Apprenticeship is one way of starting out in the construction industry. It involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Ironworker/Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitter, called a journeyperson.
As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 70% of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.
Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for ironworker/structural metal fabricator and fitter apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. In most provinces and territories, you must be at least 16 years old and have a Grade 10 education or equivalent to enter an ironworking/structural metal fabricator and fitter apprenticeship program. It is recommended that you have up to Grade 12 math.
Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as an Ironworker/Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitter.
Apprenticeship training programs for ironworkers and structural metal fabricators and fitters vary across Canada, but generally involve three 12-month periods, including at least 4,500 hours of on-the-job training, one 10-week block and two seven-week blocks of technical training, and a final certificate exam.
Related work experience or completion of an ironworker/structural metal fabricator and fitter program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.
Certification is required in Alberta and Quebec. It is available but voluntary in all other provinces. In territories where certification is not available, it may be possible to study as an apprentice through your local labour organization. Check out our Related links to find out who to contact. Even where certification is voluntary, it is still recommended as it tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional, and it also helps you get jobs.
To be certified as an Ironworker/Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitter, you usually need to complete a three-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a journeyperson certificate.
You may be eligible for certification in some provinces and territories if you have more than three years of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses in ironworking/structural metal fabricating and fitting.
As a certified Ironworker/Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitter you may write the Interprovincial Exam to qualify for the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal. With a Red Seal, you can work as an Ironworker/Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitter anywhere in Canada.
To keep their skills current, workers in this profession must keep up with new technologies by reading and speaking with other Ironworkers and Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters.