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Ironworkers establish, fabricate, construct, and install iron and steel frames for bridges, buildings, and other structures. The basic tasks of an ironworker revolve around understanding blueprint welding, cutting metals into specific customizations or shapes, assembling and stacking materials, coordinating with other members of the construction team, operating various machinery and devices, and attaching essential tools.

As an ironworker, you are to repair and replace existing elements of the buildings. Also, it is important for you as an ironworker to follow every company's federal and state safety regulations by wearing proper protective gear while working. In addition, it is your duty to keep every piece of equipment and tools in good working condition and to stack, load, and unload steel and even iron pieces.

Most of the time, ironworkers did not need a college education. The most common degree for this role is a high school diploma or GED. As an ironworker, you will earn an average salary of $34,802 a year.

What Does an Iron Worker Do

Ironworkers install structural and reinforcing iron and steel to form and support buildings, bridges, and roads.

Learn more about what an Iron Worker does

How To Become an Iron Worker

Although most ironworkers learn through an apprenticeship, some learn on the job. Certifications in welding, rigging, and signaling can be helpful for new entrants.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required. Courses in math, as well as training in vocational subjects such as blueprint reading and welding, can be particularly useful.

Training

Most ironworkers learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of related technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. Nearly all apprenticeship programs teach both reinforcing and structural ironworking. On the job, apprentices learn to use the tools and equipment of the trade; handle, measure, cut, and lay rebar; and construct metal frameworks. In technical training, they are taught mathematics, blueprint reading and sketching, general construction techniques, safety practices, and first aid.

A few groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Some programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications required for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Physical ability to perform the work
  • Pass substance abuse screening

After completing an apprenticeship program, they are considered to be journeymen who perform tasks without direct supervision.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certifications in welding, rigging, and crane signaling may increase a worker’s usefulness on the jobsite and result in higher pay. Many ironworkers become welders certified by the American Welding Society. Several organizations offer rigging certifications, including the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, and the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).

Important Qualities

Balance. Ironworkers often walk on narrow beams, so a good sense of balance is important to keep them from falling while doing their job.

Depth perception. Ironworkers must be able to judge the distance between objects and themselves in order to work safely. Ironworkers often signal crane operators who move beams and bundles of rebar.

Hand-eye coordination. Ironworkers must be able to tie rebar together quickly and precisely. An experienced worker can tie rebar together in seconds and move on to the next spot; a beginner may take much longer.

Physical stamina. Ironworkers must have physical endurance because they spend many hours performing physically demanding tasks, such as moving rebar, each day.

Physical strength. Ironworkers must be strong enough to guide heavy beams into place and tighten bolts.

Unafraid of heights. Ironworkers must not be afraid to work at great heights. For example, as they erect skyscrapers, workers must walk on narrow beams—sometimes over 50 stories high—while connecting girders.

Iron Worker Career Paths

Average Salary for an Iron Worker

Iron Workers in America make an average salary of $39,612 per year or $19 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $55,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $28,000 per year.
Average Iron Worker Salary
$39,612 Yearly
$19.04 hourly
$28,000
10 %
$39,000
Median
$55,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Iron Worker Education

Iron Worker Majors

11.7 %

Iron Worker Degrees

High School Diploma

54.7 %

Associate

15.8 %

Diploma

12.8 %

Top Skills For an Iron Worker

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 8.3% of iron workers listed structural steel on their resume, but soft skills such as balance and hand-eye coordination are important as well.

  • Structural Steel, 8.3%
  • Ironworker, 7.3%
  • Safety Meetings, 6.7%
  • Heavy Equipment, 6.2%
  • Bolt-Up, 5.7%
  • Other Skills, 65.8%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Iron Worker Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Iron Worker templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Iron Worker resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Iron Worker Resume
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Iron Worker Demographics

Iron Worker Gender Distribution

Male
Male
96%
Female
Female
4%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among iron workers, 4.4% of them are women, while 95.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among iron workers is White, which makes up 70.2% of all iron workers.

  • The most common foreign language among iron workers is Spanish at 79.5%.

Online Courses For Iron Worker That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
OSHA Safety Pro: Personal Protective Equipment
udemy
4.6
(1,401)

Impress management or get that job with you your ability to display life and dollar saving work place safety practices...

Introduction to Steel
edX (Global)

This course is an introduction to steel, exploring its history and cultural context, where it comes from, how it works, why we use so much of it, and how we might use it in the future. It is delivered in a lively manner using everyday examples, demonstrations, and film footage of steel making. "I have finished the course, and I would like to thank the staff of TenarisUniversityX for this excellent production, and also for the learning material and the opportunity to participate, sending best...

The Comprehensive ETABS Professional Course (RCC and Steel)
udemy
4.5
(1,127)

21 Hours of Course Content with Practical Case studies...

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Best States For an Iron Worker

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an iron worker. The best states for people in this position are Wisconsin, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Ohio. Iron workers make the most in Wisconsin with an average salary of $47,265. Whereas in New Jersey and North Dakota, they would average $47,066 and $46,771, respectively. While iron workers would only make an average of $46,412 in Ohio, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. West Virginia

Total Iron Worker Jobs:
286
Highest 10% Earn:
$67,000
Location Quotient:
1.83 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. South Dakota

Total Iron Worker Jobs:
198
Highest 10% Earn:
$57,000
Location Quotient:
1.81 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Wisconsin

Total Iron Worker Jobs:
214
Highest 10% Earn:
$67,000
Location Quotient:
0.38 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Iron Workers

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Top Iron Worker Employers

Most Common Employers For Iron Worker

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1PCL Construction$53,045$25.5027
2Bechtel Corporation$51,577$24.8044
3Fluor Corporation$43,687$21.00145
4Zachry Group$40,899$19.6649
5CCC Group$40,896$19.6683
6Turner Industries$40,793$19.6176
7Performance Contractors$40,781$19.61109
8G.A . West$40,553$19.5033
9LPR Construction$40,475$19.4650
10Zachry Construction$39,612$19.0456

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