Ironworkers install structural and reinforcing iron and steel to form and support buildings, bridges, and roads.
Ironworkers perform physically demanding and dangerous work, often working at great heights. As a result, workers must wear safety harnesses to reduce the risk of falling.
How to Become an Ironworker
Although most ironworkers learn through an apprenticeship, some learn on the job. Certifications in welding, rigging, and signaling can be helpful for new entrants.
Employment of ironworkers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. The construction of large projects, such as high-rise buildings, is expected to drive employment growth, as will the need to rehabilitate, maintain, and replace an increasing number of older roads and bridges. Job opportunities should be best in metropolitan areas, where most large construction projects take place.
This occupation supported 73,600 jobs in 2012 and 80,100 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 8.8%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 22.0% in 2022 to 89,800 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 76,800, compared with an observed value of 80,100, 4.3% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 9.8% in 2024 to 87,300 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 93,000 jobs for 2024, 6.5% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.