What does a boilermaker do?
Boilermakers deal with boilers, closed vats, and other large containers that hold liquids and gases. They create boilers that hold other products such as oil, chemicals, and beer. They also help create and repair blast furnaces, storage and process tanks, smoke stacks, water treatment plants, and air pollution equipment. They set up refractory brick and other materials that are heat resistant in pressure vessels and fireboxes. Some also install and maintain large pipes that are used in dams. To increase efficiency, boilermakers regularly maintain and upgrade the components of boilers such as heating components, boiler tubes, and ducts. They examine boiler controls, feed pumps, fittings, valves, water and pressure gauges, and auxiliary machinery.
What kind of training does a boilermaker need?
Boilermakers must have at least a high school diploma. Most learn their skills through formal apprenticeship programs. Some complete training from technical and trade schools. Apprenticeship programs typically consist of 4 years of paid on the job training or 6,000 hours with a minimum of 144 hours every year in classroom education. Apprentices learn set-up and assembly rigging, blueprint reading, plate and pressure welding, and layout. Many aspiring boilermakers complete welding training or certification to gain priority in apprenticeship programs. Boilermakers must stay up to date on advancements in technology, procedures, and equipment and they often attend continuing education courses and seminars throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a boilermaker?
Employment of boilermakers is projected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The constantly increasing population and the need to maintain and upgrade current boilers will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be excellent due to profession being physically demanding and hazardous. Boilermakers with extensive experience, especially in welding will have the best prospects. A large number of job openings will stem from the need to replace boilermakers that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.
How much do boilermakers make?
As of October 2009, the middle 50% of boilermakers earn annual salaries between $32,171 and $40,024. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $44,345 (2).
A career as a boilermaker is a great choice for people with a strong interest in developing, installing, maintaining, and repairing a variety of boilers. Boilermakers must have good physical strength and stamina to deal with heavy tools and equipment. Manual dexterity, detail orientation, patience, and motivation are desirable characteristics. Boilermakers must also be able to work with potentially dangerous equipment. They must be able to work under stress and pressure when equipment is shutdown for maintenance.