Many of the world’s largest auto manufacturers require factories in order to construct their goods on an industrial scale. Moreover, many power plants need incredible machines in order to supply adequate utilities to their communities. As such, many of these locations need to have enormous machines in order to put out these services at an incredible pace to keep up with what the current demands of the market are. Millwrights are primarily responsible with setting up and maintaining these machines.
Millwright Job Responsibilities
These men and women need to know everything there is to know about the machines in factories and power plants—this includes the assembly, maintenance, and disassembling procedures of large machines and equipment. They talk to the factory manager to ascertain the best location for the desired machine, then bring in all of the parts using fork lifts, cranes, and other large-scale moving equipment. Then, using a mixture of complicated instructions and knowledge of machinery, computer systems, and grand-scale construction, they piece together the machine and install it to fit the factory’s needs. They also need to be well versed in taking precise measurements to ensure that each installed machine functions at its maximum capacity. As well as assembling such large machines, millwrights need to be able to disassemble or preform maintenance on the machines they make for power plants. If a company or factory manages sees no need for the machines they’ve installed, millwrights will often help in the removal or selling of the equipment.
Millwright Training and Education Requirements
All millwrights, or anyone who is handling heavy machinery in an industrial environment, is required to have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. While most employers are more willing to take individuals who have studied at a trade school with specific courses in industrial technology, a background in mechanical drawing and mathematics will often suffice.
However, many millwrights-to-be will take part in an apprenticeship to learn more about the technical aspects and general nature of the work. These apprenticeships can take up to four years to complete and consist of a combination of on-site and classroom-based training. These opportunities are usually sponsored by the larger manufacturing company, involved unions, or even the local state government.
Millwright Salary and Wages
On average, millwrights earn between $14.37 and $37.02 per hour, the median wage being around $22. These wages can vary based on geographical location, industry, and whether or not the employees are unionized. On average, the best paying industry for millwrights is motor vehicle parts manufacturing, while animal slaughtering and processing pays the least. Machinery, supplies, and equipment merchant wholesale and plastics product manufacturing pay close to the median wage, while commercial and industrial machinery and equipment pays a little more than animal processing.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Certification is usually required to become a professional millwright, and training for this test is thus a large part of the four year millwright apprenticeship. As stated previously, prerequisites for the certification exam requires graduating from high school or obtaining a GED, as well as completing a four year apprenticeship or accumulating 7200 hours of working time. It is also required for candidates to be well-versed in all of the responsibilities of being a millwright: these include machine construction, maintenance, and deconstruction, the basic functioning of any of the machines they build, and the precise interpretation of blueprints. It should be noted, however, that every state has different requirements for completing the prerequisites and obtaining millwright certification. As a result of this, apprenticeships will offer extra classes and work time in order to assist their students to successfully pass the certification exam.
Millwright Professional Associations
Though there is no nationwide millwrights’ professional association, most millwrights are a part of a union, whether it is associated with their particular company or industry of choice. Unions come with the benefit of more support from colleagues and a commitment to professionalism for their craft—meaning that union members will push for newer entrants to receive their certification faster and perform up to certain standards. Furthermore, unions generally try to facilitate better communication between the workers and the factories in which they are working in, as to be able to get better equipment, benefits, and wages in general. However, some employers feel too pressured by union demands and may not look favorably upon new employees who may join a union. They might feel that the employees are trying to gather larger numbers as if to challenge the employer’s authority for the sake of higher wages and more vacation time. Once again, much like millwrights’ wages, it should be noted that all union activities and by-laws vary by state and industry—to this point, interested parties should definitely research the union’s presence in their area, as well as the employer’s relationship with their unions, before becoming a part of one.