What is an Apprentice?


• We don’t go to the office we build it!
• Help build the skyline of your city.
• Learn a skill that separates you from the rest of the pack.

• The construction trade is projected to grow by 19% by 2018.
• Construction tradesmen are paid on average 33% more per week than the rest of Americans.
• The average age of a welder in the United States is 55 years old. 50,000 welders retire a year. (We need you to step up and fill the gap).
• You can advance. There is a great need for Foremen, General Foreman, Superintendents and Project Managers.   

• 39% of college graduates will take 10 plus years paying off student loans.
• Learn the most current and cutting edge skills in the Ironworking Industry through Apprentice Training. 

• Livable wages
• Health care
• Retirement               


Ironworking has many sectors. Each sector involves challenging and difficult work, often on tall structures at high elevations. Ironworkers must be willing to work as part of a team. They must be able to meet rigid standards and deadlines. They must have a good sense of balance and be alert to potential danger to themselves and others. Structural Ironworkers
• Unload, erect and connect fabricated iron beams to form the project skeleton.
• Work primarily on industrial, commercial and large residential buildings.
• Build towers, bridges, stadiums and prefabricated metal buildings.
• Erect and install pre-cast beams, columns and panels.

Ornamental Ironworkers
• Install metal windows into a building’s masonry or wooden openings.
• Erect curtain wall and window wall systems that cover the steel or reinforced concrete structure of a building.
• Install and erect metal stairways, catwalks, gratings, doors, railings, fencing, elevator fronts and building entrances.          

Reinforcing Ironworkers
• Fabricate and place steel bars (rebar) in concrete forms to reinforce structures.
• Place rebar on appropriate supports and tie them together with tie wire.
• Install post-tensioning tendons (cables) to place in concrete forms along with reinforcing steel.
• Stress the tendons using hydraulic jacks and pumps after the concrete is poured and hardened.              

Rigging and Machinery Moving Ironworkers
• Load, unload, move and set machinery, structural steel and curtain walls.
• Operate power hoists, cranes, derricks, forklifts and aerial lifts.
• Have knowledge of fiber line, wire rope, hoisting equipment and proper hand signals.   

Welding and Burning Equipment
• Are considered tools of the trade and performed by structural, reinforcing, ornamental and rigging ironworkers to secure their work to the structure. Ironworkers can be tested to be designated a certified welder.


Apprentices have a long history dating back to ancient Greece when young workers entered a term of service, now called indenture-ship, to a skilled tradesman to learn his craft. Things are much the same today. Currently, an apprentice is an employee who learns a skilled trade through planned, supervised work on-the-job, while at the same time receiving related technical classroom instruction. Apprentices are required to sign an indenture agreement with their Joint Apprenticeship Committee/Trade Improvement Committee that spells out the requirements and expectations of an apprentice ironworker.

Apprentices are taught the proper use, care, and safe handling of the tools and equipment used in connection with their work and, of course, the important skills necessary to become a successful tradesperson.                

While working on-the-job and acquiring skills, apprentices are a regular part of the work force on whom contractors and co-workers rely. But remember that apprentices are also required to attend ironworking school and complete the prescribed courses related to the trade in order to complement their on-the-job training. Apprentices will receive an evaluation about every 6 months to determine if they are learning the craft. If the on-the-job or schoolwork is not satisfactory, they may be dropped from the program or sent back to repeat that segment of training. If, however, the work is good they will receive a pay raise. That’s right, pay raises usually occur every 6 months! 

What can I expect of an Ironworker Apprenticeship Program?

Most ironworker apprenticeships last 3 or 4 years depending on the local union requirements. An ideal schedule provides equal training in structural, reinforcing, ornamental, welding, and rigging. The actual length of training for each subject may vary depending on the predominant type of work available in the local area.          

Apprentices are required to receive at least 204 hours of classroom and shop instruction during every year of training. The subjects taken in the shop and classroom complement the hands-on training received in the field. The subjects include blueprint reading, care and safe use of tools, mathematics, safety issues, welding and oxy-acetylene flame cutting.      

What is expected of ironworker apprentices?
• Complete cooperation and willingness to learn
• Regular school attendance
• Dependability on the job
• The ability to work as part of a team
• The development of safe work habits
• Perform a day’s work for a day’s pay 
• Be drug and alcohol free


If you possess the following qualities and are looking for a career that will maximize your potential, you just might have what it takes to become an ironworker.
• Do you like to be able to see the work you've done at the end of the day?
• Do you take pride in providing quality work that meets demanding standards?
• Do you like to work as part of a team?
• Do you like to work outdoors?
• Are you willing to do physically demanding work that requires you to use your mind too?
• Would you like to earn a respectable wage while going to school to learn new skills and perhaps even a college degree?
• Are you interested in a career rather than "just a job?"
• Do you enjoy new challenges?             

• Constant standing and walking indoors and outdoors, at times on uneven terrain
• Frequent lifting, carrying tools, equipment and/or metal stock up to 50 pounds 
• Occasional climbing stairs, ladders and/or scaffolding 
• Constant bending and/or twisting at waist, knees and/or neck while performing job functions 
• Constant kneeling and/or crouching while performing duties at or near ground level 
• Frequent working in awkward positions and cramped spaces 
• Constant use of both hands and arms in reaching, handing or grasping, with frequent overhead reaching required while using tools and equipment necessary in job performance 
• Constant use of vision in performing duties and in maintaining a safe work environment 
• Sight requirements include hand/eye/foot coordination & visual acuity in near- and mid-range 
• Constant use of speech and hearing abilities in communication with coworkers & supervisors       

• Constant mental alertness and attention to detail to maintain a safe work environment 
• Must be able to plan and organize work for completion of assignments in a timely manner 
• Must possess good mechanical aptitude and spatial reasoning abilities in order to develop procedures and determine best method to accomplish desired results 
• Must possess good mathematical skills including fractions, decimals, algebra and trigonometry in order to do calculations in fabrication work 
• Must be able to read and understand technical information and standards, manuals, Material Safety Data Sheets, work orders, blueprints and diagrams 
• Must be able to read, write, speak and understand English