Boilermaker essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $56,560
- 2012, number of jobs: 17,660
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 21 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Boilermakers; what they do:
A boilermaker career attracts mechanically inclined individuals comfortable working in a variety of settings and conditions. Boilers are made of steel, iron, copper, or stainless steel and generate electric power and heat through heating water. Boilermakers work on boilers, tanks, and vats used in a variety buildings, ships and factories.
A boilermaker career includes installing new boilers and reading blueprints in order to locate already existing boilers to perform maintenance work on them. When building new boilers, boilermakers may use robotic or automatic welders. Boilermakers must also test and inspect their assembled boiler for existing or potential leaks or defects.
When cleaning vats, boilermakers use tools such as scarpers, wire brushes, and cleaning solvents. Typical boiler parts needing maintenance or repair include valves, pipes, or joints. When fixing these parts, boilermakers may use hand or power tools, gas torches, plumb bobs, levels, wedges, and turnbuckles and other welding equipment.
Boilermakers repair air pollution equipment and blasting furnaces and perform repair work at water treatment plants, they also work on storage and process tanks, repair smokestacks, install refractory brick and other heat-resistant materials in fireboxes or pressure vessels and install large pipes used in dams.
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Boilermakers job titles:
- Union Boiler Maker
- Boilermaker Mechanic
- Service Technician
- Boiler Technician
- Boiler Mechanic
- Boilermaker Pipe Fitter
- Boiler Welder
- Boilermaker Welder
Boilermakers Education, Certification and License Requirements
Boilermakers generally begin their career with a high school diploma (or equivalent) and a formal four to five year apprenticeship program. Having previous welding experience and certifications helps to increase the chances of getting accepted into a boilermaker apprenticeship program.
Boilermaker programs cover subjects such as:
- Installation techniques
- Blueprint reading and sketching
- Basic mathematics
- General construction techniques
- Rigging and boiler technology
- Safety practices
- First aid
Boilermakers are generally required to have a welder’s certification.
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Boilermakers Job Outlook
Forecast: 21 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for boilermakers, faster than the average for all occupations.
Much of the employment growth for boilermakers involves maintaining or upgrading existing boilers, rather than replacing them. Utility companies, in particular, need to upgrade boilers and scrubbing systems in order to comply with the Clean Air Act. The naturally increasing population also increases the demand for electric power.
- 2012 median annual wage: $56,560
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $69,610
- 2012, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $42,370
- Nonresidential building construction
- Building equipment contractors
- Utility system construction
- Boiler, tank, and shipping container manufacturing