Structural Iron and Steel Workers: A Career in Building America

Structural Iron and Steel Workers: A Career in Building America

Structural iron and steel workers are the backbone of America’s construction industry, working to erect buildings, towers, and bridges. These workers install the structural framework that gives structures their stability and strength.

Some of the critical responsibilities of a structural iron and steel worker include cutting, aligning, and positioning steel beams or girders, bolting or welding them together, and installing rebar and reinforcing materials. These workers have an intimate knowledge of the metals they work with and can read blueprints and plans to ensure the structural integrity of the building.

The Job: Examples

While the primary responsibilities of structural iron and steel workers are consistent, their job sites can vary widely. Some examples of their work include:

  • Erecting skyscrapers and tall buildings
  • Constructing bridges and overpasses
  • Installing reinforcing steel for concrete construction
  • Repairing and retrofitting existing buildings
  • Setting up the framework for industrial plants and factories

Education and Training

Becoming a structural iron and steel worker requires a high school diploma or equivalent, followed by an apprenticeship program. These programs usually last three to four years and combine on-the-job training with formal classroom instruction.

Apprentices receive training in welding, rigging, safety, and blueprint reading, as well as instruction in specialized skills like using a crane or hoist to move materials. Workers who complete an apprenticeship program become journeypersons, with the skills and experience to work independently.

Career Advancement

Once a structural iron and steel worker has gained experience as a journeyperson, they can continue to advance in their career. Experienced workers may become supervisors, overseeing teams of workers, or move into specialized areas like welding. Some may choose to become contractors, starting their businesses.

Getting Started in the Field

For those interested in pursuing a career as a structural iron and steel worker, it’s essential to start with a strong foundation. Taking high school courses in math, science, and technical subjects can help prepare for the work. Many apprenticeship programs require applicants to be 18 years old or older with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Getting an apprenticeship requires determination and dedication. It involves being a motivated learner, willing to work hard and take risks. Apprenticeships are highly competitive, and apprentices must maintain good attendance, punctuality, and work ethic.

Job Level and Salary Data

The national average, job level, salary data for Structural iron and steel workers:

Job Level Type of Pay Average Salary (in USD) Average Hourly Wage (in USD)
Level 05 All Workers 61,235.20 29.44
Level 06 All Workers 69,908.80 33.61
Not able to be leveled All Workers 69,638.40 33.48
Intermediate All Workers 61,235.20 29.44
Experienced All Workers 73,860.80 35.52
All Levels Union 83,824.00 40.29
All Levels Nonunion 54,350.40 26.14
All Levels Full-time 65,166.40 31.35
Level 05 Full-time 61,235.20 29.44
Level 06 Full-time 70,616.00 33.95
Not able to be leveled Full-time 69,513.60 33.41
Intermediate Full-time 61,235.20 29.44
Experienced Full-time 74,547.20 35.85
All Levels Time-based pay 64,376.00 30.94

Effects of Union

As per the salary data listed above, unionized Structural iron and steel workers make significantly higher wages compared to non-unionized workers. Union contracts typically provide for higher wages, benefits, and job security.

Highest and Lowest Paying Regions

The average salary for Structural iron and steel workers varies based on the location of the job, with Wisconsin and Indiana as the highest and lowest paying regions, respectively.

In conclusion, becoming a structural iron and steel worker can be a fulfilling and rewarding career, with ample opportunities for growth. These workers play a vital role in building the nation’s infrastructure and work hard to ensure the safety, durability, and longevity of the buildings they erect. With dedication and commitment, anyone can start a career in this exciting field.