How Much Do Boilermakers Make?

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If you’re interested in an industrial career, then you may consider becoming a boilermaker. Boilermakers earn a solid income and you don’t need a college degree to become one.

However, there’s quite a lot that can go into determining your salary as a boilermaker. If you’re serious about the career, you should understand these factors and how they might impact your pay. 

What factors can influence how much a boilermaker earns?

The amount that you can earn as a boilermaker will depend, to some extent, on each of the following four factors.

AREA OF SPECIALIZATION

Not all boilermakers perform the same tasks in the workplace. Some specialize in rigging and hoisting. Others specialize in preparation and layout, or even welding.

The point is that you may have to choose between one of these specialties as well. The decision that you make could impact your income. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t publish income data for boilermakers at this level. But the general rule of thumb is this: the more specialized you are, the more that you can make as a boilermaker. 

At the same time, as you become more specialized, it may also be more difficult for you to find job opportunities as there will be fewer positions to choose from. This is a balancing act that you should keep in mind while choosing your specialization.

TRAINING

One of the most positive aspects of this profession is the fact that you don’t need a college degree to become a boilermaker. Rather, a high school diploma or the equivalent of one is enough formal education to enter this career.

That being said, you will still need some training. Typically, this comes in the form of an apprenticeship. The length of your apprenticeship and what it involves can have a huge impact on how skilled you eventually become as a boilermaker. 

Employers will generally always favor candidates with more intensive training. And they’re often willing to pay more to hire these applicants.

LOCATION

Where you’re searching for a job can have a huge impact on how much you’re able to make as a boilermaker. For example, a boilermaker in New York will earn $91,090 per year on average. But a boilermaker with the same qualifications in Alabama will only earn $59,530 per year on average.

This is something you may want to keep in mind while applying for jobs. If you have geographic flexibility, it may be worth moving to an area where boilermakers earn more money. You just need to balance the salary increase with any potential increase in your costs of living.

EXPERIENCE

Experienced workers almost always make more than non-experienced ones. The same is true of boilermakers. You should expect your salary to go up as you spend more and more years working in this field. That’s because employers are generally willing to spend additional money to retain their employees that know the most about their job.

How much do boilermakers make per hour?

Now that we’ve covered what can impact your earnings as a boilermaker, let’s start diving into some specifics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, boilermakers in the United States as a whole earn approximately $31.42 per hour on average.

That compares very favorably to the average hourly wage for a high school graduate in the United States, which is just $18.65. This stat clearly shows the significant income boost that you can get from training to become a boilermaker if you don’t have a college degree.

This pay rate compares very well to the average hourly wage for a college graduate as well. College grads earn an average of $21 per hour in the U.S.

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What’s the average yearly salary for a boilermaker?

The average annual salary for a boilermaker is $65,360. That’s a super solid income that should enable you to live a good lifestyle. It certainly compares favorably to other industrial jobs, such as machinists, which make just $47,040 per year on average.

Does my salary depend on the type of work I do

Your salary as a boilermaker can be influenced by the specific type of work that you do. For example, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ boilermaker salary breakdown by industry:

  • Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors: $79,190
  • Utility system construction: $68,040
  • Nonresidential building construction: $65,270
  • Other building equipment contractors: $61,030
  • Fabricated metal product manufacturing: $57,290

This list shows that the industry you choose to work in can greatly impact your overall earning potential as a boilermaker. There are pros and cons to each of these industries that go beyond salary. But this is absolutely something that you’ll want to seriously consider while deciding which jobs you’re going to apply for.

Where are boilermakers paid the highest

If you’re not tied down to a single location, then you could end up earning a lot more as a boilermaker by moving to an area where they paid very well. With that in mind, here are the top states for boilermakers, sorted by average annual salary:

  • Connecticut: $92,670
  • New York: $91,090
  • Minnesota: $85,170
  • Pennsylvania: $82,400
  • California: $81,630

We need to note that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ sample size for these figures is fairly low. For example, their annual average salary for boilermakers in Minnesota is based on a sample size of just 130 employees. 

That doesn’t mean the figures are wrong. It just means that there may be a fairly wide window of potential salary outcomes for you. There are just not very many boilermakers working. This makes it difficult to provide data about them with a high degree of certainty.

Is there a large difference between boilermaker salaries in cities and rural areas?

The difference between the income of boilermakers in cities and those in rural areas isn’t as pronounced as you might think. The gap between the two is quite a bit closer than it is with many other industrial jobs.

Certainly, if you want to make the very most as a boilermaker, you may need to live in a city to do so. The highest annual wage average for a boilermaker in a metropolitan area belongs to those working in the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA area. These workers earn $103,050 on average.

There are four more metropolitan areas with average earnings higher than the highest-earning rural area. These are:

  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: $87,180
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $87,050
  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI: $80540
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: $78,660

Compare that to the highest-paying rural area, which is North Northeastern Ohio where boilermakers earn $76,870 per year on average. So the gap between boilermakers in cities and rural areas is there. But it’s not necessarily large enough to make up for the additional cost of living that you would have while in a city.

How much do boilermaker apprenticeships pay?

Your first job in this career path will likely be as a boilermaker apprentice. One of the positives of choosing this profession is that you’ll earn an income while you’re completing the training you need to become a full-fledged boilermaker.

That being said, you shouldn’t expect to make as much as a boilermaker while training to become one. Apprentices typically start at about half of the average annual salary of a journeyman boilermaker. That means you should expect to earn about $26,130 per year while in your apprenticeship.

However, don’t take that number to the bank. You could earn more or less than that depending on factors like where you’re located and what apprenticeship program you choose. 

The lowest 10% of boilermaker apprentices earn just $16,240 per year. But the highest 10% bring in an average of $38,080 per year. Your salary as a boilermaker apprentice is very likely to fall somewhere between these two numbers.

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