Career Development

What Does a Boilermaker Do?

Find out what a boilermaker does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a boilermaker.

Boilermakers are skilled tradespeople who build, install and repair boilers, tanks and other industrial equipment. They work with a wide range of materials including steel, copper, brass, aluminum and various alloys.

Boilermakers typically begin their careers as apprentices, where they learn about the basics of the trade while working under the supervision of more experienced workers. Once they complete their apprenticeships, they can apply for full-time positions as boilermakers or move into supervisory roles.

Boilermaker Job Duties

Boilermakers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Inspecting and measuring materials such as iron or steel pipe to ensure they meet industry standards
  • Maintaining boilers, including cleaning out debris, repairing leaks, and performing other maintenance tasks
  • Repairing or replacing faulty equipment or systems in power plants or factories
  • Installing or repairing pipes in buildings, such as in plumbing and HVAC systems
  • Repairing or replacing valves and gauges on boilers and other equipment used in industries such as chemical processing, steel manufacturing, paper production, plastics manufacturing, energy production, and food processing
  • Installing and repairing equipment such as piping systems and pressure vessels used in heating systems and industrial processes
  • Measuring equipment for installation purposes, such as measuring the diameter of pipes and cutting them to proper lengths
  • Inspecting equipment for possible defects or malfunctions and making repairs as necessary
  • Repairing, replacing, or fabricating parts for boilers or other equipment using handtools, machine tools, and welding equipment

Boilermaker Salary & Outlook

Boilermakers are typically paid hourly, and their salaries can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of experience, the company size, and the geographic location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $102,000 ($49.04/hour)

The employment of boilermakers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will largely be driven by the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. However, automation may limit the number of new jobs for boilermakers. Some boilermakers may be displaced and find work in other occupations that require similar skills, such as pipefitters and welders.

Boilermaker Job Requirements

Boilermakers typically need to have the following background:

Education: Boilermakers typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some boilermakers choose to earn an associate’s degree in industrial maintenance technology. This two-year program includes courses in mathematics, blueprint reading, thermodynamics, and chemistry.

Training & Experience: Most boilermakers receive on-the-job training from their employer after they are hired. This training helps the boilermaker learn the specific safety and operational procedures for their company. It also allows them to become familiar with the machinery and equipment they will be working with.

Boilermakers can also receive training through apprenticeships. Apprenticeships allow individuals to learn the skills and knowledge they need to become boilermakers while earning a wage. Apprenticeships typically last between four and five years.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Boilermaker Skills

Boilermakers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Machinery repair: Boilermakers often work with machinery that’s in good condition, but they may also work with machinery that’s malfunctioning. Having the ability to repair machinery is an important skill for boilermakers to have. They may use tools like wrenches and screwdrivers to repair machinery.

Welding: Welding is the process of joining metal together. Boilermakers often use welding to create the boilers they build. Welding is a valuable skill for boilermakers to have because it allows them to complete their work more efficiently.

Metal fabrication: Boilermakers use metal fabrication skills to cut, shape and weld metal. They use these skills to build boilers and other large metal structures. Boilermakers use these skills to build and repair boilers, tanks, piping and other large metal structures. They use these skills to build and repair boilers, tanks, piping and other large metal structures.

Physical strength: Boilermakers use physical strength to lift heavy equipment and parts. They also use their physical strength to operate tools and machinery. Boilermakers need to be in good physical health to do their job well.

Problem-solving: Boilermakers use their problem-solving skills to troubleshoot issues with machinery and equipment. They also use this skill to find solutions to challenges that arise during the construction process. For example, boilermakers may need to find a way to transport large pieces of equipment or machinery to a job site.

Boilermaker Work Environment

Boilermakers work in a variety of settings, including power plants, factories, and construction sites. They may work outdoors in all types of weather, indoors in noisy and dusty conditions, or in confined spaces. Because boilermakers often work with heavy equipment and tools, the work can be physically demanding. In addition, boilermakers must be able to follow safety rules and regulations to protect themselves and others from injuries. Boilermakers typically work a 40-hour week, but they may work overtime, weekends, and holidays to meet deadlines. Some boilermakers travel to different job sites, and some may be required to relocate to where the work is located.

Boilermaker Trends

Here are three trends influencing how boilermakers work. Boilermakers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Boilermakers Will Be in High Demand

Boilermakers are in high demand as the need for heating and cooling systems increases. As more and more homes and businesses install new boilers, the need for qualified technicians will continue to grow.

Boilermakers can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in the latest technologies and learning how to install a wide range of systems. They can also become involved in industry associations and work to promote the profession as a whole.

The Boilermaker Profession is Becoming More Technical

The boilermaker profession is becoming more technical as new technologies are introduced into the industry. This means that boilermakers will need to be well-versed in these new technologies in order to keep up with the latest developments.

As new technologies are introduced into the industry, boilermakers will need to be able to install and maintain them. In order to do this, they will need to have a strong understanding of the technology being used. Additionally, boilermakers will need to be able to troubleshoot any problems that may occur during installation or operation.

Energy Efficiency Is Important

Energy efficiency is an important factor when it comes to choosing a boiler. Boilers that are energy efficient use less fuel and produce less emissions, which can save homeowners money on their utility bills.

As energy efficiency becomes more important, boilermakers will need to focus on creating products that are both efficient and safe. This will require them to have a deep understanding of the latest technologies and how they work.

How to Become a Boilermaker

Boilermakers have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can specialize in one area, such as welding or piping, or they can become generalists who are able to work in many different areas of the boilermaking trade. Boilermakers can also move up the ladder and become supervisors or even managers.

No matter what direction you choose, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and techniques used in the boilermaking industry. You can do this by attending training courses offered by your employer or by taking classes at a local community college.

Related: How to Write a Boilermaker Resume

Advancement Prospects

Boilermakers can advance to supervisory or managerial positions, such as crew leader, foreman, superintendent, or general foreman. With experience, some boilermakers may become estimators or project managers. Boilermakers also may become instructors or trainers in welding, safety, or other areas. Some boilermakers start their own businesses.

Boilermaker Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for an experienced boilermaker to join our team. The ideal candidate will have experience in the installation, repair, and maintenance of boilers and other pressure vessels. He or she will be responsible for reading and interpreting blueprints, as well as welding, fabricating, and assembling boiler components. The successful candidate will be able to work independently with minimal supervision, as well as part of a team. They will also be able to work safely and efficiently to meet deadlines.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Erect, align, and connect pipes, valves, fittings, and appurtenances to specifications, using plumb bobs, levels, transit, and/or other measuring instruments
  • Examine workpieces for defects and measure workpieces with straightedges or templates to ensure conformance with blueprints
  • Position and secure steel plates to bulkhead frames, using clamps, wire, and bolts
  • Signal crane operators to lower basic assemblies of large structures to workers on the ground
  • Study blueprint specifications to determine the locations, quantities, and sizes of materials required
  • Cut openings in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings, using hand and power tools
  • Hang steel sheets from overhead cranes to form vaults or wall sections
  • Join pipes by welding them together or using screw-type couplings, brackets, clamps, screws, bolts, cement, plastic solvent, caulking, or soldering, brazing, and welding equipment
  • Fill pipes or plumbing fixtures with water or air and observe pressure gauges to detect and locate leaks
  • Inspect, operate, and test completed pipelines and pipeline systems, using pressure gauge, hydrostatic testing, observation, or leak detection methods
  • Lay out full scale drawings of pipe systems, supports, and related equipment, following blueprints
  • Plan sequence of installation to avoid obstructions and to avoid interfering with activities of other workers

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • 4+ years experience as a boilermaker or welder
  • Trade certification as a boilermaker or welder
  • Ability to read and interpret technical drawings, blueprints, and schematics
  • Solid understanding of welding principles and techniques
  • Working knowledge of power tools and other equipment used in boilermaking
  • Physical strength and stamina for working long hours in challenging environments

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering or related field
  • 6+ years experience as a boilermaker or welder
  • Leadership experience
  • Safety training certification
  • First-aid certification

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