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Become A Steel Worker

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Working As A Steel Worker

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Steel Worker 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 Steel 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.

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Average Yearly Salary
$78,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$36,000
Min 10%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$167,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
AVC
Highest Paying City
Houston, TX
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does a Steel Worker make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Steel Worker in the United States is $78,494 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $36,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $167,000.

Real Steel Worker Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Structural Iron & Steel Worker Tinity III Construction Inc. Thousand Palms, CA Sep 16, 2015 $87,776
Structural Iron & Steel Worker Tinity III Construction Inc. Thousand Palms, CA Sep 14, 2015 $87,776
Structural Iron and Steel Workers E & Y General Construction Co. Inc. New York, NY Sep 15, 2009 $72,857
Structural Iron and Steel Worker H&L Ironworks Islandia, NY Jun 17, 2016 $60,590
Structural Steel Worker JPI Painting, Inc. NY Feb 01, 2011 $48,836
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Barone Steel Fabricators Inc. New York, NY Apr 27, 2016 $48,606
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Himara Construction Corp NY May 31, 2011 $48,606
Structural Iron and Steel Worker H2K Construction Services, Inc. Leeds, AL Jun 16, 2011 $43,660
Structural Steel Worker Laship, LLC LA Oct 01, 2012 $42,909
Structural Iron and Steel Worker Sun State Steel, Ll C Phoenix, AZ Apr 04, 2008 $41,740
Structural Iron and Steel Worker Skyline Steel Inc. Gilbert, AZ Feb 07, 2008 $41,531
Structural Iron and Steel Worker Skyline Steel Inc. Gilbert, AZ Mar 20, 2008 $41,531
Structural Steel Worker Crown Resource Management LLC Baytown, TX Oct 15, 2014 $41,072
Structural Iron and Steel Workers DCS Construction LLC North Smithfield, RI Sep 29, 2009 $40,634
Structural Steel Worker Ls Energy Fabrication, LLC. DBA Lone Star Energy F TX May 07, 2012 $39,236
Structural Steel Worker RCS Technoman Texas LLC TX May 15, 2012 $39,110
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Brothers Steel, Inc. Houston, TX May 28, 2010 $38,255
Structural Iron and Steel Worker Skyline Steel Inc. Gilbert, AZ Jun 13, 2008 $37,065
Structural Steel Worker Rigid Global Buildings TX Aug 31, 2011 $36,710
Structural Steel Worker GLS Construction TX Jan 01, 2011 $36,439
Structural Steel Worker Jomac Industries Co. TX Mar 01, 2011 $36,439
Structural Iron and Steel Workers It Straps On, Inc. Covington, LA Jan 26, 2009 $33,809
Structural Steel Worker AVC International Workforce, LLC TX Jan 01, 2012 $32,202
Structural Steel Worker AVC International Workforce, LLC. TX May 01, 2012 $32,202
Structural Steel Worker Bollinger Marine Fabricators LA Mar 01, 2012 $31,034
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Filegonia Site Contractors, LLC TX Apr 13, 2015 $30,199
Structural Steel Worker Schafer Steel Contracting Inc. SD Apr 09, 2011 $29,740
Structural Steel Worker RBD Construction Inc. AR Mar 01, 2012 $29,197
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Atlas Manufacturing, Inc. Washington, DC Mar 12, 2010 $28,725
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Ramco Erectors Inc. Houston, TX Apr 29, 2011 $27,486

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Top Skills for A Steel Worker

  1. Safety Procedures
  2. Overhead Cranes
  3. Heavy Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Followed prescribed safety procedures and complied with federal laws regulating waste disposal methods.
  • Used overhead cranes with both chains and magnets, forklifts, power tools, air tools all of that.
  • Operated heavy equipment plus indoor crane forklift operator
  • Manufactured rebar to the customer specifications upon the order delivered to us.
  • Cleaned and organized warehouse, overhead garage doors, built metal steel buildings, metal roofs, and siding.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Steel Workers

  1. Illinois
  2. Washington
  3. New Jersey
  4. New York
  5. Minnesota
  6. Connecticut
  7. California
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Alaska
  • (204 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (68 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (323 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)

Steel Worker Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,155 Steel Worker resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Steel Worker Resume

View Resume Examples

Steel Worker Demographics

Gender

Male

85.9%

Unknown

7.2%

Female

6.9%
Ethnicity

White

67.5%

Hispanic or Latino

12.9%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

5.4%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

94.1%

French

5.9%

Steel Worker Education

Schools

The Academy

11.2%

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

11.2%

University of Phoenix

9.0%

Southwestern Illinois College

5.6%

Everest Institute

4.5%

Ashford University

4.5%

Alabama State University

4.5%

Full Sail University

4.5%

Central State University

4.5%

Sinclair Community College

4.5%

Washington & Jefferson College

4.5%

Community College of Allegheny County

4.5%

New Castle School of Trades

3.4%

Hobart Institute of Welding Technology

3.4%

Lane Community College

3.4%

Kent State University

3.4%

Pueblo Community College

3.4%

Marshall University

3.4%

Iowa Central Community College

3.4%

Community College of the Air Force

3.4%
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Majors

Business

18.3%

General Studies

11.0%

Precision Metal Working

10.0%

Criminal Justice

7.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.4%

Automotive Technology

5.0%

Electrical Engineering

5.0%

Computer Science

4.8%

Heating And Air Conditioning

3.7%

Industrial Technology

3.5%

Education

3.3%

Psychology

3.3%

Kinesiology

3.1%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Culinary Arts

2.3%

Management

2.3%

Computer Networking

2.3%

Communication

2.3%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.3%

Construction Management

2.3%
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Degrees

Other

50.2%

Associate

16.4%

Bachelors

16.1%

Certificate

10.6%

Diploma

4.2%

Masters

2.2%

License

0.2%

Doctorate

0.1%
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