What Is the Difference Between a Boilermaker & a Welder?

Jul 09, 2018

Both boilermakers and welders have projects that involve metalworking. Boilermakers work on boilers or containers that hold liquids and gases. Welders combine, cut, or repair metal parts. Learn more about the job duties, salaries and expected growth for these careers.

Comparing Boilermakers to Welders

Boilermakers and welders both work with their hands. Boilermakers are often responsible for ongoing maintenance, upkeep, and operation of boilers or other units. Welders solely work with metal parts in a variety of applications.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Boilermaker High school diploma or equivalent $62,260 9%
Welder High school diploma or equivalent $40,240 (for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers) 6% (for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Boilermaker vs. Welders

Boilers are present in buildings, factories, and ships to heat liquids under high pressure for the creation of energy. Boilermakers work in facilities engaged in those activities. Welders can work in many different industries. The welding of metal parts is necessary in many different applications, including the manufacture of a wide range of goods.


The work of a boilermaker can be physically challenging, since it often takes place in small spaces and extreme temperatures. Boilermakers are often called due to an emergency with a boiler system. Their work can also involve assembling pre-made boilers rather than creating them from scratch, with some pieces requiring metalwork to be installed. Some boilermakers work in water treatment or air treatment facilities and may be tasked with reducing pollution from factories or improving water treatment plants. Most boilermakers learn the trade through an apprenticeship.

Job responsibilities of a boilermaker include:

  • analyzing blueprints
  • installing boilers
  • evaluating the performance of boiler systems
  • repairing boilers


To bond parts of metal to each other, welders melt the metal, put the parts together, and let the metal solidify while holding the pieces together. Welding is used in almost all aspects of manufacturing, and use in transportation industries producing ships, automobiles, and aircraft is common. Welders may work outside in poor weather conditions and may also work in small spaces. Welding can be a dangerous occupation, since hot materials and intense light can cause illnesses and injuries.

Job responsibilities of a welder include:

  • using electricity to generate heat
  • following safety processes for dealing with materials at high temperatures
  • inspecting welding materials
  • preventing overheating during welding

Related Careers

If you are interested in the job of a boilermaker, becoming a heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) specialist may also interest you since both involve generating heat and monitoring systems. Those interested in becoming a welder may be interested in becoming a materials engineer, as both careers involve manipulating materials.

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