What Does an Ironworker (Generalist) Do?

Ironworkers help put up buildings, bridges and other structures involving rods and beams (Branch 1 - Ironworker Generalist 420B), while Branch 2 Ironworkers- Sturctural & Ornamental 420A would build or create such as things as iron gates.

Job - Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Reading and interpreting blueprints and diagrams
  • Hoisting and installing structural steel, pre-cast concrete, reinforcing materials and other metals used in construction
  • Positioning steel girders or other structural elements and then bolting them into place
  • Calculating weight for cable rigging, and then putting up scaffolding/rigging
  • Assembling prefabricated buildings
  • Welding and fabricating
  • Framing interior walls, concrete floors or ceilings
  • Learning and applying safety regulations in the workplace

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

You should preferably complete your Grade 12 with a secondary school diploma and credits in Math, English and Science, as well as technical courses such as blueprint reading and welding. , A secondary school diploma this is usually required by employers and unions today, to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades. Successful completion of the Ironworker Generalist- Branch 1 requires completion of an 8,000 hour apprenticeship, including 3 levels of in-school training (720 hours). Completion of Ironworker Structural & Ornamental Branch 2 requires 6,000 hours, including 720 in-school theory hours, and successfully passing the examination to obtain your Certificate of Qualification.

To view the Essential Skills for this particular skilled trade, please click on the following link:


Additional information on training standards for this particular trade in the Construction sector can be found on the Ontario College of Trades(OCOT)  website at: www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/construction.

What’s Your Future as an Ironworker?

Ironworkers usually work full-time, often outdoors in all sorts of weather, and at great heights. The working environment tends to be fast-paced and you may be required to travel from project to project. Many apprentices are registered as apprentices through the Ironworkers Unions in Ontario. Employers who may hire Ironworkers include:

  • Heavy Construction firms
  • Metal Fabricating businesses
  • Commercial Construction builders

For additional information about this career, check out the construction sector website at: www.CareersInConstruction.ca.

Check out the following Ironworker union website (Toronto based) for additional information: www.iw721.org.


Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than fully qualified Journeypeople
  • As your skills and expertise increase, so does your wage
  • Fully qualified Ironworkers can earn from @$20-35/hour; in Union workplaces wage rates and benefits depend on the negotiated contract


Ask Yourself: Is Working as an Ironworker for You?


Are you good with numbers and performing calculations?

Yes      No

Do you mind working outdoors in bad weather and at great heights?

Yes      No

Do you have a mechanical aptitude and good co-ordination?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy taking on a variety of different tasks?

Yes      No

 Can you communicate effectively with co-workers and supervisors?

Yes      No

Do you have good upper body strength and physical stamina?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy solving problems independently in a fast paced environment?

Yes      No


If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as an Ironworker may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Structural metal worker
  • Welder-Fitter
  • Boilermaker

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