A person considering becoming a rebar worker generally has a high school diploma, an interest in construction and a strong mathematics background. A rebar worker must be at least 18 years old and in top physical condition, as they will be cutting, lifting, bending and tightening different heavy materials using a range of tools, including fasteners, hacksaws, welder, torches and pliers.
When working on a newly constructed building, rebar workers refer to blueprints or sketches to determine the location, size or shape of the rebar, so the ability to follow oral and written instructions is important. In addition, rebar workers should be comfortable working high off the ground, have good balance and eyesight, respond quickly, and possess great hand-eye coordination and physical dexterity. Aspiring ironworkers should also have a valid driver's license.
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Ironworker Apprenticeship Certificate of Completion
A rebar apprenticeship, which may last 3-4 years, combines on-the-job training with a skilled trade program. Apprentices are paid and work full-time while completing required program courses and receiving credit to be used in a degree-granting program. Apprenticeships are regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor and the input of trade associations, contractors, unions and local employers are used to form committees that agree on training, wage rate, selection procedures and desired skills of apprentices.
These training programs teach apprentices learn how to properly use rebar equipment, make repairs, fabricate steel, install and assemble structures and draft layouts. Core curriculum in an ironworker apprenticeship program may include:
- Steel erecting
- Blueprint reading
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Reinforcing iron and rebar workers make a mean annual wage of $54,030 as of May 2015, according to the BLS. For ironworkers, employment is expected to grow 9% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average compared to all other occupations.
Licenses and Certifications
Most states don't require a license or certification for rebar workers. Completion of the apprenticeship program grants the student a journey-level, or apprentice skill level, certification upon completion. Some rebar workers with little or no experience may also seek certification as a welder through the American Welding Society. To become a certified welder, an individual must demonstrate their skill in a practical test, which tests the ability to assemble, position and fit-up the welder.
Workshops and Seminars
The Associated General Contractors of America hosts an annual convention for workers in the construction business to educate them about the industry via presentations and demonstrations. Rebar workers may also find information on workshops and seminars through their local union or through local building and construction associations' training calendars.
On-the-job training and apprenticeship programs provide aspiring ironworkers with the skills they need to enter the construction industry. Additional certifications as a welder, or to become certified at the state level, can be earned after completion of an apprenticeship program.