How to Become
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
A boilermaker occupies an important position within the field of construction. These workers are indispensable to the success of any project. This career has a good job outlook and high salaries compared to other jobs.
If you want to learn how to become a boilermaker in 2021, this guide will show you the way. Read on for information about the job description, average salaries, educational options, and licenses needed to work as a professional boilermaker.
What Is a Boilermaker?
A boilermaker is a person in charge of everything related to boiler systems in a company, houses, shopping centers, or other construction projects. A boilermaker maintains and repairs containers that contain gases or liquids.
Iron, copper, and stainless steel boilers require manual and professional maintenance. For these jobs, a boilermaker uses his theoretical and practical skills to maintain the optimal functioning of the boiler system.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Boilermaker?
To work in this position, you usually need a high school diploma or its equivalent. You can then access an apprenticeship program to reinforce your knowledge and gain professional experience. For this job, you can offer private services or belong to a construction company.
Best Boilermaker Education Tracks
Boilermakers have intense job training. Most jobs have extended hours and require you to be in excellent physical condition. Technical training is the most common way to learn this trade, usually in an apprenticeship program rather than a trade school.
If you want to know about the educational options to become a boilermaker, pay attention to the points below.
The most common way to start your career as a boilermaker is through an apprenticeship program. This preparation requires approximately four years. During the training, you will learn theoretical concepts and practical activities for your occupation.
You will be taught about metals and installation techniques, welding, plan design, how to repair boilers, plus the tools and equipment required for each task, among other subjects. One of the advantages of these programs is professional experience. Currently, there are many organizations across America where you can access an apprenticeship program.
Boilermakers Local 433 is an organization in Tampa, Florida affiliated with the Boilermakers National Apprenticeship Program (BNAP) and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.
According to the Boilermakers Local 433 website, members pay dues of $43 each month during training. Additionally, apprentices need to meet physical standards, work full-time schedules, and be able to work in challenging environments.
Community colleges offer two-year associate degrees and four-year bachelor’s degrees. However, not all community colleges offer a bachelor’s degree. You should check your preferred school to see which track you can take. Community colleges are more convenient and affordable than universities.
Some of the best community colleges for graphic design are Nassau Community College and Waubonsee Community College. These and many other colleges offer world-class training at low prices. Tuition varies, but it will typically be less than a private university.
The typical way to obtain career preparation is with hands-on practice. However, many online courses offer valuable training for this profession. Both theory and critical thinking are tools for success as a boilermaker.
In addition, welding and blueprint reading are key skills for this profession. Journeymen and journeywomen who have taken courses in these subjects have a greater chance of succeeding in the industry.
How to Become a Boilermaker: A Step-by-Step Guide
There is no specific path to becoming a boilermaker. However, some options help you increase your chances of getting better jobs and higher wages. If you want to start your way as a boilermaker, pay attention to the five steps below.
Assess your aptitude
Before choosing any career, you need to assess your chances of success. To be a boilermaker, you must be fit and strong, and be prepared to understand the health and safety aspects of the trade.
Analyze the market
If you have the profile of a boilermaker, then the next task is to assess the market and the demand for boilermaker jobs. Check the average salaries, the places where you can learn this career, and the job benefits.
Enroll in an apprenticeship program
This is the principal educational requirement. In these programs, you will learn the fundamental practices of the profession. A diploma from an apprenticeship program will help you get to a company faster and be better prepared.
Get a job
After your time as an apprentice, you must get a job. Training programs connect you with your first job opportunities, but your performance will be the key to maintaining good work relationships and advancing in the industry.
Expand your skills
The bigger your resume, the better your chances of being successful. The industry is extensive and requires versatile professionals with the skills to perform tasks of all kinds.
Key Boilermaker Skills
To get a job opportunity in this industry, you must have a professional profile. The experience and certification help you improve your chances of achieving success as a boilermaker.
What skills are most likely to get you hired as a boilermaker? Pay attention to the points below.
Strength and physical endurance are crucial competencies for a boilermaker. A boilermaker needs optimal fitness and strength to carry heavy components to workplaces. This is one of the reasons these tasks pay out large sums of money.
During your training in the apprenticeship program, you will learn the best techniques to use your strength at work correctly. This will help you avoid injuries and optimize your time.
Training and hands-on activities make you a boilermaker ready for any challenge. All equipment repairs, maintenance, and testing are entirely manual.
Companies hire professionals who work with tools such as try-squares, box levels, rulers, protractors, and contour gauges, among others. In addition, you must know general construction techniques, possess safety awareness and welding experience, and be able to drive a forklift.
Ability to Adapt to Different Work Environments
As a boilermaker, your jobs will be varied. Workspaces can be high up in a building, in tight basements, boilers, and much more. You can work in very hot or cold areas, depending on the project.
Boilermaker Salary and Job Outlook
A 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report says that a boilermaker earns an average salary of $65,360. These figures depend on the state, your level of experience, and the project. Most boilermakers are paid on the job.
BLS also projects that the demand for boilermakers will grow one percent between 2019 and 2029, slower than other related jobs. This works out to about 1,400 new vacancies every year during the mentioned period.
Entry-Level Boilermaker Job Requirements
Entry-level is the standard starting position if you join a company. To get a job at this level, you must understand how to build, repair, and maintain boiler systems, and how to weld. You must also have general craft experience.
An apprenticeship program diploma qualifies you for an entry-level position as a professional boilermaker. According to PayScale, an average entry-level boilermaker makes about $22 per hour, which is equal to about $49,000 per year.
What Does a Boilermaker Do?
A boilermaker has several tasks on their schedule. Remember, like all jobs, your activities depend on your position, experience, and type of project. The more years you have in the company, the more functions you can take on.
Below we list some key responsibilities of a boilermaker.
Your main role is to take care of a boiler system in a building, company, house, boat, or any environment that uses these machines. You must install boiler tanks using welding techniques and various kinds of work equipment.
Monitors and Repairs Boilers
As a boilermaker, you have the skills to verify the operation of the boiler. You must analyze its operability, inspect for faults such as overheating, and be able to detect gas leaks. Additionally, you must apply your technical knowledge to repair these systems using the correct tools. Remember that these repairs can be in tight spaces, high areas, or outdoors.
Reading blueprints is a constant activity in this job. The plans include the location and conditions of the boiler system at the specific facility. Also, in case of a construction query, you can suggest the best place to install the boiler.
An apprenticeship program can be your only training before you start working as a professional. However, a certification allows you to achieve a higher status, ideal for endorsing your knowledge and skills with specialized organizations in this industry.
Boilermaker licenses also include welding programs and related jobs. Many companies and states require employees to have these certifications. Below you will see a description of each program.
Boilermaking Four-Level Certification
The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) is an organization that provides special licenses and training for workers in the construction industry in the United States.
With the NCCER Boilermaking four-level certification, you will become a journey-level boilermaker, qualified to work on any project with these characteristics. In the program, you will test your skills in the maintenance, exchange, and installation of industrial boilermaking.
Certified Welder Program
The American Welding Society (AWS) is an organization that offers certifications for welding workers and related tasks. The Certified Welder program evaluates your performance as a welder in many areas of work, including boilermaking.
This credential verifies your skills in these tasks and allows you to present yourself as a professional in any company in the United States.
How to Prepare for Your Boilermaker Job Interview
Before joining a company, you must ace your job interview. In this process, the employer will evaluate your critical thinking and, above all, your practical skills as a boilermaker. Some questions may include theoretical content, but your physical condition and key aptitudes will be assessed, too.
Boilermaker Job Interview Practice Questions
- Why did you choose this company to work for?
- How many types of welding can you do?
- Can you work in harsh conditions?
- Are you physically fit to lift heavy objects?
- What projects have you undertaken as a boilermaker?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Boilermaker?
The time it takes to become a boilermaker depends on your effort and skills. However, an apprenticeship program can last between four and five years.
If you want to be a qualified boilermaker, you can apply for official credentials. The process to obtain the essential certifications can take a year. Then, when you find a job, it will take a year or two to get promoted as an official boilermaker. So, you could become an expert in approximately seven years.
Should You Become a Boilermaker in 2021?
Yes. If you think that you have what it takes to become a boilermaker, you should take this career path. Boilermaking is not a job for everyone, but it’s a good choice if you like physically demanding jobs.
Another reason to be a boilermaker is that you can easily access key resources to build up your theoretical knowledge. Currently, online colleges, courses, and thousands of books are available on the Internet for all students.
How many people work as boilermakers in America?
According to a study by BLS, approximately 15,900 people worked as boilermakers in the United States in 2019.
Is it dangerous to work as a boilermaker?
Although boilermakers work in harsh environments or outdoors, the risk of serious injury is not that high. In the 21st century, technologically advanced tools, improved health and safety practices, and better working conditions make this, and many other construction jobs, safer than ever before.
How popular are apprenticeship programs?
In 2020, a report from the Department of Labor (DOL) said there were 26,000 apprenticeship programs registered in the United States. That year, about 3,143 new programs were created. So, the signs are positive that apprenticeship programs will continue to gain in popularity.
Is it difficult to enter an apprenticeship program?
No. Many people enter these programs every year. DOL figures show that in 2020, despite COVID-19 and a 12 percent decline in new students, apprenticeship programs recorded the third-highest revenue in their history.