How to become a tiler

There is something very satisfying about transforming an ugly space into a beautiful one, and this can certainly be said for tiling. When you see the difference between a bare room, with concrete walls and the tiled result, you can definitely be proud of what you have done. If you enjoy practical work and take satisfaction from building something lasting and beautiful. Then, why not become a tiler. As a tiler, you spend your days preparing surfaces and carefully laying tiles so they are straight and level. You calculate the volume of tiles and plan the start point so you get the best aesthetic look. You are usually carrying out your work for a domestic or commercial client so if you enjoy working with people, this will help you succeed. 

If you think this rewarding work sounds perfect for you and appeals to your interests, then, why not keep reading to find out more. We have courses, advice and lots of helpful resources to get you started.

Step one: Choose a course

To kick off your career as a tiler you need to begin with a vocational course. Tiling is a practical skill, but you also need some industry and calculation knowledge.  Taking a course will teach you what you need to know and give you a good start once you begin to look for work.

Step two: Apply for your Construction Induction Card

Anyone who will work in construction needs to apply for a construction induction card before they begin work. This ruling applies across the whole of Australia. In addition, you may want to consider joining a local professional tiling association. Joining an association can open up a large network of professionals and potentially help you find work. Or at the very least increase your standing in the eyes of potential employers.

Step three: Look for your first job

Now you are ready to apply for your first job. Experts predict strong growth in tiling over the next five years. When applying for opportunities remember to tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Don’t forget to include your qualifications, personal strengths, and any relevant experience you have.

Step four: Consider a specialisation

After you have gained experience as a tiler there are a number of specialisations you can consider. Firstly, you can think about focusing on working with just one kind of tile, or a particular location. Or secondly, you could use your skills as groundwork for taking a new direction and learning new skills. Here are three specialisations you could pursue.

Tiling with Tessellated Tiles

They used tessellated tiles, in Australia, in the Federation and Victorian era’s. This particular kind of tile requires special knowledge to lay well. As the tile becomes more popular in homes, the people who can lay it are increasingly in demand. To work in this field, you need to learn how to lay the tile and the particular popular historical patterns and styles.


In this specialisation, you work with different stones to build walls, buildings, lay floors and more. To become a stonemason you would need to pursue further training to learn skills you need. However, your knowledge and experience working with tiles and cement will act as an excellent foundation.

Self Employed Tiler

Once you have experience as a tiler, you can consider starting your own business and work on a freelance basis. You can take on contracts as a private contractor. Or look for domestic clients to work for directly. To run your own business you will need to learn some administration and managerial skills. You can consider studying a relevant business or administration course, which will prepare you for setting up on your own.

What do Tilers Do?

As a tiler, your primary role is to lay tiles. You usually choose from a selection of different materials, colours, and textures. Then, you prepare the surface and mix adhesive or cement and lay the tiles. There are different styles and methods of laying according to the tiles you are using and the room you are working in. Some tiles require grouting or you lay some very tight together with no grout. Importantly, you need to communicate with your client to understand the brief and work with them to choose the products. You also need to calculate the number of tiles you will need. The finished product should have an even surface, level edges and have a sealant applied if applicable.


  • Cutting and shaping tiles
  • Removing old tiles and preparing surfaces
  • Mixing and applying cement and adhesives
  • Waterproofing and grouting tiles

Skills for Success

To work successfully as a tiler you will need a good steady hand and enjoy physical work. Tiling requires you to lay the tiles straight along the laying line as well as with a flat surface, so the result is smooth. This is a skill which you need to develop. Importantly, you need to listen to your clients so you understand the brief and can follow their instructions. Furthermore, you need to communicate well with them, so they understand what you will (and won’t) be doing for them. In order to accurately calculate the volume of materials needed, you should have basic maths skills. Sometimes, you will work in tight or uncomfortable spaces, so you shouldn’t mind some discomfort at work. Think of it as a challenge, not an inconvenience! 

Skills and attributes

  • Pays attention to detail
  • A good eye for design
  • Solid hand-eye coordination
  • Enjoy practical work
  • Able to communicate well
  • Basic maths skills
  • Comfortable working in small spaces or at heights

How Much Do Tilers make in Australia?

In Australia, a tiler earns a median wage of $54,506 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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