Orientation to the Trade – Drywall – Module 45101-07

Orientation to the Trade – Drywall – Module 45101-07


Module ID 45101-07 – Reviews the history of the trade, shows examples of the work involved, describes the apprentice program, identifies career opportunities for construction workers, and lists the responsibilities and characteristics a worker should possess.

Points awarded on completion of the Module – 5

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The vast majority of homes and businesses in this country have used gypsum drywall panels as the finish for their walls and ceilings. This means that drywall installation and finishing mechanics will be needed on just about every building that will be constructed in the future. Drywall panels are usually applied directly to wood or steel framing members using screws or nails. In order to provide a smooth finished appearance, the joints between the drywall panels are finished with special tapes and finishing compounds. When a job has been finished by professional drywall mechanics, regardless of the number of panels used, the wall or ceiling will appear as though it is made from one single sheet. In order to achieve this level of competence, the drywall mechanic must be thoroughly trained in the use of specialized tools, materials, and techniques.


Learning Objective 1 – Successful completion of this module prepares trainees to:

Describe the history of the drywall trade.

Learning Objective 2 – Successful completion of this module prepares trainees to:

Identify the aptitudes, behaviors, and skills needed to be a successful drywall specialist.

Learning Objective 3 – Successful completion of this module prepares trainees to:

Identify the training opportunities within the drywall trade.

Learning Objective 4 – Successful completion of this module prepares trainees to:

Identify the career and entrepreneurial opportunities within the drywall trade.

Learning Objective 5 – Successful completion of this module prepares trainees to:

Identify the responsibilities of a person working in the construction industry.

Learning Objective 6 – Successful completion of this module prepares trainees to:

State the personal characteristics of a professional.

Learning Objective 7 – Successful completion of this module prepares trainees to:

Explain the importance of safety in the construction industry.

Performance Tasks

1. This is a knowledge-based module. There are no performance tasks

Trining Sections

Section One  – Introduction Kickoff Activities Try this icebreaker activity to help trainees know one another and become more comfortable: Partner Introductions. Have the trainees pair up and discuss why they have chosen the drywall trade and what they hope to do in the future. Have each trainee introduce the other to the class and why that person has chosen the drywall trade.

Section 1.0.0 Introduce the training program by explaining in Level One they will be learning about the materials used and the techniques needed to properly install and finish gypsum drywall panels. Briefly review the most common size of drywall panels and how they are installed. Review and clarify the trade terms: gypsum, studs, joists, and joint.

Discuss the NCCER apprenticeship program. Describe how it is a competency-based training program and what that means. Teaching Tip Provide some sample gypsum board for trainees to examine. Trainees may ask what gypsum is made from: gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral that can be mined or manufactured. This could be a good point to briefly review how the panels are made (first paragraph of section 3.0.0.)

Section Two – History of Drywall

Section 2.0.0 Discuss the history of drywall and how it was previously made. Review and clarify the trade terms: plaster and lath. Explain that other trades used to install and finish drywall; however, it has emerged into a specialized trade.

Section Three – Modern Drywall Work Sections 3.0.0 Describe a typical drywall panel. Describe 5⁄8-inch Type X drywall panels and explain how they are installed.

Review the trade term firestopping and explain how it relates to fire ratings. Identify specialized tools and materials frequently used by drywall specialists.

Explain how these tools and materials can be grouped into two main categories: tools to cut and install drywall, and tools and materials for drywall finishing. Refer to Figures 2-7 to briefly discuss the tools and materials needed to cut, install, and finish drywall.

Teaching Tip Provide some specialized tools frequently used by drywall specialists for trainees to examine. As each tool is examined, ask trainees to think about how the tool is used: for cutting and installation or for finishing.

Wrap Up Activities It is estimated that Sections 1-3 can be completed in about 60 minutes. Depending upon the length of your class sessions, this could be where you stop for the day, or take a short break. If this is the end of your session, a good class-ending activity is to ask the trainees to fill out an Exit Slip. Trainees spend 1-2 minutes answering a question. You can use index cards or small sheets of paper, and names can be optional if you wish. Ask the trainees to write down any questions they may have so far but didn’t want to ask in front of the class. At the beginning of the next class you can spend a few minutes addressing some of the questions. Speak in general terms: “I noticed several of you had questions about….” Ask that trainees with very specific questions of a personal situation to speak to you privately. If this is the end of the class session, remind the trainees to read

Section 4 before the next class.

Section Four – Opportunities in the Construction Industry

Section 4.0.0 Introduce this section by discussing how there will always be a continued need for trained construction workers. See the Teaching Tip below for a cooperative activity to discuss career opportunities in the construction industry.

Trainees will describe the various job classifications that are available for construction workers with increased experience and training, including journeymen, foremen, supervisors, project managers, estimators, and architects, as well as general contractors, construction managers, and contractor/ owners.

Explain that drywall mechanics will become knowledgeable about many trades and emphasize the importance of continued learning to keep skills current. Refer to Figure 9.

Identify other work often performed by drywall contractors.

Book Index

1.0.0   Introduction

2.0.0   History of Drywall

3.0.0   Modern Drywall Work

4.0.0   Opportunities in the Construction Industry

4.1.0   Formal Construction Training

4.2.0   Apprenticeship Program

4.2.1   Youth Apprenticeship Program

4.2.2   Apprenticeship Standards

4.3.0   Responsibilities of the Employee

4.3.1   Professi0nalism

4.3.2   Honesty

4.3.3   Loyalty

4.3.4   Willingness to Learn

4.3.5   Eillingness to Take Responsibility

4.3.6   Willingness to Cooperate

4.3.7   Rules and Regulations

4.3.8   Tardiness and Absenteeism

4.4.0   What You Should Expect from Your Employer

4.5.0   What You Should Expect from a Training Program

4.6.0   What You Should Expect from the Apprenticeship Committee

5.0.0   Human Relatins

5.1.0   Making Human Relations Work

5.2.0   Human Relations and Productivity

5.3.0   Attitude

5.4.0   Maintaining a Positive Attitude

6.0.0   Employer and Employee Safety Obligations

45101-07  Review Questions

Trade Terms

Firestopping, Gypsum, Joint, Joists, Lath, Plaster, Studs

Student Notes

Notes for Students

Public Schools

Notes for Public Schools

Private Schools

Notes for Private Schools

Advisory Committees

Notes for Advisory Committees

Home Schools

Notes for Home Schools



Professional Company Training Programs


Instructors Notes


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