Boilermakers
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Overview
Boilermakers assemble, install, maintain, and repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for boilermakers are expected to grow by 9%, and should have about 1,900 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of autmoation for ${title} is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Workforce size
Boilermakers, with 17,200 workers, form a smaller workforce than 76% of careers.
Education
Only 2% of boilermakers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by boilermakers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer boilermakers have bachelor's degrees than 99% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for boilermakers is higher than 70% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most boilermakers.
This job's median $62KAll jobs' median $39K$64K$38K20142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 3% of boilermakers -- that's a smaller percentage than 90% of other jobs.
Gender of boilermakers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For boilermakers, the median men's salary was 20% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 12% of boilermakers are minority, and 9% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of boilermakers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (9%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Boilermakers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 50% of boilermakers, and 52% have company-sponsored health insurance (13% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for boilermakers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of boilermakers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions (96%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (95%)
  • Time Pressure (92%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (89%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (82%)
  • Exposed to High Places (76%)
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings (62%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (38%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do boilermakers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for boilermakers, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for boilermakers compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for boilermakers (BLS Salary Data)
$62K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$62K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all boilermakers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for boilermakers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for boilermakers (ACS Salary Data)
$57K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$57K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where boilermakers work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Boilermakers (ACS)
Private for-profit (87.2%)
Private not-for-profit (2.6%)
Local government (2.3%)
State government (2.9%)
Federal government (2.7%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.0%)
Self-employed not incorporated (1.3%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of boilermakers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$57K$58K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Private for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of boilermakers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$62K$85K$53K$62K$49K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for boilermakers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$60K$53K$63K$65K$50K$52K$49K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
05001K2K2K3KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Boilermakers and gender

With 3% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 90% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
3%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Boilermakers
Men (97%)
Women (3%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

We only have enough data to accuarately show the salary distribution for men. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$57K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Boilermakers have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 60% of other jobs.

20%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of boilermakers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority boilermakers than for 86% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of boilermakers
White (82% )
Black (6% )
Other (5% )
Asian (2% )
Hispanic (2% )
Multiracial (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
12%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
9%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for boilermakers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$42K$60K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KOtherWhite
Distribution: Salaries for boilermakers by nativity
$45K$57K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by boilermakers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), boilermakers typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as boilermakers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for boilermakers.

Education attained by boilermakers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for boilermakers

A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for boilermakers? Below we see the distribution of boilermakers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as boilermakers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$62K$56K$56K$56K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KNone (13%)High School (51%)Some College (23%)Associate's Degree (10%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Boilermaking/Boilermaker
52
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for boilermakers

What jobs will most boilermakers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of boilermakers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

BoilermakersWelding, soldering, and brazing workersFirst-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairersPipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfittersOil, gas, and mining laborersFirst-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workersProduction workersInspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighersFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersMaintenance and repair workersHeating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installersHelpers to production workersControl and valve installers and repairersIndustrial and refractory machinery mechanics
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for boilermakers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 3 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as boilermakers as well as 1% of respondents after working as boilermakers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for boilermakers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
68,500
$0$200K$44K
Welding, soldering, and brazing workers
51,000
$0$200K$39K
Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics
33,200
$0$200K$50K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for boilermakers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as boilermakers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of boilermakers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for boilermakers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Stock clerks and order fillers
269,400
$0$200K$26K
3.0%
Construction laborers
153,300
$0$200K$30K
2.9%
Electricians
83,100
$0$200K$49K
7.2%
Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
68,500
$0$200K$44K
3.5%
First-line supervisors of production and operating workers
59,500
$0$200K$53K
1.2%
Welding, soldering, and brazing workers
51,000
$0$200K$39K
3.9%
Industrial and refractory machinery mechanics
33,200
$0$200K$50K
1.2%
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics
20,400
$0$200K$51K
7.5%
Highway maintenance workers
16,500
$0$200K$39K
3.9%
Legal support workers (specialized areas)
12,400
$0$200K$49K
1.1%
Stationary engineers and boiler operators
3,900
$0$200K$57K
4.1%
Boilermakers
1,900
$0$200K$57K
35.7%
No occupation
20.9%
Read about boilermakers
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Boilermakers typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints to determine locations, positions, and dimensions of boiler parts
  • Install small premade boilers in buildings and manufacturing facilities
  • Lay out prefabricated parts of larger boilers before assembling them
  • Assemble boiler tanks, often using robotic or automatic welders
  • Test and inspect boiler systems for leaks or defects
  • Clean vats with scrapers, wire brushes, and cleaning solvents
  • Replace or repair broken valves, pipes, or joints, using hand and power tools, gas torches, and welding equipment

Boilers, tanks, and vats are used in many buildings, factories, and ships. Boilers heat water or other fluids under extreme pressure to generate electric power and to provide heat. Large tanks and vats are used to process and store chemicals, oil, beer, and hundreds of other products.

Boilers are made out of steel, iron, copper, or stainless steel. Manufacturers are increasingly automating the production of boilers to improve the quality of these vessels. However, boilermakers still use many tools to assemble and maintain boilers. For example, they often use hand and power tools and flame-cutting torches to align, cut, and shape pieces for a boiler. Boilermakers also use plumb bobs, levels, wedges, and turnbuckles to align pieces accurately.

During a boiler installation, boilermakers first line up boilerplates and parts, and then use metalworking machinery and other tools to remove irregular edges so that the parts fit together properly. If the plate sections are very large, boilermakers signal crane operators to lift the parts into place. Boilermakers then join the parts by bolting, welding, and riveting them together.

Boilermakers may help erect and repair air pollution abatement equipment, blast furnaces, water treatment plants, storage and process tanks, and smokestacks. Boilermakers also install refractory brick and other heat-resistant materials in fireboxes or pressure vessels. Some install and maintain the huge pipes used in dams to send water to and from hydroelectric power generation turbines.

Boilers last a long time—sometimes 50 years or more—and boilermakers must maintain them regularly by repairing and replacing parts. They inspect fittings, feed pumps, safety and check valves, water and pressure gauges, and boiler controls.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of boilermakers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Mechanical skills
Boilermakers use and maintain a large variety of equipment, such as hoists and welding machines.
Physical stamina
Boilermakers must have high endurance because they spend many hours on their feet while lifting heavy boiler components.
Physical strength
Boilermakers need to be strong enough to move heavy vat components into place.
Unafraid of confined spaces
Boilermakers often work inside boilers and vats.
Unafraid of heights
Some boilermakers work at great heights. While installing water storage tanks, for example, workers may need to weld tanks several stories above the ground.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for boilermakers
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for boilermakers was higher than 70% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $62KAll jobs' median $39K$60K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for boilermakers are anticipated to grow by 9% over the next decade, which is faster growth than is predicted for 57% of other jobs.

The projected employment for boilermakers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030010,00020,00030,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most boilermakers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as boilermakers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Boilermakers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.01.2
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where boilermakers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for boilermakers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for boilermakers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Boilermakers to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which boilermakers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.02.5
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Boilermakers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
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Physical Abilities
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