How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Boilermaker: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $60,660
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 9.2%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

A boilermaker is expected to construct, maintain, repair or assemble steam boilers with a wide range of power and hand tools. In addition, they have to erect or run repairs on water treatment plants, air pollution equipment, smokestacks and storage tanks.

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What is a Boilermaker?


Boilermakers typically perform the following tasks on a daily basis:

  • Closely study designs, drawings and blueprints to assess work requirements and determine locations and dimensions of different parts.
  • Repair and replace any defective or broken valves, vessels, joints and pipes using hand or power tools, welding equipment and gas torches.
  • Use hand tools to install hand-holes, gauges, taps, manholes and feed-water connections in drums of water tube boilers.
  • Carry out inspections of any assembled vessels and its individual parts like fittings, safety and check valves, auxiliary components to ensure efficient operation.
  • Build different tanks and vats for use in chemical or oil storage and keeping other products.

Day In The Life

On a weekly to monthly basis, a boilermaker is in charge of attaching rigging and signalling the crane operator to lift mechanical parts into position. You will also install manholes, tubes, valves and gauges as needed using various tools. Working indoors as well as outdoors, you will examine various equipment including boilers and pressure vessels for leaks, defects and weak spots for repairs. It is crucial that you carry out routine checks of machinery and focus on developing new ways of executing maintenance. You might be working at a mine or manufacturing plant setting where there will be exposure to different temperatures and humidity as well as other stressors.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

As a boilermaker, you will be working full time and might have certain periods of overtime when equipment is closed for maintenance purposes. Another factor for working overtime is keeping up with fast-approaching deadlines, especially when its spring and fall when there’s more demand.

Your job will give you the opportunity to travel frequently to address issues at worksites so living away from home for a long time is quite common. While performing the job, you may have to take on rotating shifts in a 24/7/365 operation, lift up to fifty pounds during the course of the day and work in an environment with risk of toxic chemicals, explosives, airborne particles and electrical shock.

Growth Of The Job

Jobs in this field are projected to grow at 4% until 2022, which is fairly average as per other occupations. Chiefly, boilermakers are required for installation and maintenance purposes at power plants as well as for upgrading varied electrical generation systems. Expanding industries will bring on the need for boilermakers to install new pressure vessels and boilers, water treatment units, air pollution systems and more. Since each boiler lasts more than 50 years, they will require professionals to keep a close watch as a continuous maintenance process.

Typical Employers

In this role, you will find promising work opportunities among industries such as non-residential building construction, boiler and tank manufacturing, utility systems construction and as building equipment contractors. Your work involves working on a dam, boiler, storage tank or pressure vessel at hundreds of feet off the ground. You can find employment with Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Granite Services International, EVRAZ North America, Pacific Shipyards International, LLC and Caliber Services, LP.

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How To Become a Boilermaker

You must possess a minimum of a high school diploma or GED in order to apply for entry-level positions in this industry. Excelling in subjects like mathematics and welding will prove useful on the job.

Most professionals learn this skills of the trade by completing a four to five years long apprenticeship which includes both technical training and paid on-the-job training. During this time, you would familiarize yourself with the foundations of welding, metals and installation methods, reading blueprints and building designs, construction processes, safety procedures and first aid techniques. Post-apprenticeship, you will likely be paired with an experienced worker while performing tasks under their expert guidance.

In addition, one must demonstrate high endurance levels due to the strenuous nature of the work involving lifting heavy boiler parts. Much of the work is carried out in cramped spaces inside boilers or vats, so claustrophobia is a big no. Due to the significant risk working in these structures present, you will have to be comfortable wearing various protective gear most of the day such as hardhats, safety glasses, earplugs, protective clothing and respirators.

Boilermaker Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Boilermaker salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Boilermaker's can make an average annual salary of $60,660, or $29 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $47,800 or $23 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #260 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Boilermakers

  • 0.3%   Doctorate
  • 0.4%   Masters
  • 2.5%   Bachelors
  • 7.5%   Associates
  • 30.9%   College
  • 48.8%   High School
  • 9.6%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Boilermaker job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 1,600 jobs for a total of 19,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 9.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #232 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Boilermakers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors 3,200 500 0%
Boiler, tank, and shipping container manufacturing 1,400 200 0%
Electrical contractors and other wiring installation contractors 1,200 200 0%

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