Plasterer Kaiwhakapiri Uhi

Plasterers apply plaster or other materials to buildings. They usually specialise in either interior or exterior plastering.

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To carry out certain exterior plastering work you need to be a licensed plasterer as part of the Licensed Building Practitioners Scheme.

To get a licence, you need to prove your experience and have appropriate qualifications.

Plasterers may do some or all of the following:

  • advise clients on suitable products for their projects and prepare quotes for work
  • erect scaffolding (if it's less than five metres high)
  • clean and prepare surfaces for plastering
  • mix and apply plaster to surfaces
  • sand surfaces ready for painting
  • run their own business.

Physical Requirements

Plasterers need to:

  • be fit and healthy as their work can be physically demanding
  • have a strong back and arms, good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) and steady hands
  • be comfortable working at heights.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for plasterers includes any work in building or construction, especially as a plasterer's assistant.

Personal Qualities

Plasterers need to:

  • be careful, methodical and accurate, with an eye for detail
  • be able to follow instructions
  • have good problem-solving skills.


Plasterers need to have knowledge of:

  • plastering materials and equipment
  • plastering methods, such as how to prepare a surface and apply plaster
  • how to apply different flashing (to keep water out of building walls) and cladding systems (to provide insulation and weather resistance)
  • health and safety regulations.



  • usually work regular hours, but may work evenings and weekends
  • work on building sites and in buildings being renovated, where conditions may be noisy and dusty
  • may travel locally to job sites.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a plasterer. However, NCEA Level 2 maths, English and construction and mechanical technologies are useful.

Year 11 and 12 learners can find out more about the construction industry, and gain relevant skills, by doing National Certificates in Building, Construction and Allied Trades (Levels 1 and 2) through the BConstructive programme.

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Plasterers can earn around $23-$30 per hour.

Chances of getting a job as a Plasterer are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for plasterers varies depending on their employer, location and experience.

  • Apprentice plasterers may start on the training or adult minimum wage. The rate goes up as they gain experience and unit standards.
  • Plasterers without a qualification may start on minimum wage or a little more.
  • Plasterers can earn between $23 and $30 an hour. 

Those running their own business may earn more than this, but their income depends on the success of their business.

Sources: Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries of New Zealand; and Trade Me Jobs 2018. 

Plasterers may progress to set up their own plastering business.

Plasterers usually specialise as either one of:

Exterior or Solid Plasterer
Exterior or solid plasterers apply cement-based plaster or modified plaster to the ceilings, floors and inside and outside walls of buildings.
Interior or Fibrous Plasterer
Interior or fibrous plasterers plaster joints in walls or ceilings and coat them to make a paintable finish. They may also "fix" (secure) plasterboard to the inside framing of a building.

Years Of Training

1-3 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become a plasterer. However, you usually need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a National Certificate.

To become a qualified exterior plasterer you need to obtain one of the following qualifications:

  • National Certificate in Solid Plastering (Level 4)
  • National Certificate in Proprietary Plaster Cladding Systems (Level 4)

To become a qualified interior plasterer you need to obtain a National Certificate in interior systems (interior plastering) (Level 3 or 4).

The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) oversees plasterer apprenticeships.