BOILERMAKERS make, install, and repair boilers, vats, and other large vessels that hold liquids and gases. Boilers are used to supply steam to drive huge turbines in electric power plants and to provide heat or power in buildings, factories, and on ships. Boilers and other high-pressure vessels are usually made in sections by casting each piece out of molten iron or steel. Boilermakers follow blueprints and weld boiler sections together, often using automated orbital welding machines. Small boilers may be assembled in the manufacturing plant, while larger boilers are usually assembled on site.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $51,500 average per year ($24.75 per hour)
- A small occupation (19,000 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.9% per year)
Apprenticeship programs are the best way to learn the BOILERMAKER trade. Programs usually consist of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Many people become boilermakers by working as helpers to experienced boilermakers. Employers prefer to hire high school or vocational school graduates. Courses in mathematics, blueprint reading, welding, machine metalworking, and shop are useful. The American Boiler Manufacturers Association offers seminars on boiler equipment, operation, maintenance, and safety. No special licensing or certification is required for boilermakers, however most boilermakers belong to labor unions.