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Career profile Iron Worker

Also known as Field Ironworker, Iron Installer, Iron Worker, Ironworker, Reinforced Ironworker, Rodbuster, Rodman, Steel Tier

Iron Worker

Also known as Field Ironworker, Iron Installer, Iron Worker

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$32,940 - $88,380 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Coordination
  • Critical Thinking
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Building and Construction
  • Mathematics
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Determine quantities, sizes, shapes, and locations of reinforcing rods from blueprints, sketches, or oral instructions.
  • Space and fasten together rods in forms according to blueprints, using wire and pliers.
  • Position and secure steel bars, rods, cables, or mesh in concrete forms, using fasteners, rod-bending machines, blowtorches, or hand tools.
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What does an Iron Worker do?

Iron Workers position and secure steel bars or mesh in concrete forms in order to reinforce concrete.

In addition, Iron Workers

  • use a variety of fasteners, rod-bending machines, blowtorches, and hand tools,
  • includes rod busters.

What kind of tasks does an Iron Worker perform regularly?

Iron Workers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Determine quantities, sizes, shapes, and locations of reinforcing rods from blueprints, sketches, or oral instructions.
  • Space and fasten together rods in forms according to blueprints, using wire and pliers.
  • Position and secure steel bars, rods, cables, or mesh in concrete forms, using fasteners, rod-bending machines, blowtorches, or hand tools.
  • Cut rods to required lengths, using metal shears, hacksaws, bar cutters, or acetylene torches.
  • Place blocks under rebar to hold the bars off the deck when reinforcing floors.
  • Cut and fit wire mesh or fabric, using hooked rods, and position fabric or mesh in concrete to reinforce concrete.
  • Bend steel rods with hand tools or rod-bending machines and weld them with arc-welding equipment.

The above responsibilities are specific to Iron Workers. More generally, Iron Workers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is an Iron Worker salary?

The median salary for an Iron Worker is $49,390, and the average salary is $54,700. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Iron Worker salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Iron Workers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Iron Workers earn less than $32,940 per year, 25% earn less than $40,520, 75% earn less than $63,900, and 90% earn less than $88,380.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Iron Workers is expected to change by 5.0%, and there should be roughly 2,200 open positions for Iron Workers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$32,940 - $88,380
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Iron Workers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Iron Worker are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Iron Workers typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Iron Workers typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Iron Worker tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Iron Workers strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Iron Workers moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Iron Workers moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Iron Workers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and leadership.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Iron Workers, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Iron Workers need?

Working as an Iron Worker usually requires a high school diploma.

Iron Workers need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Iron Workers

  • 33.1% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 43.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 15.7% completed some college coursework
  • 4.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 3.4% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.5% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Iron Workers

Iron Workers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as building and construction, mathematics, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Iron Workers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Important Abilities needed by Iron Workers

Iron Workers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Iron Workers need abilities such as static strength, trunk strength, and multilimb coordination in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Iron Workers, ranked by their relative importance.

Static Strength
The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
Trunk Strength
The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
Multilimb Coordination
The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

Critical Skills needed by Iron Workers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Iron Workers frequently use skills like coordination, critical thinking, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Iron Workers, ranked by their relative importance.

Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.