How Much Does a Boilermaker Make? (With Steps to Earn More)

Updated 26 April 2023

Boilermakers are professionals who assemble, repair and maintain heavy-duty boilers and tanks used for storing chemicals and gases. The job comprises many important responsibilities, including welding steel pieces following exact guidelines, recording boiler logs and cleaning boiler furnaces. If you're interested in pursuing a career as a boilermaker, learning about the job's salary potential and key responsibilities may be useful to you. In this article, we discuss how much money a boilermaker can earn, provide tips to help you increase your salary, outline some key job responsibilities, provide a list of steps to help you become a boilermaker and review a range of valuable skills.

How much does a boilermaker make?

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in a welding-related occupation, you may wonder, ‘How much does a boilermaker make?’ The average national salary for a boilermaker is $42.85 per hour. Factors such as level of experience and number of qualifications can affect a boilermaker's earning potential. Geographic location can also play a role in determining salary. For example, the number of construction projects and job opportunities can vary by city. Here are the recorded average salaries of a boilermaker in five of the highest paying cities:

  • Pilbara, WA: $57.50 per hour

  • Mackay, QLD: $50.84 per hour

  • Perth, WA: $50.34 per hour

  • Karratha, WA: $52.34 per hour

  • Henderson, WA: $46.96 per hour

How to increase your boilermaker salary

Consider using the following tips to increase your earning potential as a boilermaker:

1. Gain additional training and tickets

Pursuing additional training and accreditations can make you a more desirable boilermaker. This is because they can help verify your professional expertise and show potential employers that you can operate a range of technical equipment to perform required tasks. For example, gaining additional tickets in scaffolding can allow you to build basic scaffolding structures for situations where you require a raised work platform. With additional construction tickets and training, employers may be more willing to increase your salary.

2. Relocate

As outlined above, a boilermaker's salary can vary by city. This may be because of fewer skilled workers in one city, allowing those with the requisite skills to command a higher wage. Another reason may be that a city has more union projects than other cities, providing employees with greater wages and benefits. To increase your earning potential, you may research various boilermaker salaries across states and consider relocating to a higher-paying location.

3. Change your industry

The technical skills of a boilermaker can be required across many industries. Some industries can have a greater demand than others and expect more from employees, so a boilermaker's pay scale can vary by industry. For example, because mining sectors can require employees to work long hours, such as 12 hours per day, and remain on a mining site for extended periods, boilermakers in mining may receive larger salaries than those working on local construction projects. Consider researching boilermaker salaries across industries to help you make an informed decision about which working environment is right for you.

4. Build experience

Because boilermaking is a highly technical occupation, many employers may seek job candidates who possess years of valuable experience. Gaining experience can refine your skills so that you can perform boilermaking duties more efficiently. With a track record of excellent professional performance and exposure, you can put yourself in an advantageous position to negotiate for a better salary.

5. Supplement your income with side jobs

As an experienced boilermaker, you may use your skills to provide weekend work for metal fabrication factories or offer your services to farmers who require repair work. You can find advertisements for weekend work on employment websites or through social media channels. Another suggestion for supplementary income involves creating how-to videos that you post on social media platforms. This might be information regarding how to set up and maintain equipment or perform different types of welds. As views for your videos increase, you may receive remuneration through advertisements. These extra jobs may help in boosting your monthly salary.

Related: 20 Side Jobs to Generate Additional Income

A boilermaker's responsibilities

Key responsibilities you may perform as a boilermaker include:

  • Building and installing boilers. Boilers are large metal containers used to store gases and liquids. Boilermakers may use a variety of welding and gas cutting methods to assemble boilers.

  • Interpreting plans and documents. Sometimes, it's necessary for a boilermaker to read and adhere to health and safety documents or follow construction plans when installing boilers.

  • Maintaining boiler logs. A boiler log is a continuous record of how efficiently a boiler is operating. Keeping and updating a boiler log is important because this can help show areas where maintenance would lead to improved performance.

  • Repairing boilers. Boilers may be prone to damage over time, so boilermakers can offer repair work by replacing boiler tubes, filling holes with a welder and making other repairs.

How to become a boilermaker

Here's a list of steps that can help you become a boilermaker:

1. Gain educational qualifications

Gaining entrance into a welding course can require passing grades in year 10 maths and science or an equivalent. If you haven't attained this level, you can look for accredited courses online or enrol in a vocational school that offers a relevant course. These courses can range from six weeks to several months and provide you with maths and problem-solving skills to gain the required qualifications to enrol in a welding apprenticeship.

2. Complete an apprenticeship

A helpful second step is to enrol in a welding and boilermaking apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are available full-time or part-time and they offer a structured program that allows you to get on-the-job training with qualified professionals. A boilermaker's apprenticeship can take three to four years, and successful completion allows you to work as a qualified boilermaker. Pursuing this apprenticeship can provide you with a range of technical skills that may benefit your career progression as a boilermaker, including:

  • understanding of the processes involved in thermal cutting

  • knowledge of arc welding techniques and equipment preparation

  • instruction in workplace health and safety procedures for different situations

  • relevant knowledge of workshop machines and power tools.

Related: Apprentice Cover Letter Example (With Step-by-Step Guide)

3. Build your professional network

As you proceed with your apprenticeship studies, it may be helpful to consider ways of broadening your professional network. A respected professional reputation and a wide network can lead to job opportunities and advance your career. Establishing connections might involve developing positive relationships with co-workers during your apprenticeship. Attending networking events for boilermakers may also benefit you as connecting with experienced professionals can potentially be a valuable source of career advice and support. After you complete your apprenticeship, continuing to build positive relationships with clients can help your reputation spread as they recommend your services and provide positive online reviews.

Related: Become a Networking Expert in 7 Steps

4. Update your resume

As you gain professional experience in your apprenticeship and thereafter, consistently updating your resume is important to communicate your full range of experiences and skills to potential employers. A helpful tip when updating your resume is to review the job posting for the position you're applying for and look for its keywords. Identifying keywords can tell you exactly what the hiring manager is seeking in a candidate and you can use them as a guide to structure your resume accordingly. For example, the job posting may use keywords or phrases such as:

  • assemble boiler parts

  • welding experience

  • position boilerplates

  • welding blueprints.

If these keywords describe the job requirements, you can use examples in your resume where you successfully assembled boiler parts or performed different types of welding.

Related: How to Update Your Resume (With Template and Example)

5. Apply for jobs

After you've completed your apprenticeship and updated your resume, you may apply for jobs that match your level of experience. This might mean that, as you start your career, you apply for entry-level jobs, such as a boilermaker's assistant. Pursuing positions in entry-level jobs can help you build the experience required for gaining more advanced and long-term boilermaking opportunities. You can find job applications for entry-level boilermakers on the job listings of employment websites.

What is the working environment of a boilermaker?

Many industries, such as transport infrastructure, resources mining, construction and defence, may require the technical skills of a boilermaker. Because of this, boilermakers can gain opportunities to experience a variety of working environments. A common characteristic of the job, though, is working in confined spaces. This can often include construction or maintenance work inside boilers or tanks that are dark and poorly ventilated. The job may also require outside work with prolonged exposure to the sun, so extreme heat can be another characteristic of a boilermaker's work environment.

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