Ironworkers: Who Are They? How To Become One?

Ironworking is one of the most rewarding careers. If you want to become an ironworker, making a career in welding can help you attain your goals. Here you will learn 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 without an 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. However, you can get your GED by passing a test if you still need a high school diploma.

Become An Ironworker Helper

welding career

You can obtain employment as one to learn what it’s like to be an ironworker. In addition, these jobs can teach you the work situations and physical and safety requirements of ironworking to enable you to determine whether an ironworker welding career path is adequate for you.

Apply For Apprenticeship

Once you have a high school diploma, you can fill out an application with an ironworkers union and sit in a general knowledge exam. The examination includes reading comprehension and math, which is relevant for ironworking. In addition, some associations require you to pass a series of physical tests: 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 energy to work numerous hours doing heavy lifting. An apprenticeship examination for this 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 Apprenticeship Programs

The primary education prerequisite for ironworkers is an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are generally paid welding courses that enable you to learn the aptitudes of a trade. An ironworker apprenticeship can take four 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 with a more profound knowledge of ironworking and boost your ability to find a job after your training. 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 ironworking proficiency during the apprenticeship.
  • Types of ironworking: One can also learn about various kinds 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: Two tiers of rigging certification 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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