How to Become a Boilermaker

Becoming a boilermaker is a little more complicated than many other construction career paths, but it also yields some significant rewards. Those that become a boilermaker can look forward to a median income of $54,640 a year or $26.27 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to this, becoming a boilermaker only requires a high school diploma, though those who seek advancement or want to get into the industry faster will want to go through a college program.

The job outlook for the boilermaker industry is at 21 percent, which is an extraordinarily fast pace and ensures future jobs and future potential for the industry overall. As the real estate industry continues to grow and thus the commercial market continues to grow, it is expected that boilermakers will see continued increases in the volume and quality of work that they are called upon to do.

What Do Boilermakers Do?
$54,640
High School or GED
None
Apprenticeship
19,800
21%
4,200
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

A boilermaker is the person who creates, assembles, installs and repairs boilers. Boilers are extremely dangerous due to the pressure within them and the fact that they contain very hot liquids and gasses. This means that a boilermaker needs to be very skilled and conscientious about their work. Boilermakers are often required to do specialized tasks such as welding, and they will need to be able to read blueprints in order to determine the positions and locations of the parts within the boiler.

Boilermakers will need to go through extensive periods of training to ensure that they can perform these tasks, as well as do the work quickly and effectively in order to stay under budget. There are many types of boiler, which means being a boilermaker often requires that the boilermaker undergo special training about specific types of boiler. This is where an apprenticeship often comes in handy.

How to Become a Boilermaker

Because a boilermaker is a trade profession, becoming a boilermaker often first entails an apprenticeship, as noted by the Boilermaker National Apprenticeship Program. Boilermakers are union professionals, which accounts for a higher rate of pay as well as excellent safety standards.Those interested in apprenticeship will need to be at least 18 years of age and will need to be strong, but there are usually no other requirements.

The apprenticeship period lasts about 4-5 years, throughout which the apprentice can enter into a technical training school. Apprentices are required to have at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid training before they become a professional boilermaker. Trade schools often have programs that will help an apprentice obtain their technical requirements, and groups such as the Boilermaker National Apprenticeship Program makes it easier to find those that are willing to take on apprentices.

Advancing as a Boilermaker

Just as with other trades, a boilermaker follows a rigid structure based on seniority. Pay will go up steadily as the boilermaker gains more experience and advances through different titles within the union. Because the job is a union protected job, a boilermaker is guaranteed a certain amount of hourly wages based on their experience. Boilermakers also have the flexibility to take on as many hours as they desire, and this flexibility will only increase as they progress.

Boilermakers may be able to move into other jobs, such as welding positions, but boiler making itself is one of the most highly paid trades which means that many will desire to stay as they are. Unlike many other construction positions, boilermakers usually don’t become self-employed. This is because of the liability issues that boilers entail as well as the necessity for union support. However boilermakers also usually don’t need self employment due to the steady stream of work that the union will generally provide.

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