Steel Industry Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

In the past, some employers hired workers without high school diplomas, but today most prefer high school graduates. Classes to take in high school include English, communications, general mathematics, computer science, and mechanical drawing as well as shop courses.

Postsecondary Training

Most steelworkers learn their skills on the job or through apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are open to high school graduates who are at least 18 years old. Apprentice programs generally last four to five years and teach skills through classroom lectures and on-the-job training. Some employers pay for workers to take additional courses in subjects they can use on the job, such as chemistry, management, and metallurgy. Other education is available through home-study courses, technical schools, and colleges. In general, those planning to work in administrative, managerial, technical, and engineering positions will need a college degree.

Other Education or Training

The Association for Iron and Steel Technology hosts specialty training conferences annually that allow steel industry professionals to hone their skills and stay up to date on industry developments. Past conferences include The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel: 101 and Maintenance Solutions: A Practical Training Seminar.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) offers certification in various operational areas including metalforming (stamping, press brake, roll forming, laser cutting) and machining (tool and die making; machine building and machine maintenance, etc.)

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Aspiring steel industry workers must complete an apprentice program that lasts four to five years; previous experience as a production helper will also be useful.

Many of the jobs in this industry are physically demanding, and workers need to be in good health and have strength and endurance. Traits that employers look for include good mechanical skills and computer aptitude, and strong reading comprehension, oral communication, and math skills.