Industrial Insulation Contractor
Industrial insulation contractors, also known as mechanic insulators, apply materials that maintain temperature in pipes, boilers, vats and mechanical equipment. These professionals generally work indoors, though insulating gas or oil lines might occasionally require working outside.
Insulators spend most of their time standing or bending in small spaces. While this career is considered relatively safe, minor injuries are a possibility, and the insulation itself can be an irritant. However, wearing protective clothing and making sure the work area is well ventilated can help minimize exposure. Industrial insulation contractors need dexterity, mechanical skills and physical stamina. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that mechanical insulators made an average annual salary of $49,970 as of May 2015. Let's trace the steps for a career in industrial insulation contracting.
Step 1: Graduate High School
Having a high school diploma or equivalent isn't a strict requirement for entry-level insulation work. However, it can increase chances of employment or acceptance into an apprenticeship program. Industrial insulation work involves a basic understanding of construction, as well as how heat and sound are conducted. According to the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, courses in woodwork, mechanical drawing, physics, algebra and geometry can provide a good educational foundation for insulation contractors.
Step 2: Complete a Training Program
Industrial insulation workers can receive informal, on-the-job training or complete a formal apprenticeship program. Entry-level workers and apprentices are generally required to be 18 years old, have a valid driver's license and be able to carry loads up to 50 pounds.
An apprenticeship, which combines work experience with classroom education, might prove the most beneficial for aspiring industrial insulation contractors. A worker with experience can also join an apprenticeship program to earn journeyman status.
Step 3: Earn Certification & Licensure
Earning voluntary certification might help industrial insulation contractors advance to supervisory roles. The National Insulation Association offers training to become a Certified Insulation Energy Appraiser, a professional who can determine ideal insulation thickness and calculate potential energy cost savings. Industrial insulation contractors who are involved in the renovation of an older structure will likely need to be licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency to inspect for and remove asbestos.
Step 4: Start Your Own Business
One option for experienced industrial insulation contractors is starting their own business. States generally require that insulation contractors have individual or company licensure. Typical licensing requirements include a minimum amount of professional experience, liability insurance and a verification of business assets, such as a bond. Some states require completion of training courses or a passing score on an exam.
To recap, becoming an industrial insulation contractor typically requires completing high school and a training program, such as an apprenticeship. State licensure might be required and voluntary certification is available.