Are you interested in what goes on behind the scenes of advertising? There are many different moving parts that go into creating banners, signs, and other print marketing tools. The sign technician or sign installer is one of the professionals who help take the final product from the printer to the side of a building, a billboard, or another location. These experts understand how to safely transport signs of all sizes, correctly install them, and repair them if they’re damaged. Mounting signs to billboards, poles, the exterior of buildings, and other surfaces aren’t quite as straightforward as it may seem, especially if it’s a large sign that could injure people or damage property if it were to fall.
Installing and repairing signs can be a fun and exciting career that lets you learn more about various businesses and organizations in your city. The people you meet and the connections you forge can lead to lifelong friendships. If you’re interested in what it takes to be a sign installer, here’s a little bit about the career and why it might be the right fit for you.
What Will You Do as a Sign Installer?
Sign Installers, quite simply, install signs for commercial and industrial companies. They mount signs, prepare surfaces for sign installation, and repair signs that have already been installed. They also remove old signs to make way for new ones. Sign installers may work with tools such as cutting torches, power tools, sandblasters, and other hand tools. Some may work with computer-controlled routers and other tools to create the signs or to prepare signs for installation by creating holes for hanging. Having welding experience is also often required since you may have to transport signs in parts and then wield them together before installing them.
Because you’ll be hanging signs from the sides of buildings, billboards, poles, and other locations, you’ll need to be prepared to work from a crane truck, ladder, or scaffolding. If you have a fear of heights, this may not necessarily be the career for you. You’ll spend a reasonable amount of time off the ground. However, you’ll also use safety equipment, so there’s no risk of falling.
You may have to do many other tasks as part of the sign installation process. You may need to paint some signs or do touchups after installation. You may need to know how to create signs or how to run electricity to a sign. Knowing how to apply vinyl to various materials can also be a great skill to have. It all depends on the company you work for and the number of people on staff. However, the more of these duties you can do, the more marketable you’ll be.
What Education Will You Need?
Knowing your way around power tools is a must for any sign installer. It’s also helpful to know how to weld and operate bucket trucks. In fact, many sign installers have their commercial driver’s licenses to drive these large vehicles and other types of crane trucks. You may also need to be certified to drive a forklift for loading signs. Being able to operate heavy machinery is certainly a plus.
If you want to work for a business where sign technicians also create signs, you’ll need to study how CNC routers and other tools work. Programming these machines to cut the materials for signs is often done inside, so you may not always be outdoors doing the installation.
You don’t necessarily need a college degree to be a sign technician as far as formal education. No education or certification is often needed, though a welding or CNC certification certainly helps. Many Santa Rosa sign technician jobs allow you to learn as you go, so all you need is a willingness to learn. That said, a graphic design degree can be helpful if you want to eventually move into designing signs instead of installing them.
What Skills Will Help Sign Installers Further their Careers?
Having certain skills can be invaluable to sign technicians, especially if you want to advance your career. One invaluable skill is thinking on your feet and troubleshooting issues. While sign installation may seem fairly straightforward, unexpected issues can come up every now and then. You’ll need to be able to identify the problem, consider possible solutions, and select the right one to complete the installation quickly and, most importantly, safely. This means you’ll need to know how to do a basic sign installation, but you may also need to know some things about different exterior building materials, electrical systems, and more. Being able to troubleshoot will also help you repair damaged signs.
Sign installation is also a fairly physical industry, and you’ll need to be able to lift and carry fairly heavy signs and other items. A good portion of your work may be outside in crane buckets or ladders. Having good balance and good hand-eye coordination is necessary to complete your tasks safely. Being detail-oriented and spotting slight misalignments or miscoloring in the final product will also come in handy.
It also helps to be familiar with many different types of printers and other tools. Knowing how to use a Roland printer cutter, for example, is a very helpful skill to have in this industry. Ask if you don’t have experience with certain tools but would like to learn. Many employers like their team members to understand different areas of the business.
Who Will You Work With?
Good communication skills are also essential because you will likely work directly with customers during the installation process. You’ll need to be able to discuss the client’s needs and work with them to complete the installation to their satisfaction. You’ll need to communicate any special needs to the printer and others in the company. You may need to work with an electrician or other contractors who may be involved with the event or work at the location where the sign is being installed.
If you’re not creating the signs yourself, you’ll need to be able to communicate specific needs to your co-workers who do run the CNC cutters and printers. If there’s a problem, you may serve as the go-between between them and the client. Being able to clearly state a problem, work with the necessary people involved to create a solution, and then implement that solution is one of the most important parts of the job.
You’ll likely work with at least one other person in cases involving large signs and banners. You’ll need to be able to communicate effectively and work together in order to install the sign easily and without difficulty successfully. Knowing how to take direction, especially early in your career when you’re still learning how to install signs, will help you succeed at your job.
Is This the Job for You?
Is being a sign installer or sign technician the right job for you? There is a sense of pride in installing a giant banner that hangs down the side of a building. You can step back, take it in, and know that you’re the one who put it there. Every time you pass by, you’ll be reminded of the great work you did. You may have funny stories to share about some of the signs you install or feel particularly satisfied with how one difficult installation turned out.
This is a physical job. You’ll be working with your hands and will be outdoors often. You’ll need to be able to lift heavy items and be able to hold power tools steady enough to accomplish your tasks.
How Do You Become a Sign Installer?
Becoming a sign installer is as simple as finding and applying for jobs with few educational requirements. To boost your chances of landing a job, you may want to pursue a welding certification or even an electrician’s license. Getting hands-on experience with different power tools, printers, and other equipment used to create and install signs is also a plus. Experience working at heights, especially with bucket trucks or crane lifts, may also give you an edge against your competitors.
TNT Signs is Hiring Sign Installers
If you’re ready to apply to become a sign installer or would like to know more about what it takes to be one, TNT Signs in Santa Rosa is hiring! We employ sign installers and other experts who are ready to become a part of our industry.
In addition to installing signs, we offer a range of printing services. We print banners and custom signs ranging from small flyers to huge outdoor marketing tools. We also create pop displays for clients as well as print stickers and decals. We even wrap vehicles to use in marketing. Whether you’re just getting into the industry or you already have experience as a sign installer, we encourage you to apply to join our team. Contact us today to learn more or visit our employment webpage to view our open positions.