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How do I Become a Steelworker?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Someone who wants to become a steelworker must be physically fit, have no fear of heights and have related work experience. A steelworker is someone who works to create, fabricate or install steel. Employment opportunistic include working at steel fabrication facilities, construction sites and steel mills.

Although many people assume that all steelworkers are men, an increasing number of women are finding careers as steelworkers. As with almost all skilled trades, someone who is technically proficient, is careful and performs the job well is a welcome addition to the team. The demand for steelworkers has decreased in the United States and Canada but has increased in Asia and South America primarily because of decreased labor and production costs.

The first step required to become a steelworker is successful completion of high school. There are no specific courses recommended for this career, but many people complete woodworking, machine shop and other technical courses while in high school. The vast majority of employers provide detailed on-the-job training to all steelworkers, because each company uses different equipment and might have different internal processes.

Some states offer apprenticeship programs for anyone who wants to become a steelworker. These programs usually are organized through the local steelworkers union or association, and programs average four years in length. These programs require a combination of work experience and theoretical courses that are completed on evenings and weekends.

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Many steel companies require all employees to complete a physical examination as part of the hiring process. Physical fitness and the ability to work in inclement weather are essential for this job. People who are unable to pass the tests or who have an underlying medical condition are not suitable to become a steelworker. This is a job with a relatively high level of risk, so the fitness screening process is in the best interest of both the employer and the employees.

Related work experience includes any type of position in the construction or manufacturing industry. Familiarity with safety regulations, following operational procedures and working as a member of a team are all very important experiences. Physical labor or jobs that require the use of large machinery or equipment will provide excellent experience that is helpful as a steelworker.

When looking for employment as a steelworker, prepare a resume and physically visit construction sites and steel processing factories. Talk with members of the human resources staff about the positions available, the qualification requirements and salary. Be prepared for a criminal background check and drug test, which are becoming more common in this industry because of the high degree of safety risk.

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