How Long Does Boilermaker School Take?
Boilermakers are responsible for designing, assembling and installing boilers and other large containers that are used to hold gases and liquids. These tanks have to be made following the right specifications since they are used at high temperatures to heat fluids to be able to generate electricity or store liquid products. They have to make sure that the plate sections are well-fitted into each other to prevent spillage. They also need to install these properly.
All things considered, a job as a boilermaker is physically and mentally demanding. It’s certainly not the career choice for those who are not ready to meet the rigors of this profession. If you believe that this is the career choice for you and you have what it takes to become a boilermaker, you have to be ready to go through lengthy training to become one.
There are two entry points to a career as a boilermaker. The first and the most common method is through an apprenticeship program. These apprenticeship programs are offered by unions and contractor associations. Aspiring boilermakers who are at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent and are physically able to do the responsibilities of the job can apply to become an apprentice.
An apprenticeship program typically takes four to five years to complete. Apprentices are required to complete a minimum of 144 hours of technical training that is related to the work of a boilermaker. These include how to read blueprints and sketches, lessons on metals and methods of installation as well methods of construction.
The technical training will also cover basic math, safety practices during construction and first aid practices. Another component of an apprenticeship program is the 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training that they have to complete every year. This is important because apprentices are able to get hands-on experience in this profession. They also learn how to use the tools and equipment of the trade from experienced boilermakers.
During apprenticeship, apprentices are paid lower salary. They typically get higher pay as their skills in performing the job of boilermakers increase. After finishing their apprenticeship, they become journey workers who can do work under the supervision of more experienced boilermakers. With more experience, they learn more complex skills until they become competent and confident enough to do the tasks independently.
Another method of entry to the boilermaker profession is by going to formal boilermaker school. Technical schools and colleges offer courses that prepare students to become boilermakers. Aside from the formal training in the classroom, they also get to experience the actual activities of the job through internships and apprenticeship programs.
One advantage of going to trade school to train as a boilermaker is that the schools have access to apprenticeship programs that are not publicly advertised. An associate program in boilermaking takes two years to complete. Aside from an actual boilermaker course, some also opt to get a welding certificate as boilermakers are considered as specialized welders. Welding certificate programs typically take a year and a half to complete.
Successfully completing an apprenticeship program shows that a boilermaker is ready to undertake the responsibilities of the profession. While certification is voluntary, some experienced boilermakers opt to get certified to prove that they are proficient in all the activities that are related to the profession. These include boilermaker safety, rigging and metal fabrication, among others. The National Center for Construction Education and Research offers certification after the boilermaker has passed a two-hour test and other requirements.