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Ceiling Fixer

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Ceiling Fixer

The Work

As a ceiling fixer you would fit suspended ceilings in buildings to hide pipework, wiring and heating or air conditioning systems. Most of your work would be on new or refurbished commercial developments such as offices, shops and factories. You might also work on projects like new hospitals, schools and indoor arenas.

On a typical job, you would follow technical drawings and written instructions to complete the work. Your tasks would include:

  • setting out, cutting and fixing the aluminium framework to support the new ceiling
  • checking that the framework is horizontal, using spirit, laser or water levels
  • fitting ceiling panels to the framework
  • cutting and shaping panels to fit around lights and other fixtures.

You would use various hand and power tools and work from access platforms, ladders or scaffolding.

You may also fit insulation materials into the ceiling space before installing the panels. On some jobs, you may be involved with fitting relocatable dry lining wall and floor partitions, and raised flooring.


Hours and Environment

You would usually work 39 hours a week, full time. Overtime, including weekends may be available, and temporary contracts are also common.

You would be based indoors, often at heights and in cramped and confined spaces. For most jobs, you would be expected to wear a protective hard hat, overalls and boots.

Skills and Interests

  • the ability to follow technical plans and instructions
  • good practical skills
  • the ability to work accurately and neatly
  • maths skills for measuring areas and calculating amounts
  • good fitness levels
  • the ability to work in a team or on your own
  • good time management skills
  • an awareness of health and safety issues.


You could apply directly to companies to find work as a trainee. Some employers may ask for GCSEs (A-C), such as English, maths, and design and technology, or equivalent vocational qualifications like the BTEC Introductory Certificate/Diploma in Construction.

You may be able to get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme with a building or ceiling fixing company. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit

Alternatively, you could take an Intermediate or Advanced Construction Award at a local college to learn some of the skills needed. Contact ConstructionSkills or your local college for more information.

General construction experience as a labourer or as a tradesperson may give you an advantage when looking for work.

For general information on construction careers and qualifications, visit the ConstructionSkills website .


You would normally receive on-the-job training with day or block release at a local college or training provider. Your employer may also encourage you to take NVQ Level 2 in Interior Systems.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Many building contractors now insist that you have a CSCS card to work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and competence. To get your card you must:

  • pass a health and safety assessment
  • have an NVQ or equivalent qualification.

If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) to get your NVQ and card. Contact CSCS or SkillsDirect for further details.


Most job opportunities are likely to be with companies that specialise in fitting suspended ceilings in commercial premises. You can find vacancies in the local press, Jobcentre Plus, Directgov (Jobseekers page) or by applying direct to companies.

Your promotion options include moves into supervisory and site management. With experience, you could set up your own business.

Annual Income

  • Trainee ceiling fixers can earn up to 13,000 a year, depending on the stage of training.
  • Qualified ceiling fixers can earn between 16,000 and 22,000.
  • Experienced ceiling fixers can earn up to 27,000 a year.

Overtime, shift allowances and bonuses increase these amounts. Self-employed ceiling fixers negotiate their own rates.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.
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