How to Become a Millwright

If you enjoy troubleshooting, love details and want to be considered a true craftsman, becoming a millwright might be the right step for you. Your job sites will probably varied, and it’s unlikely that any two work days will be the same.

Job Overview

$48,360
High School or GED
None
Long-term
36,500
-5%
(1,800)
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Millwrights are highly skilled tradesmen. They most often work in factories, power plants and construction sites, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In this career, you’ll install, take apart, repair, reassemble and move a lot of machinery..

These workers often need to disassemble machines and painstakingly label each part before packing pieces for shipping when a company needs to clear the floor for new machinery. Around 30 percent of millwrights work for building equipment contractors.

They often work under a contract and are scheduled just days at one site. Gaps between jobs are common. Safety is especially important, due to common shop injuries and working in awkward positions.

Career Outlook

In 2010, the median hourly pay for a millwright was $23.25, which equates to $48,360 per year, according to the BLS.

The job outlook for 2010 through 2020 projects a 5 percent loss, a moderate decline. This is largely due to a link between jobs and the purchase of new equipment by manufacturers, a rate predicted to stay flat. The growing presence of newer machines controlled by computers also suppresses the growth rate.

However, employers always need workers with broad skills in maintaining machines. Many of the future job openings will be the result of older workers retiring.

Requirements

If you’re interested in the millwright trade, you must be comfortable working around various kinds of heavy equipment in many industries, according to eHow. Basic duties include being responsible for the correct operation of belts and motors. Millwrights often operate forklifts and cranes, install equipment and align machines.

These duties require you to read and understand very technical blueprints or machine instructions. You’ll spend a lot of time taking apart and reassembling a machine for repairs and moving it.

One important requirement for this career is having sufficient stamina and dexterity. Beyond having mechanical ability, you’ll need to be able to use a variety of tools and equipment. Some of them include:

  • Hammers
  • Levels
  • Welding and cutting equipment
  • Micrometers
  • Lasers
  • Trucks
  • Winches
  • Hoists

In addition, you must be at least 18 and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Typical Education

Most millwrights enter the trade by one of two paths. The majority complete a formal four- to five-year apprenticeship. Others complete a two-year program at a school that specializes in industrial maintenance, industrial technology, mechanical drawing or a similar field, eHow reports.

Candidates sometimes enter the trade with the two-year training. However, if you want to work at the journeyman level, you’ll need to complete an apprenticeship, which is a combination of classroom training like blueprint reading and hands-on experience. Most include both paid and unpaid instruction. A two-year credential often gives an applicant to an apprentice program an edge over other candidates.

Similar Jobs

If this type of work interests you, you might also be suited to similar careers. Examples include:

  • Machinist
  • Tool and die maker
  • Plumber
  • Pipefitter
  • Steamfitter
  • Welder
  • Solderer
  • Brazer

Steps to Becoming a Millwright

If you didn’t take drafting, math and physics in high school, your first step should be completing them. Then you should research appropriate local two-year programs.

You can apply for an apprenticeship through a union, an employer or a state labor office. The requirements for these programs vary by state and by employer. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters/Millwrights posts information on training required to become a journeyman and continued education opportunities important for advancement to foreman or project supervisor.

Interested in getting more information? Be sure to fill in the sign-up form.

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