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:
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.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Supervisor, Reinforcing Iron Work||Genesis Steel Service||Baltimore, MD||Jul 13, 2010||$57,539|
|Structural Iron and Still Worker||Iron Workers Local #372||Cincinnati, OH||Aug 27, 2008||$53,511 -
|Iron Workers||Valley Forge Iron Works, Inc.||Yonkers, NY||Feb 14, 2012||$50,067|
|Reinforcing Iron Worker||Elilacon Company, Inc.||LA||Jan 01, 2014||$41,657|
|Reinforcing Iron Worker||Maxum Industries, LLC.||LA||May 10, 2013||$39,653|
|Structural Iron Worker||Phalanx Enterprises, Inc.||Chantilly, VA||Jul 20, 2009||$38,522|
|Structure Iron Worker||PAU Construction||TX||Jan 24, 2014||$37,900|
|Iron Worker||Jag Premier, Inc.||LA||Mar 01, 2014||$37,796|
|Structure Iron Worker||PAU Construction||TX||Jan 01, 2015||$37,587|
|Iron Worker||Jag Premier, Inc.||LA||May 29, 2013||$37,420|
|Iron Worker||La Jomac Group, Inc.||LA||Mar 26, 2014||$37,169|
|Structural Iron Worker||Blue Point Solutions||TX||Mar 13, 2014||$36,815|
|Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers||Tarrasco Steel Company||MS||Apr 14, 2014||$36,731|
|Reinforcing Iron Worker||Genesis Steel Service||Baltimore, MD||Jan 29, 2008||$36,731|
|Iron Worker||Southland Energy Services, LLC.||LA||Oct 01, 2013||$36,439|
|Iron Worker||La Jomac Group, Inc.||LA||May 29, 2013||$36,439|
|Structural Iron Worker||Superior Shipyard & Fabrication, Inc.||LA||Apr 16, 2014||$36,293|
|Iron Worker||Mid Atlantic Steel Erectors||Motley, VA||Jan 14, 2016||$36,130|
|Iron Worker||Mid Atlantic Steel Erectors||Motley, VA||Jan 27, 2016||$36,130|
|Iron Worker||Mid Atlantic Steel Erectors||Motley, VA||Feb 02, 2016||$36,130|
|Structural Iron Worker||Fence Menders||Santa Ana, CA||May 02, 2008||$34,456|
|Structural Iron Worker||Fence Menders||Santa Ana, CA||Apr 22, 2008||$34,456|
|Iron Worker||Mid Atlantic Steel Erectors||Motley, VA||Feb 02, 2016||$32,947|
|Iron Worker||Mid Atlantic Steel Erectors||Motley, VA||Jan 15, 2016||$32,947|
|Iron Worker||Mid Atlantic Steel Erectors||Motley, VA||Jan 14, 2016||$32,947|
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