Structural iron and steel worker essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $46,140
- 2012, number of jobs: 57,070
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 22 percent
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Structural iron and steel workers; what they do:
The job requirements of steel workers are physically demanding and highly dangerous. Not only do structural iron and steel workers need the training necessary to install steel beams and columns to form bridges, buildings, and other structures but they also require incredible balance, stamina and the ability to deal with the ever increasing heights of today’s buildings and skyscrapers.
An iron worker career includes unloading materials and lifting heavy girders, steel beams and columns with cranes, working with crane operators to make sure the steel materials are correctly positioned, aligning and confirming all beams and girders are in correct horizontal or vertical positions and connecting columns and beams through bolts and welding and manipulating. An iron worker career also includes cutting the steel with tools such as torches and shears.
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Structural iron and steel worker job titles:
- Tower Hand
- Hydraulic Ironworker
- Steel Fabricator
- Steel Worker
- Structural Steel Erector
- Fitter / Welder
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Education, Certification and License Requirements
Typically, structural iron and steel workers need a high school diploma or equivalent and either formal or informal apprenticeships through technical colleges, businesses or unions to enter the field.
Apprenticeships can take up to 4 years to complete; for each year in training workers must earn a minimum of 144 hours of technical training and at least 2,000 hours of paid, on-site instruction.
Ironworker education includes learning how to use tools and equipment, how to reinforce and install metal frameworks as well as how to cut and install rebar, how to read blueprints and follow safety requirements. Ironworker education also includes math and construction basics. Once this training is complete, steel workers can perform tasks independently as a journey worker.
American Welding Society for Certification provides certification for ironworkers seeking certification for welding skills.
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Structural Iron and Steel Workers Job Outlook
Forecast: 22 percent employment growth for iron and steel workers from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
The increase need for steel workers stems from more federal funding allocated to maintaining and replacing older highways and bridges. In addition, steel is essential in constructing commercial and industrial buildings. Those with military backgrounds, certified in welding and rigging and living in urban areas have the best chance of employment.
Structural Iron and Steel Workers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $46,140
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $65,510
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $34,060
- Foundation, structure and building exterior contractors
- Heavy and civil engineering construction
- Nonresidential building construction