Most boilermakers learn their trade through an apprenticeship program. Candidates are more likely to be accepted into training programs if they already have welding experience and certification.
A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required. High school courses in math and welding are considered useful.
Most boilermakers learn their trade through a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship. Each year, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of related technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. During technical training, apprentices learn about metals and installation techniques, as well as basic mathematics, blueprint reading and sketching, general construction techniques, safety practices, and first aid. On the job, apprentices learn how to signal crane operators and use the tools and equipment of the trade. Those who already have welding experience complete training sooner than those without it.
A few groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:
Minimum age of 18
High school education or equivalent
Physically able to do the work
In addition to satisfying these qualifications, candidates with certified or documented welding experience usually have priority over applicants without experience. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans.
When they finish the apprenticeship program, boilermakers are considered to be journey workers, performing tasks under the guidance of experienced workers.