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A boilermaker installs and repairs large vessels that contain various liquids and gases. You don't need a formal education to become a boilermaker, as a formal apprenticeship is the common starting point.
Apprenticeship and Training
A high school diploma is normally required for boilermakers. Taking extra math classes and welding during high school is good preparation for training. The standard apprenticeship is four or five years. It includes 144 classroom hours and at least 2,000 hours of hands-on training. You may finish earlier with prior experience. During the training, you learn to read blueprints, follow safety procedures and use equipment and tools common to projects.
Certification and Skill Development
A key way to get ahead in a competitive field is to get certified in welding. Quality experience combined with certification is a significant advantage. Physical strength and stamina are key skills for a boilermaker. Strength helps in moving and lifting heavy tools and equipment. Stamina helps you work efficiently over long days on your feet. Boilermakers often work at tall locations or in confined spaces. Comfort with heights and climbing inside storage containers are important as well.
2016 Salary Information for Boilermakers
Boilermakers earned a median annual salary of $62,060 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, boilermakers earned a 25th percentile salary of $49,610, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $75,500, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 17,200 people were employed in the U.S. as boilermakers.
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