Heat Treaters


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Most employers require apprentice heat treaters to have high school diplomas. High school courses that may be valuable include machine shop, computers, mathematics, chemistry, drafting, and English.

Postsecondary Training

Many workers are trained as heat treaters on the job through apprenticeships. Most of these apprenticeships last four years and consist of classroom study and on-the-job training. The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment & Training Administration works together with heat-treating employers to establish these apprenticeship programs.

Apprentices begin by observing and assisting experienced heat treaters. At the same time, they study printed or digital materials on metals and the proper operation of machinery. As apprentices gain experience, they advance to more difficult tasks. Classroom instruction covers such topics as mathematics, mechanical drawing, trade technology, physics, elements of metallurgy, fundamentals of ferrous metallurgy, electroplating and metal finishing, metallurgy of welding and joining, stainless steels, chemistry of iron and steel, stress and strain of materials, applied mechanics, and physical metallurgy.


Earning a certificate isn't required for employment as a heat treater, but those who pursue advanced education have an advantage in the job market. It shows recognition of competence and professionalism in the field. The Metal Treating Institute (MTI) offers the heat treat specialist certificate to individuals who complete 60 credit-hours at the MTI Academy for Heat Treaters while also having completed 12 consecutive months of work within the heat treating industry. The qualified furnace operator certificate is awarded to individuals who complete 10-hours of instructional video combined with course material in heat treating materials, processes, equipment, quality/testing/inspection, and metallurgical theory. Other heat treating certificates are available. 

Other Education or Training

Trade schools and community colleges offer classes in operating metal and plastics machinery. Employers usually provide heat treaters with on-the-job training, but many prefer to hire workers who have already completed training programs.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

No certification or licensing is available for heat treaters. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Heat treaters learn while on the job and through training programs offered at trade schools and community colleges. They typically start as trainees.

Individuals who are comfortable with machinery and have knowledge of computers and computer-aided devices are best suited for heat-treating jobs. Knowledge of metals and their properties is also essential. Physical strength and stamina are required for handling heavy and bulky equipment and standing and working for long periods.