- Could you work with heavy-duty machinery and solve heavy-duty problems?
- Do you like precise work?
- Are you good with your hands?
- Do you enjoy travel and working outdoors?
- Do you crave excitement and variety?
- Do you like working as part of a team?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Boilermaker could be right for you.
Boilermakers fabricate, assemble, install, test, maintain and repair boilers, vessels, tanks, towers, heat exchangers and other heavy-metal structures.
Boilermakers are employed in building manufacturing and power generation plants, in shipbuilding and on other industrial projects.
Boilermakers may specialize in rigging and hoisting, preparation and layout, or welding. Depending on your speciality, your duties may include the following:
- Building and installing boilers
- Laying out plate or sheet steel and marking cuts, bends and welds
- Fitting and welding metal sections together
- Maintaining and repairing boilers
- Directing crane operators during installation or repair of boilers
- Reading and interpreting blueprints
The standard work week for boilermakers is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next.
As a Boilermaker, you may work indoors or outdoors, usually on a construction site and with a team of other construction professionals. The job is physically demanding and often involves working with heavy machinery or power tools at heights.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Boilermakers are trained to work safely and wear special equipment to protect against injury.
Training and Certification
Apprenticeship involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Boilermaker, called a journeyperson.
As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 60 per cent of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.
Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for boilermaker apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. In most provinces and territories, you must be at least 18 years old and have a Grade 12 education or equivalent to enter the program. You may find it helpful to have courses in English and math.
Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as a Boilermaker.
Boilermaker apprenticeship programs vary across Canada, but generally involve three 12-month periods, including at least 4,500 hours of on-the-job training, four six-week blocks of technical training and a final certificate exam.
Related work experience or completion of a boilermaker program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.
Certification is required in Alberta and Quebec, and is available but voluntary in all other provinces and territories. Even where certification is voluntary, it is still recommended. Certification tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional. It also helps you get jobs.
To be certified as a Boilermaker, you usually need to complete a three- to four-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a journeyperson certificate.
You may be eligible for certification in some provinces and territories if you have more than four years of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses in boilermaking.
As a certified Boilermaker, you may write the Interprovincial Exam to qualify for the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal. With a Red Seal, you can work as a Boilermaker anywhere in Canada.
To keep your skills current, boilermakers must keep up with new technology developments by reading and talking with other boilermakers.
Anticipated In-Demand Regions
- British Columbia
- Ontario - Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
- Ontario - Southwest Region