Ironworkers

(NOC 7236)

in All Trades and Transportation

Ironworkers fabricate, construct, and join scaffolding, structural steel buildings, bridges, ornamental ironwork, and pre-cast structures. They work for construction ironwork contractors.

Job Outlook

average

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 30 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 4040 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 8425 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

Outlook: average, mostly balanced conditions in the labour market.
Size of the occupation in Nova Scotia: small with infrequent opportunities.
Demand: Employment growth will lead to several new positions. There is a low level of employee turnover in this occupation. A moderate number of positions will become available due to retirements. There are a moderate number of unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupation.
Work hours: full-time, usually. Employment can be seasonal with more opportunities available in the summer months.

Hourly Pay

$25.94

Minimum

$35.19

Median

$41.85

Maximum

Annual Pay

$23,141

Minimum

$59,017

Median

$123,127

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$24.00

Median

$37.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Ironworkers fabricate, construct, and join scaffolding, structural steel buildings, bridges, ornamental ironwork, and pre-cast structures. They work for construction ironwork contractors.

Job duties

Ironworkers:

  • Read blueprints and specifications to lay out work.
  • Unload and position steel units so each piece can be hoisted as needed.
  • Build and install scaffolding, hoisting equipment, and rigging.
  • Signal crane operator to position steel units according to blueprints.
  • Align and weld or bolt steel units in place.
  • Make structural and architectural precast concrete components for buildings, bridges, towers, and other structures.
  • Assemble and build prefabricated metal structures.
  • Position and secure steel bars or metal mesh in concrete forms to reinforce concrete structures.
  • Install ornamental and other structural metalwork like curtain walls, metal stairways, railings, and power doors.
  • Examine structures and equipment for deterioration, defects, or non-compliance with specifications.
  • May dismantle structures and equipment.

Sample job titles

  • apprentice ironworker
  • bridge construction ironworker
  • ironworker (reinforcing)
  • ironworker (structural/ornamental)
  • ironworker (generalist)
  • metal structure erector
  • ornamental-metal worker
  • reinforcing ironworker
  • structural metal erector
  • tower crane erector

Skills

  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Ability to visualize finished products in three dimensions
  • Ability to work at heights in varying extreme climates
  • A thorough knowledge of the principles of lifting and hoisting
  • Familiarity with a variety of metal fastening and joining methods
  • Ability to use hand and power tools and equipment
  • Ability to use crane charts and estimate and reconcile crane ability with load sizes
  • Precision
  • A safety-conscious attitude
  • Strength and stamina
  • Coordination, agility, and balance
  • Ability to work as part of a team

Job requirements

  • High school or equivalent (usually).
  • Reinforcing: training through a 3,600-hour apprenticeship program with two apprenticeship levels.
  • Structural/Ornamental: training through a 5,400-hour apprenticeship program with three apprenticeship levels.
  • To become an apprentice, you first need to have a job - enter an apprenticeship agreement either directly through an employer or after graduating from a college-level pre-apprenticeship program; learn on the job, mentored by a certified journeyperson who signs off on skills in a logbook.
  • Trade Qualifier Generalist option, 8,100 hours, and other criteria.
  • Trade Qualifier Reinforcing option, 5,400 hours, and other criteria.
  • Trade Qualifier Structural/Ornamental option, 8,100 hours, and other criteria.
  • Certification for Ironworkers (generalist, reinforcing, and structural/ornamental) is voluntary in Nova Scotia.
  • Write and score a minimum of 70% on the Red Seal exam for appropriate trade.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) allows for interprovincial mobility.

Other considerations

  • Ironworkers (generalist) build, erect, construct, and join structural steel used in buildings, bridges, and towers.
  • Ironworkers (reinforcing) cut, bend, lay out, place, and weld reinforcing steel rods, welded wire fabric, and composite materials in poured concrete products and structures. They place and stress post-tensioning systems.
  • Ironworkers (structural/ornamental) install and reinforce steel components, precast concrete, and glued laminated timber products. They also erect pre-engineered buildings, scaffolds, cranes, hoists, and derricks.
  • Ironworkers generally work outside in all weather. Generalists may work indoors in manufacturing plants or underground work sites. Reinforcing may also work in underground work sites. Structural/ornamental may work indoors in manufacturing plants.
  • Worksites may be in a variety of locations ranging from remote areas to urban settings and often work at great heights.
  • The work often requires considerable standing, bending, crawling, lifting, climbing, pulling, and reaching and is often conducted in cramped, confined spaces or at heights. The work is physically strenuous and sometimes dangerous.
  • Hazards include injury from repetitive movements, electrocution, crushing, falls, or falling objects.
  • There may be exposure to heat, noise, vibration, dust, and odours at the worksite.
  • Ironworkers typically work a 40-hour week. Inclement weather may shut down projects for extended periods and deadlines and priorities may involve overtime. Employment is moderately seasonal.
  • Because of the nature of the work ironworkers must be thoroughly familiar with the applicable sections of local, provincial, and federal building and safety standards.
  • Ironworkers tend to work in teams, and team coordination is a large component of the occupation, especially when hoisting and placing large, heavy components high above the ground.
  • Ironworkers interact and work cooperatively with a variety of tradespeople like other ironworkers, electricians, plumbers, crane operators, steel detailers, welders, carpenters, concrete finishers, metal fabricators, millwrights, labourers, and glaziers.
  • Experienced ironworkers may advance to supervisory positions like foreperson and construction superintendent.
  • Apprentices usually earn a percentage of the journeyperson (fully qualified) rate. This percentage increases as each level of the apprenticeship program is completed.
  • Everyone has fair access to participate and succeed in the apprenticeship system. Everyone who develops the necessary skills and abilities should be able to succeed in the trades and trade qualification system. Work environments in the province support women and equity-seeking communities.

By the numbers

Quick look

475

employed in 2016

96.8%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

2.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
97.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
40.3

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

45.3%

Halifax

$60,481 median annual income
20.0%

Cape Breton

$73,853 median annual income
17.9%

North Shore

$54,905 median annual income
12.6%

Annapolis Valley

$58,241 median annual income
4.2%

Southern

N/A

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

47.1%

Manufacturing

33.8%

Construction

5.9%

Other services (except public administration)

4.4%

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

2.9%

Transportation and warehousing

What is the age of Employment?

31.0%

25-34

21.0%

35-44

19.0%

45-54

15.0%

55-64

9.0%

15-24

5.0%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

52.6%

Trade Certification

$72,574 median annual income
23.2%

College Diploma

$49,064 median annual income
11.6%

Less than high school

$41,131 median annual income
8.4%

High school

$64,261 median annual income
4.2%

Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Trade Certification

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Ironworking

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to make and install structural, ornamental, and reinforcing metal structures and supports. They include courses in drafting, technical mathematics, blueprint interpretation, welding, riveting, beam placement, ornamental design, structural reinforcement, crane operation, safety, and applicable codes and standards.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Ironworker (Generalist)

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
Ironworker (Reinforcing)

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS
Ironworker (Structural/Ornamental)

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS

Contacts

Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
Halifax, NS
International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 752
Lakeside, NS