Boilermakers have the primary responsibility for the building, maintenance and making the necessary repairs to boilers and closed vats. Boilers are used for the heating of liquids, such as water, that are contained in a high-pressure environment to create electricity. They’re also used to provide heat in a number of structures, from buildings to ships. Boilermakers also do work such as building and maintaining blast furnaces, storage tanks, smokestacks and equipment that is used to reduce air pollution. They may also work on dams by helping to put up and maintenance piping that transports the water into an out of the turbines.
Boilermaker Job Responsibilities
When a separate sections of the boiler are created, the boilermaker weld sections together. This may be done by the individual or by a machine that the boilermaker has control over. If working on a smaller sized boiler, the worker may help to assemble the boiler at a plant. If it is a very large size, the pieces will be moved to the site and the boilermaker will work with others to assemble it there. These require maintenance over the life of their use, and the individual will help to inspect, upgrade various parts in the necessary repairs. Inspections of the boiler include looking at the controls, pressure gauges, fittings and various valves. At work was a bright if tools, such as power grinders and a settling and torches, which require strict attention to safety. They often have to also clean boilers, work at heights and must be very physically fit. The hours can also be very long and extensive travel to various sites may be required. The work requires lifting of heavy loads, so the individual will need to have the necessary strength and ability to handle this aspect of the job.
Having technical knowledge and skills are invaluable to this area of work. The individual must have excellent physical strength and endurance to do the work required. The ability to work well with your hands and manipulate tools is also a requirement. These put together with the apprenticeship training program help the individual to have a successful career in this area. Going through a full apprenticeship program is the best way to receive the entire spectrum of knowledge required in both technical and work skills. It also helps to improve the individual’s pay and chances of later promotion in their career as a boilermaker in the field.
Boilermaker Training and Education Requirements
For the aspiring boilermaker, entering an apprenticeship program is the primary route to getting the necessary training. These training programs are offered by a co-operative effort of a technical school and employer, the employer alone or a union. The individual will take part in a total of 6,000 hours of hands-on training while working, or approximately four years, which is paid. 144 hours of academic instruction supplements this. The academic work includes studying such areas as rigging assembly, welding, layout and reading of blueprints. Once the repression of this completed, the individual is given certification as a journey-level worker. To enter this type of program, the individual must be a minimum of 18 years of age, have a GED or high school diploma and can work in the United States. It is helpful to have training in areas such as welding before entering the program.
Boilermaker Salary and Wages
Work for boilermakers, by 2018, has expected growth by 19 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is mainly due to the need for increased upgrading and repair of current boilers in the years to come and to meet federal standards for environmental efficiency. The average salary for a boilermaker is approximately $52,260. The lowest salary is at or below $32,480, while the higher pay is at or above $76,160. Those working on their apprenticeships get paid, usually, at least half of the wages of an individual who is at the journey-worker level. They will also be in higher demand as federal regulations support the construction of alternative energy equipment, such as solar power plants.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Boiler Maker Certifications
Boiler makers are certified as journey-level workers when they finish their basic apprenticeship program. This gives individuals a better chance of advancing later on in their careers to supervisory positions. The individual can also receive outside certification in areas such as welding, which can be done through a community college or technical school program.
Boilermaker Professional Associations
Many boilermakers join unions to get support in negotiating wages and benefits with the companies they work for. These unions also help to sponsor the apprenticeship programs that give the training for entering the profession. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the International Association of Machinists and the United Steel Workers of America are just some of the unions that many are members of.