How to Become A Blacksmith

Blacksmiths join and shape metals to make various kinds of items such as tools, furniture and wrought iron gates. They can either specialize in architectural or artistic metalwork, which includes decorative ironwork, or in industrial work, which involves working on items like specialist tools, fire escapes, and security grills.

If you want to pursue a career in this field, then this article might come in handy. Read it to learn how to become a blacksmith in the U.S. This comprehensive guide will outline the job duties, salary prospects, and the steps involved.

Should I Become a Blacksmith?

If you are creative, enjoy working with machinery and tools, and have a good hand-to-eye coordination, then this profession could be ideal for you. As a blacksmith, you would be expected to:

  • Work with different types of metals such as copper, bronze, brass, steel and iron.
  • Use different blacksmithing methods to join metals.
  • Use traditional hand tools such as anvils, tongs and hammers.
  • Use engineering machinery such as welding equipment, milling machines and pillar drills.
  • Use power tools such as hydraulic presses, air chisels, grinders, drills, and power hammers.

Take a look at the table to learn more about the career potential and the salary data of these professionals.

Education Required

A high school diploma or equivalent.

Major Requirement

None.

License/Certification

Certifications in crane signaling, rigging, and welding are recommended.

Experience/Training

Work experience gained through apprenticeship is recommended.

Key Skills

Physical Strength, Critical Thinking Skills, Balance, and Physical Stamina.

Annual Mean Salary (2019)

$59,170 (Structural Iron and Steel Workers)

Job Outlook (2018-28)

11%

 

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook for Ironworkers

As per the data published by BLS, employment opportunities for Ironworkers will grow by 11% from 2018 to 2028. This will lead to the creation of 11,200 jobs in this profession. Construction of new structures, and the need to replace, maintain, and rehabilitate older bridges and highways is expected to generate the demand for Ironworkers.

New openings in this field will also result from the need to replace professionals who retire or exit the profession. Individuals who have relevant certifications are expected to have the best job prospects.

Employment of Structural Iron and Steel Workers

BLS has further categorized Iron Workers into Structural Iron and Steel Workers. Data for 2019 shows that the state that had the highest level of employment of Structural Iron and Steel Workers was California, with 9,950 jobs, followed by Texas, New York, Ohio, and Illinois.

Top Paying States for Iron and Steel Workers

In 2019, the top paying state for these professionals in the U.S. was New York, which paid an annual mean pay of $87,510. Other states that have made it to the list of the highest-paying states include Illinois ($86,580), New Jersey ($85,630), Massachusetts ($80,060), and Hawaii ($80,010).

Steps to Become a Blacksmith

Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma

The first step of the process is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent. In high school, you will be introduced to basic mathematical concepts that will come in handy in your later profession.

Step 2: Attend a Vocational School or a Community College

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, aspiring Ironworkers should preferably acquire training in vocational subjects such as welding and blueprinting. Therefore, you should enroll in a vocational program that will teach you essential blacksmithing skills such as riveting, cutting, brazing and drawing out.

Step 3: Join an Apprenticeship Program

The next step would be to enroll in an apprenticeship program. These programs can take anywhere between 3 to 4 years to complete and are generally sponsored by contractor associations and unions.

Step 4: Find a Job and Complete on-the-job Training

Once you land a job, your employer will give you on-the-job training related to safety practices, general construction techniques, sketching, blueprint reading, and first aid. You will also learn how to use the equipment and tools of the trade and how to construct metal frameworks. You should try to gain some work experience in the field, before you start looking for certifications.

Step 4: Become Certified!

In order to look more attractive to prospective employers, you can obtain certifications in crane signaling, rigging, and welding. These certifications can be earned through various organizations such as the National Center for Construction Education and Research, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, and the American Welding Society.

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