It takes nerves of steel and muscles of iron, to work hundreds of feet above the ground, building structures that push up to merge with the clouds. Ironworkers have what it takes to help build the supporting structures for bridges, large buildings, and roads. Consulting sketches and blueprints to guide their work, ironworkers move prefabricated iron and steel by hand and signal crane operators to lift and position it. Using a variety of tools, they cut and shape the iron and steel, then weld or bolt it into place. Getting these heavy materials into the right, level position is key to structural integrity, and requires specialized tools to ensure it. It takes good balance and coordination, strength and stamina to make it in any specialty in this field. Structural iron and steel workers connect steel columns and girders for tall structures. Although wet, icy, or windy conditions can stop work, work is outdoors in most types of weather. With the risk of falls, cuts, and muscle strain, precautions must be taken. Reinforcing iron and rebar workers use steel and iron to strengthen concrete for highways, buildings, and bridges. They must be able to carry, bend, cut, and connect rebar quickly to help keep projects on schedule. Most ironworkers work full time in the construction industry, and learn their trade through a 3-4 year apprenticeship. A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required.
What they do:
Position and secure steel bars or mesh in concrete forms in order to reinforce concrete. Use a variety of fasteners, rod-bending machines, blowtorches, and hand tools. Includes rod busters.
On the job, you would:
Determine quantities, sizes, shapes, and locations of reinforcing rods from blueprints, sketches, or oral instructions.
Space and fasten together rods in forms according to blueprints, using wire and pliers.
Position and secure steel bars, rods, cables, or mesh in concrete forms, using fasteners, rod-bending machines, blowtorches, or hand tools.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
exercise for a long time without getting out of breath
lift, push, pull, or carry
use your lower back and stomach
use your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Project management software
Application Software SHEAR
Applied Systems Associates aSa Rebar
Computer aided design CAD software
Data base user interface and query software
no high school diploma/GED or high school diploma/GED usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.