Ironworkers, sometimes referred to as The Cowboys of the Sky, erect and dismantle the metal framework of a wide range of structures, from bridges and antennas to skyscrapers and stadiums. Ironworkers also often erect the cranes and derricks that are used in the construction of these structures, and install and repair the catwalks, elevators, ladders, fire escapes, railings, and fences for commercial and industrial structures. The type of work that an Ironworker performs can usually be categorized into one of the following designations: reinforcing, structural, and ornamental.


Apply multiple welding techniques, metalworking concepts, and construction processes.

Work at considerable heights safely and efficiently.

Analyze and interpret drawings, blueprints, and building codes.

Positioning and tying steel rods, bars or mesh as a support for concrete.

Erection and connecting of metal beams and columns to form structural skeleton.

Education & Training

Education and training that can lead to a successful career may include:

Minimum Education

High school diploma or equivalent.

Recommended Education

Certificate in welding, metals fabrication, structural welding, etc.

Advanced Education

Associate degree in welding, metals fabrication, structural welding, etc.

Recommended Training

Related structural steel fabrication or steel erection work experience.

Advanced Training

Apprenticeship program.

Recommended Certification

AWS Certified Welder.

Highly motivated and self-directed.

Flexible and able to work in a team environment.

Physically fit and manual dexterity.

Comfortable working with heights.

Mechanically inclined.

Many ironworkers work in the field on active construction sites. Opportunities also exist in shop environments.