Use iron to keep structures strong.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$26,000 – $80,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Ironworkers do?

As an Ironworker, you erect the bones of buildings and bridges. No structure can ever be built without you to turn the blueprint into reality.

Using your understanding of construction, welding, and fastening techniques, you turn custom-fabricated pieces of steel into a solid, sturdy structure, ready to withstand the test of time and the elements. Reinforcing Ironworkers, instead of assembling the main structure, put iron bars called rebar into place to support decks and flooring, as well as the forms that hold concrete.

The job of an Ironworker changes every day. As the project progresses, you do different things to see it through to completion. Before you even get to the job site, you study blueprints and help fabricate the steel parts that will go into creating the finished structure. Once they’ve been produced, you start working on site, offloading the components, and using a variety of heavy machinery (cranes, hoists, etc.) to create a foundation and raise the pieces into position.

Then the real fun begins. You fasten and weld everything together, using blueprints and safety standards to guide you. Of course, you work outside for most of the job.

Building bridges and giant office buildings is a big undertaking, but you’re not out there all alone. You’re part of a huge team, working together for a common goal. Teamwork and communication are vital to keeping everyone alive and well. That’s because you work with fire, electricity, powerful cutting devices, and giant slabs of iron suspended overhead.

Even though you’ll be wearing extensive safety gear (helmets, goggles, fireproof gloves and jackets), expect a few cuts, burns, and bruises along the way. But through adherence to safety procedures and good communication—using hand signals, flags, and radios—everyone makes it through.

Should I be an Ironworker?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Bridge Ironworker, Bridge Worker, Iron Erector, Iron Guardrail Installer, Ironworker Apprentice See More

    How to become an Ironworker

    Most Ironworkers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Bachelor's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9aaaaa&chl=no+college+%2869%25%29|certificate+%2830%25%29||bachelor%27s+%281%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,69,69
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