Insulation workers install and replace insulation materials for buildings and mechanical systems – to balance temperatures and save on energy. These workers remove old insulation and safely dispose of it. Using blueprints to guide their work, they use math skills to figure out the insulation needed, and to measure and cut it accurately. Insulation workers are skilled with both power and manual tools for cutting materials, welding fittings and stapling insulation in place. They work full time, spending much of the day on their feet, bending, or kneeling in confined spaces. When needed, they wear suits, masks, and respirators to protect against hazards. There are two types of insulation workers: Floor, ceiling, and wall insulators install insulation indoors— in attics, under floors, and behind walls in homes and other buildings. Most work for drywall and insulation contractors. These workers learn on the job— no formal education is required. Mechanical insulators apply insulation both indoors and outdoors to equipment, pipes, or duct work at commercial buildings. Most work for building equipment contractors, or drywall and insulation contractors. Mechanical insulation workers typically complete a 4-year apprenticeship after earning a high school diploma or equivalent.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
25,400
2018 Employment
27,600
2028 Employment
9%
Percent change
3,300
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016 (for states) or 2018 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2026 (for states) or 2028 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2016-26.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2018-28.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Insulation Workers, Mechanical in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$30,380
25%$36,860
Median$47,740
75%$64,070
90%$88,770


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • Apprenticeship

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Measure materials or objects for installation or assembly.
  • Cut carpet, vinyl or other flexible materials.
  • Remove worn, damaged or outdated materials from work areas.
  • Install insulation in equipment or structures.
  • Select construction materials.
  • Install metal structural components.
  • Review blueprints or specifications to determine work requirements.
  • Apply sealants or other protective coatings.
  • Prepare surfaces for finishing.
  • Apply adhesives to construction materials.
  • Load materials into construction equipment.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Finger Dexterity - Putting together small parts with your fingers.
  • Extent Flexibility - Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Gross Body Equilibrium - Keeping your balance or staying upright.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Measure and cut insulation for covering surfaces, using tape measures, handsaws, knives, and scissors.
  • Remove or seal off old asbestos insulation, following safety procedures.
  • Fit insulation around obstructions, and shape insulating materials and protective coverings as required.
  • Determine the amounts and types of insulation needed, and methods of installation, based on factors such as location, surface shape, and equipment use.
  • Install sheet metal around insulated pipes with screws to protect the insulation from weather conditions or physical damage.
  • Apply, remove, and repair insulation on industrial equipment, pipes, ductwork, or other mechanical systems such as heat exchangers, tanks, and vessels, to help control noise and maintain temperatures.
  • Select appropriate insulation, such as fiberglass, Styrofoam, or cork, based on the heat retaining or excluding characteristics of the material.
  • Read blueprints and specifications to determine job requirements.
  • Cover, seal, or finish insulated surfaces or access holes with plastic covers, canvas strips, sealants, tape, cement, or asphalt mastic.
  • Prepare surfaces for insulation application by brushing or spreading on adhesives, cement, or asphalt, or by attaching metal pins to surfaces.
  • Distribute insulating materials evenly into small spaces within floors, ceilings, or walls, using blowers and hose attachments or cement mortar.
  • Move controls, buttons, or levers to start blowers, and to regulate flow of materials through nozzles.
  • Fill blower hoppers with insulating materials.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.