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Become A Rod Buster

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Working As A Rod Buster

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $66,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Rod Buster Do

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

Duties

Ironworkers typically do the following:

  • Read and follow blueprints, sketches, and other instructions
  • Unload and stack prefabricated iron and steel so that it can be lifted with slings
  • Signal crane operators who lift and position structural and reinforcing iron and steel
  • Use shears, rod-bending machines, and welding equipment to cut, bend, and weld the structural and reinforcing iron and steel
  • Align structural and reinforcing iron and steel vertically and horizontally, using tag lines, plumb bobs, lasers, and levels
  • Connect iron and steel with bolts, wire, or welds

Structural and reinforcing iron and steel are important components of buildings, bridges, roads, and other structures. Even though the primary metal involved in this work is steel, workers often are known as ironworkers or erectors. Although most of the work involves erecting new structures, some ironworkers may also help in the demolition, decommissioning, and rehabilitation of older buildings and bridges.

When building tall structures such as skyscrapers, structural iron and steel workers erect steel frames and assemble the cranes and derricks that move materials and equipment around the construction site. Workers connect precut steel columns, beams, and girders, using equipment such as spud wrenches and driftpins. A few ironworkers install precast walls or work with wood or composite materials.

Reinforcing iron and rebar workers use one of three different materials to support concrete:

  • Reinforcing steel (rebar) is used to strengthen the concrete that forms highways, buildings, bridges, and other structures. These workers are sometimes called rod busters, in reference to rods of rebar.
  • Cables are used to reinforce concrete by pre- or post-tensioning. These techniques allow designers to create larger open areas in a building because supports can be placed farther apart. As a result, pre- and post-tensioning are commonly used to construct arenas, concrete bridges, and parking garages.
  • Welded wire reinforcing (WWR) is also used to strengthen concrete. This reinforcing is made up of narrow-diameter rods or wire welded into a grid.

Some ironworkers are assemblers and fabricators. They fabricate metal in shops, which are usually located away from the construction site.

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How To Become A Rod Buster

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.

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Average Length of Employment
Form Carpenter 3.6 years
Pile Driver 3.2 years
Rod Buster 3.0 years
Ship Erector 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Rod Buster
Carpenter 17.6%
Foreman 7.8%
Helper 4.9%
Painter 4.9%
Welder 4.4%
Cook 3.4%
Owner 3.4%
Driver 2.9%
Cashier 2.9%
Top Careers After Rod Buster
Carpenter 16.2%
Foreman 10.1%
Welder 9.1%
Journeyman 6.6%
Supervisor 3.5%
Driver 3.0%
Rigger 3.0%

Do you work as a Rod Buster?

Highest Rod Buster Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Apr 28, 2009 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Apr 02, 2009 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Apr 01, 2009 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Apr 08, 2009 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Apr 06, 2009 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Mar 30, 2009 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Apr 09, 2009 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Apr 17, 2009 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Jul 23, 2010 $28,759
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Mar 27, 2009 $23,980
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Apr 17, 2009 $23,980
Rod Buster Naylor Concrete Construction Company Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Jul 23, 2010 $23,980

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Top Skills for A Rod Buster

  1. Rebar
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Drawing Layout
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintain a safe work environment while accomplishing tasks such as tying, setting, placing, flying rebar footings/walls/foundations and pedestals.
  • Bend steel rods with hand tools or rod bending machines and weld them with arc-welding equipment.
  • Determined number, size, shape and locations for placement of reinforcing rods from blueprints, sketches or oral instructions.
  • Light heavy equipment operator and mechanics on diesel and tractor trailers.
  • Reinforced concrete with wire mesh.

Rod Buster Demographics

Gender

Male

86.9%

Unknown

7.6%

Female

5.5%
Ethnicity

White

56.9%

Hispanic or Latino

19.3%

Black or African American

15.2%

Asian

5.8%

Unknown

2.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

Comanche

16.7%

Cherokee

16.7%

Rod Buster Education

Schools

University of Texas at Arlington

8.7%

Ashford University

8.7%

A-Technical College

8.7%

Sandhills Community College

4.3%

Martinez Adult Education

4.3%

East Central Community College

4.3%

Georgia Northwestern Technical College - Floyd County Campus

4.3%

Brazosport College

4.3%

Allen University

4.3%

College of the Mainland

4.3%

Art Institute of Houston

4.3%

Advanced Technology Institute

4.3%

Delgado Community College

4.3%

North Dakota State College of Science

4.3%

Indian River State College

4.3%

Eastern Michigan University

4.3%

Ohio Christian University

4.3%

San Jacinto College District

4.3%

Aims Community College

4.3%

Arkansas State University

4.3%
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Majors

Precision Metal Working

19.7%

Business

14.8%

General Studies

14.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.9%

Automotive Technology

4.9%

Ethnic, Gender And Minority Studies

3.3%

International Business

3.3%

Information Technology

3.3%

Fine Arts

3.3%

Construction Management

3.3%

Industrial Technology

3.3%

Project Management

3.3%

Drafting And Design

3.3%

Elementary Education

3.3%

Criminal Justice

3.3%

Management

1.6%

Political Science

1.6%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.6%

Architectural Technology

1.6%
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Degrees

Other

65.5%

Associate

11.9%

Certificate

9.5%

Bachelors

8.3%

Diploma

3.6%

License

1.2%
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