How To Become An Iron Worker In The United States

Iron Workers are known for their ability to build towers, bridges, and buildings. They are considered artisans and not just laborers because of their welding and riveting skills. 

Ironworkers are the backbone of most construction projects, building everything from bridges to residential buildings. And if you’re interested in developing this skilled trade, it’s not too difficult to start. In this article, you will find out how to become an iron worker in the United States.

What is An Iron Worker?

An ironworker fabricates, erects, and installs iron and steel structures. This can include bridges, buildings, scaffolding, and other large structures. Ironworkers typically have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education or training. Many ironworkers learn their trade through apprenticeships. 

Requirements For Becoming An Iron Worker

To become an iron worker in the United States, several requirements must be met. First, one must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Secondly, one must complete an apprenticeship program generally lasting three to four years. After completing an apprenticeship program, one must then pass a certification exam. Finally, one must be at least 18 and have a valid driver’s license.

What Do Iron Workers Do?

Ironworkers are responsible for constructing and maintaining iron and steel structures, including bridges, buildings, and other extensive infrastructure. They are trained in various skills, including welding, bolting, and rigging. Ironworkers typically work on construction sites but may also be employed in factories or shipyards.

Salary of Iron Workers

Ironworkers in the United States earn a median salary of $52,610 per year or $25.31 per hour. The top 10 percent of earners make more than $85,490 annually, while the bottom 10 percent earn less than $30,560 annually. Salaries vary by experience, education, and geographical location.

The Jobs You Can Do As An Iron Worker

As an iron worker, you can find employment in various settings. You can work in the construction industry, fabricating and erecting steel frameworks for buildings. You can also work in the railroad industry, maintaining and repairing tracks and bridges. In addition, ironworkers are employed in shipyards and welding shops.

Most ironworkers learn their trade through apprenticeships sponsored by unions or employer associations. Apprenticeship programs typically last three to four years and combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Ironworkers learn safety procedures, blueprint reading, mathematics, rigging, and welding during their apprenticeship.

After completing an apprenticeship program, ironworkers can become certified through the American Welding Society or the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. Certified ironworkers can demonstrate their skills to potential employers and earn higher wages.

If you’re interested in a career as an ironworker, research apprenticeship programs in your area to get started on your path to becoming a certified ironworker.

Tips For Landing Your Dream Job As a Professional Ironworker

So, you want to be an ironworker? Whether you’re looking for a new career or like to learn more about this fascinating trade, we’ve got some tips to help you get started.

First things first: what does an ironworker do? Ironworkers are responsible for erecting the steel skeletons of buildings and bridges. They install the beams and columns that will support the weight of the structure, as well as the stairs, railings, and other metalwork.

Becoming an ironworker takes hard work and dedication, but it can be a gratifying career. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Get Educated: While you don’t need a formal education to become an ironworker, completing an apprenticeship program is essential. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction and will give you the skills you need to be successful in this field.
  1. Start working As Soon As Possible: The sooner you start working, the sooner you’ll gain experience and start moving up the ladder. Many ironworkers begin as helpers or laborers before becoming journeymen or supervisors.
  1. Join A Union: Union membership gives you access to training programs, job opportunities, and other resources to help you succeed.
  1. Stay Safe: Ironworking is a dangerous occupation, so always follow safety procedures and use the proper safety equipment.
  1. Be Willing To Travel: Many ironworkers are required to travel for work, so you should be prepared to relocate if necessary.

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to landing your dream job as a professional ironworker.

Pros and Cons of Iron Worker Jobs


  • Can lead to a high-paying, stable career 
  • It can be very fulfilling and satisfying 
  • Ironworkers are in high demand across the United States
  • Ironworkers have excellent job security
  • It can offer a great sense of pride and accomplishment
  • It can provide an opportunity to learn new skills 
  • It can be a great way to support yourself and your family
  • Ironworkers have the chance to travel
  • Good benefits and job security
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Flexible working hours
  • Ironworkers receive on-the-job training


  • The work can be extremely physically demanding 
  • The result can be hazardous 
  • There can be long hours and difficult working conditions
  • There is a high rate of injury among ironworkers


If you’re thinking about becoming an iron worker in the United States, there are a few things you need to know. It’s essential to have a high school diploma or equivalent, you’ll need to complete an apprenticeship program, and you’ll need to pass a proficiency exam. Once you have all of that taken care of, you’ll be on your way to a successful career as an iron worker!

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