Ironworkers: Who Are They? How To Become One?

Ironworking can become a rewarding career in the real world, as ironworkers can help create skyscrapers, bridges, and highways that are part of daily life. If you want to be an ironworker, making a career in welding can help you attain your career goals. Here you will get to know what an ironworker is and how to become an ironworker or accomplish your career in welding.

What Is An Ironworker?

An ironworker is a person who cuts, builds, welds, and places structural steel and iron in roads, buildings, and bridges. Their work reinforces structures to enhance their safety and durability. Some ironworkers specialize in a region of ironworking, while others perform several tasks on the welding job.

There are two tiers for ironworkers in the U.S.:

  • Apprentice: An apprentice ironworker can begin with no understanding of ironworking and learn the needed trade skills to become a journeyman ironworker.
  • Journeyman: After passing an exam, an apprentice ironworker can become a journeyman. They can work independently for higher wages than an apprentice.

How To Become An Ironworker?

If you are interested in becoming an ironworker, here is a guide you can take up to plan your career:

Earn A High School Diploma 

An ironworker apprenticeship needs you to complete a high school diploma or welding certification and be eighteen. If you have not received a high school diploma, you can attain your GED by passing an exam.

welding certification

Become An Ironworker Helper 

You can find work as an ironworker to understand what it is like to be an ironworker. In addition, these jobs can teach you the work situations, physical and safety requirements of iron working to enable you to determine whether an iron worker welding career path is adequate for you.

Apply For Apprenticeship 

Once you have earned a high school diploma, you can fill an application with an ironworkers union and sit in a general knowledge exam. The examination includes reading comprehension and math that is relevant for ironworking. Some unions also need you to pass a series of physical tests to start an apprenticeship. Here are some areas of physical ability for apprentice ironworkers:

  • Balance: Ironworkers depend on their sense of balance to save them from any harm.
  • Heights: An ironworker accomplishes their duties hundreds of feet above the ground, so an apprenticeship examination may include elements that test your abilities to work from great heights.
  • Physical strength: Ironworkers can lift heavy beams into place, so physical strength is essential. Apprenticeship physical examinations can include tasks assessing your ability to lift objects weighing seventy-five pounds or more.
  • Physical stamina: With physical strength, ironworkers also require physical stamina to spend numerous working hours doing heavy lifting. An apprenticeship examination for stamina could include carrying a forty-five-pound object up and down a set of stairs in a specific time frame.
  • Hand-eye coordination: Ironworkers can utilize hand-eye coordination to attain more accuracy in their work and remain safe on the jobs in welding. An apprenticeship examination can evaluate your coordination and your physical strength.

Become An Apprentice 

welding course

The main education prerequisite for ironworkers is an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are generally paid welding course opportunities that can enable you to learn the aptitudes of a trade. During an apprenticeship, you can understand reinforcement and structural iron working through a mix of lessons and hands-on work. An ironworker apprenticeship can take 4 years to complete.

Earn An Associate Degree 

You can also take additional welding classes to earn an associate degree during your apprenticeship. This can provide you a deeper knowledge of ironworking and boost your ability to find a job after your apprenticeship. Here are some ironworking subjects you can study to earn an associate degree:

  • Hazardous materials: Increasing your knowledge of hazardous materials in ironworking can help you improve your safety knowledge on the job.
  • Blueprint reading: One can learn to read blueprints to supplement the iron working proficiency during the apprenticeship.
  • Types of ironworking: One can also learn about several types of ironworking. This can enable you to find an area of ironworking to specialize in.

Earn Certifications 

You can attain certifications in the following areas to improve your ability to work on a job site:

  • Welding: One can earn certification in welding to show your ability and knowledge of appropriate welding safety practices to employers.
  • Crane signaling: One can obtain a certification in crane signaling to understand crane safety hazards and verbal and nonverbal signaling.
  • Rigging: There are two tiers of rigging certification that can teach the person inspection, safety, signaling, lift points, and load dynamics.

PTTI is one the top trade schools for you to earn certification in welding and kick start your career.

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