what is a boilermaker?

As a boilermaker, you assemble or create tanks, furnaces and heavy metallic structures. You fabricate metal and install tanks and heat exchangers for industrial functions. You also test their functionality to ensure they achieve the desired standards. As a boilermaker, you could be responsible for fabricating tanks like those used in a hydroelectric power station. You also manage issues related to boilers and large metallic structures used for heating fluids or circulating heat through a building.

Boilermakers work in various industries that rely on heating and cooling processes or the storage of materials in metallic structures. Hence, boilermakers are often employed in chemical plants, oil refineries, mining companies and the iron and steel industries. Factories, ships and buildings use tanks and vats to store large products and volumes of materials or to manufacture chemicals. As a boilermaker, you construct the vessels and install heat-resistant materials in tanks and vats. You also perform maintenance duties like ensuring the pipes used in dams to transport water function properly.

As a boilermaker, you use hand and power tools to cut pieces for boilers and shape them during assembly. You also rely on metalworking machinery to prepare the edges before fitting the parts together using bolts and welders.

boilermaker jobs

average boilermaker salary

A boilermaker takes home an average income of $85,000 per year. The remuneration package usually matches your expertise, experience and industry. For instance, an apprentice is likely to earn a lower salary of $75,000 annually. Still, they make more as they acquire additional skills and expertise. Skilled boilermakers can take home a package of $95,000 per year.

In companies that pay hourly salaries, the rates range from $40 to $55 based on the level of expertise. Boilermakers can increase their earnings by working overtime for higher hourly rates.

how to increase the salary of a boilermaker

Apprentices take home lower salaries compared to skilled boilermakers. Having additional years of experience also improves your expertise and salary prospects. While educational qualifications are not mandatory, having some certifications to showcase your skills improves your salary prospects.

Some industries pay higher salaries due to the complexity of tasks. For instance, working in oil refineries and hydroelectric power stations, you are likely to earn more due to the risks and job complexities. Working in iron and steel factories is expected to pay less since you perform basic welding and fabrication tasks.

Want to know what you will earn as a boilermaker? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

boilermaker salary

types of boilermakers

Some of the types of boilermakers include:

  • journeyman boilermaker: someone who has successfully  completed an apprenticeship program and has minimal experience in the role. They offer support to skilled boilermakers as they learn the trade.
  • master boilermaker: you work without supervision since you are in charge of the boiler-making process. You also supervise other workers to ensure the boilers and tanks are created according to specifications.
male looking at mobile device
male looking at mobile device

working as a boilermaker

Working as a boilermaker allows you to contribute to industries that provide essential services to humanity. For instance, you work in water treatment plants, oil refineries and hydroelectric power generation plants. Let's explore the duties, work environment and job prospects for boilermakers.


education and skills

Most boilermakers join the industry through apprenticeship programmes, learning about tools, metals and processes. With extensive coursework and on-the-job training, boilermaker apprenticeships take three to four years. You should be 18 years old with a high school certificate to join the apprenticeship programme. You should complete a Certificate III in engineering and fabrication trade through the apprenticeship, and you can then seek employment as a journeyman boilermaker.

Aside from gaining practical skills and knowledge, ensure you have the right licences to work. For instance, you require a White Card to work in construction.

skills and competencies

You should supplement your formal qualifications with the following skills for success:

  • dexterity: you perform multiple tasks and must switch between them swiftly and efficiently. Manual dexterity and coordination help you switch tasks at short notice with minimal disruption to workflow.
  • attention to detail: you should follow instructions precisely and close attention to your surroundings. Your attentiveness to detail helps you install tanks and metallic structures correctly. Good observational skills are also helpful for identifying issues before they become major problems.
  • problem-solving skills: your job involves repairing heavy metallic structures and equipment. You rely on problem-solving skills to detect problems and find creative solutions to minimise disruptions.
  • mechanical skills: you need to build and repair tanks, vessels and boilers. You work with various machinery during the cutting, welding and installation processes. It is crucial to understand how the machines operate and make necessary adjustments.

FAQs about working as a boilermaker

Here are the most asked questions about working as a boilermaker:

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