How to Become
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
A millwright is a tradesperson whose responsibility is to troubleshoot and maintain industrial infrastructure and mechanical equipment in job sites like power plants or construction sites. This profession requires welding skills and a lot of physical effort. Millwrights typically earn more money in utilities than other sectors.
This informative guide will show you how to become a millwright. You will learn about salaries, responsibilities, and professional requirements.
What Is a Millwright?
A millwright is an industrial mechanic who is in charge of maintaining, repairing, or installing machinery and equipment. The original role of a millwright was to construct wind-powered or water-powered mills such as paper mills, flour mills, sawmills, and fulling mills. That’s why this profession is considered one of the oldest engineering trades.
Today, due to the technological advancements in industrial machinery, millwrights only work with the maintenance of these tools, such as aligning electric motors. It’s important to mention that the term millwright is mostly used in the United States and Canada. Other countries refer to these professionals as industrial mechanics.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Millwright?
Industrial mechanics have a pretty technical job, so you’ll need the appropriate job training. To become a professional millwright, you need to have a high school diploma, complete an apprenticeship program, and start logging work hours. You may also get an Associate Degree in Industrial Maintenance or a technical diploma, but it’s not required.
Best Millwright Education Tracks
There are several types of programs you can attend to gain training for a millwright career. The following list will show you some of the most common millwright education tracks.
Most trade schools offer apprenticeship programs. This is an on-the-job training program needed to become a millwright. You will learn fundamentals in class but spend most of your time practicing at work.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), apprentices are paid about half of their skilled counterparts, and the average duration of the program is four years.
In community college, you can also join an apprenticeship certificate program. They usually last around two years and their curricula offer opportunities for hands-on experience. This is a great way to start your career as a millwright since it’s short-term and less expensive than a traditional university.
While studying at community college, you can complete the requirements for an Associate Degree in Industrial Maintenance or Maintenance Technology. This will help you start a career as a millwright.
Any degree higher than an associate, such as a bachelor’s degree, is more than you need. Besides being expensive, traditional universities struggle to prepare students for the workforce.
There are many millwright courses out there that can help you build a strong foundation in this profession. However, they are usually introductory courses, so you should eventually earn an associate degree or a technical diploma to obtain more advanced knowledge.
How to Become a Millwright: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are several steps you should follow to become a millwright. This is a highly technical profession that requires a mix of in-classroom theories and on-the-job training. Check the following guide to get detailed instructions.
Get a basic education.
The first thing to do is to graduate from high school. From there, it’s up to you to decide how much further to go in your education. You can earn an associate or bachelor’s degree if you wish, but you can get hired as a millwright without one.
Complete an apprenticeship.
A four-year apprenticeship program will give you the experience you need to start working as a millwright, all while being paid.
Create your resume.
At this point, you should have the experience and qualifications needed for this profession, so it’s time to create your resume. You should showcase the experiences that highlight your skills as an industrial mechanic.
Look for a job.
Now it’s time to get out there and start working. Your resume, your skills, and your attitude should help you give a good impression during interviews.
Key Millwright Skills
A millwright installs massive industrial equipment. They must be able to work with heavyweight equipment, so they should have coordination skills, precision, and a clear communication style, among other technical and soft skills.
Below we have listed some of the most fundamental millwright skills.
Blueprints are part of the millwright’s daily life. Therefore, you should be able to read, interpret, and analyze blueprints and mechanical drawings. A millwright should also be able to identify errors in the blueprint and fix them.
Troubleshooting Mechanical Systems
As a millwright, you should know about all types of mechanic systems. This way, you can maintain them and provide troubleshooting services when necessary. Some of the systems you will be repairing or maintaining include stationary industrial machinery, robotic and automated systems, and mechanical equipment.
A millwright usually uses their welding skills to join mechanic parts and repair them. This is a crucial competency you should have if you want to become a millwright in the future.
Preventive Industrial Maintenance
Most companies prefer to pay for preventive maintenance before spending a significant amount of money on repairs. That’s why a skilled millwright should be equipped with preventive industrial maintenance skills. You will undertake regular checkups to identify potential issues in the industrial equipment and address them at the source.
Millwright Salary and Job Outlook
According to 2020 figures, BLS estimates that the average millwright salary is $54,920, which is significantly higher than the national median income. This is because a millwright’s working conditions demand high levels of physical effort. This figure can also be higher, depending on the work experience and qualifications.
Furthermore, in data published by BLS, the demand for millwrights is expected to grow 13 percent over the next eight years. This is much higher than average, in part because the manufacturing sector continues to expand every day, and more millwrights are needed to maintain all the heavy equipment.
Entry-Level Millwright Job Requirements
Although it may seem like a rudimentary trade, most companies require millwright candidates to have some education. Some companies prefer candidates to have an associate degree, and all millwrights need to complete a formal apprenticeship program. The idea is to have enough education and work experience to validate your skills.
What Does a Millwright Do?
Millwright craftsmen have a large set of responsibilities. These include welding mechanic parts, installing industrial equipment, maintaining mechanic systems, and troubleshooting them if they need to be repaired or replaced.
Installs Machinery and Equipment
The task that requires the most manual labor and physical effort is installing machinery and equipment. It is also one of the most vital roles of a millwright. They should also reallocate or remove parts of the equipment if necessary.
Aligns and Repairs Machinery Parts
A millwright should align machinery parts and repair them when they are broken. The alignment of industrial equipment could significantly improve a company’s overall operations.
Maintains Mechanic Systems
Preventive maintenance is a key responsibility of a millwright. You will evaluate the systems to make sure everything is on the right track. If there is a potential threat, you will notify the client so they can find an efficient solution that falls within the company’s budget. The idea is to act in advance.
Although some professional organizations offer certifications for millwrights, you don’t need a license to start working. As long as you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you’re good to go.
How to Prepare for Your Millwright Job Interview
When up for a millwright job, you must be able to highlight your skills, appear confident, and pay close attention to the interviewer’s questions. To ace the interview, you should research the company in advance to understand the dynamics of the business and gauge how you can improve their mechanic systems.
Check the following list to get an idea of what the interviewer may ask.
Millwright Job Interview Practice Questions
- Which type of safety equipment do you use to protect yourself when working with machinery tools?
- Are you familiar with schematic designs? If so, which ones can you name?
- How did you prepare for this career? What training did you receive?
- Do you possess diagnostics and maintenance skills?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Millwright?
It takes about four years to become a millwright, which is how long the average apprenticeship lasts. You may also opt to add a two-year associate degree. To be fully proficient in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the job, you should plan to invest the full six years to become a millwright.
Should You Become a Millwright in 2021?
This is a profession that requires a lot of manual labor and practical skills. You should become a millwright if you think you are prepared for this type of challenge. This is a relatively high-paying and in-demand trade, making it easier for you to find a job.
Where do millwrights make the most money?
According to Zippia, the city where millwrights make the most money is Sacramento. There are several municipalities where millwrights are in high demand, but this city is known for offering the best salaries.
What are the risks of being a millwright?
This is a profession that involves a lot of mechanical work. Therefore, there is potential for injuries and accidents during working hours.
Do millwrights weld?
Millwrights are not welders. However, they need to have welding skills because they constantly repair metallic parts in mechanical systems. Therefore, they will eventually have to use their welding skills for troubleshooting.
Is a millwright an engineer?
Historically, the millwright profession is one of the oldest engineering trades. However, a millwright’s duties in today’s world require more physical labor, so it’s typically not considered an engineering career anymore.