Ironworkers install structural and reinforcing iron and steel to form and support buildings, bridges, and roads.
A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required to enter an apprenticeship. Workers learning through on-the-job training may not need a high school diploma or equivalent. Courses in math, as well as training in vocational subjects such as blueprint reading and welding, are useful. Many ironworkers learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. Sponsors of apprenticeship programs, nearly all of which teach both reinforcing and structural ironworking, include unions and contractor associations.
Overall employment of ironworkers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Steel and reinforced concrete are an important part of commercial and industrial buildings.
Ironworkers perform physically demanding and dangerous work, often at great heights. Workers must wear safety equipment to reduce the risk of falls or other injuries.