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How Do I Get a Boilermaker Apprenticeship?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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If you are interested in a career which involves building and repairing large-scale vessels and tanks, you may wish to become a boilermaker. Before you become fully qualified to work in this field, however, you must complete a boilermaker apprenticeship. In order to get a boilermaker apprenticeship, you generally must meet minimum age and educational requirements, and must apply for a place in your local apprenticeship program. Beyond these basic requirements, you must also be willing to complete a fairly lengthy training program, to spend periods of time away from home if necessary, and to work in physically demanding conditions.

On the surface, the process of getting a boilermaker apprenticeship may seem fairly straightforward. You generally must be at least 18 years of age and must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. If you meet these requirements, you can then apply to your local apprenticeship program. In the US, these programs are usually run by the boilermakers union. Even if you meet the minimum age and educational requirements, however, it should be noted that places in apprenticeship programs may be limited based on current demand and acceptance to a program is therefore not guaranteed.

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Beyond these basic requirements, there are several other considerations you may wish to think about before deciding whether a boilermaker apprenticeship is right for you. First of all, you should understand that by taking on an apprenticeship, you are committing yourself to roughly four years of on-the-job and classroom training. While this may be a significant time commitment, you will be paid for your on-the-job training hours.

Before taking on a boilermaker apprenticeship, you should also ask yourself whether you are equipped to handle the various emotional and physical challenges that are often part of the job. For instance, a boilermaker may face long stretches in which available work is scarce. Additionally, if he receives a contract for a job which is located at a significant distance from his town, he may be required to live away from his home and family until that job is complete.

Should you opt to accept a boilermaker apprenticeship, you will likely also face a number of physical challenges each day. A boilermaker’s job is often based outside, and thus you may be required to work in extreme weather conditions. Due to the large scale of the tanks and vessels you will build and repair, you may be required to perform your work on a scaffold placed at a significant distance from the ground. Finally, you will also need to operate certain tools, such as welding equipment, which can cause serious injury if used incorrectly.

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