Sign installers by their nature need to be a jack of all trades. Sign installations are complex afterall, and each one can vary, therefore a pro sign installer needs to know skills including mechanical skills, electrical knowledge, problem solving, interpersonal skills, as well as critical thinking. We break down the skills our sign installation team has and that we look for when hiring new sign installers.

Technical Skills

Mechanical Aptitude:

Sign installers may not themselves be the fabricators of signs; however, they still need to know the workings of a sign to install the sign. This is because they need to know how to secure the signs, whether on a pole or a wall. This may involve the use of drills, screws, and even welding when dealing with pylon signs on poles. Most sign installers therefore have an arsenal of tools and equipment they take with them to each job.

Structural Knowledge:

Sign installers need to be familiar with how buildings themselves are built. This is especially essential when installing interior signage or exterior signage on a building, as it’ll be essential when drilling into walls, mounting interior and exterior signs, and even when applying vinyl to windows.

Sign installers

Electrical Knowledge:

Though we work with electricians on-site for sign installations, sign installers still need a basic understanding of electrical systems, wiring, and connections. In an age that is increasingly going to LED, this knowledge is essential for retrofits and new sign installations.

Knowledge of Sign Types:

There are at least a couple dozen types of signs a sign installer may encounter, and thus a familiarity with each sign type is essential. Whether they’re installing a vinyl sign, an ADA sign, or a pylon sign, each one is different and requires a different know-how to successfully install the signs.

Comprehension of Blueprint and Construction Plans:

WIth larger jobs, be they at commercial developments, schools, or large office complexes, sign installers may need to be able to interpret and follow blueprints or construction plans. Thus it’s essential that sign installers have that skill in their tool kit.

Practical Skills

Attention to Detail:

Whether the project is a sizable installation of hundreds of ADA signs, or perhaps just one complex sign install, its essential for sign installers to be able to be really detail oriented so as to note each step without missing important information.

Hand-Eye Coordination:

Sign installers whether they’re attaching signs to crane hooks, or securing the tiniest of screws, need to be able to ensure their hand-eye coordination is top notch to ensure the success of the job.

Problem Solving:

Not every job will go off without a hitch on the job site, and no matter the reason its often the sign installers that have to deal with the fallout. Therefore it’s essential they can problem solve and work through even the stickiest of situations.

Physical Fitness:

Though not every sign job requires an installer to be in top notch shape, there are times where strength, and fortitude especially when working at great heights, come in handy.

Safety Awareness

Knowledge of safety protocols are essential on job sites to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the sign install. That’s why it’s important for sign companies to provide training so that sign installers can stay familiar with the latest safety protocols.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

A key component of any sign installer’s safety routine is the use of PPE better known as personal protective equipment. This includes hard hats, harnesses, and gloves. Not only are many of these items essential for helping improve the safety of the team, but OSHA also requires such equipment on job sites.

Risk Assessments:

Part of the sign installer’s ability for critical thinking comes into play when looking at the risks involved in a particular job. Installers have to keep in mind any potential risks to themselves, anyone nearby the job site, and the property involved, when working on a job. This is crucial to ensure everyone involved stays safe and that no damage or injury occurs.

Interpersonal Skills

Customer Service:

Though an account manager and project manager are the primary contacts with our clients, once on the job-site it is often the sign installers who may need to engage and interact with the clients on the installation day. Therefore it is crucial for sign installers to have excellent communication skills when engaging with clients, other contractors on the site, or any other personnel they may engage with.


Sign installation jobs can be long, difficult, and yet still quite rewarding. What helps these installs go off without a hitch is often the incredible teamwork of our Ortwein Sign team. We value teamwork with all of our Ortwein Sign team, and its especially crucial for our sign installers who rely on each other to both effectively get the job done for our clients and to keep each other safe.

Time Management:

Sign installations can sometimes be quick and easy, and sometimes they can take days which include digging, pouring concrete, setting steel, and ultimately installing the sign. As the saying goes too time means money, so for our clients, and for our team’s own well being, we try to be very mindful of time. Of course as the installers are in the field working on these installations, time management is an essential skill as they prioritize what needs to be done and keeps the project manager abreast of any changes and alterations in timeline.

Certifications and Licenses: (Optional, But Encouraged)

CDL License:

Though not every sign installer is required to have a CDL: Commercial Drivers License, it often is encouraged to ensure that members of the team have the skills and licenses needed to drive cranes to the job sites. Companies may even provide bonuses or raises to encourage the acquisition of a CDL.

Crane Operators License:

In addition to CDL drivers, sign installation crews also need licensed Crane Operators to have team members who can operate cranes often required for medium and larger sign jobs. Likewise these licenses are often promoted by companies with the promise of bonuses or raises for licensed users.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Certification:

OSHA offers various classes and training opportunities to sign companies and sign installers that help enhance the knowledge and safety of installation crews.

Professional Associations:

Sign installers can join professional organizations such as the International Sign Association (ISA) in the United States. While these memberships might not be licenses, they provide opportunities for professional development, networking, and staying updated with industry trends and standards.