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Top 11 Ironworker Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for ironworkers, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for ironworkers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of proficiency and expertise that employers look for when hiring. Having certifications can give ironworkers a competitive edge over other applicants and show potential employers that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to do the job. Certifications also provide evidence of safety training, which is essential for working with heavy machinery and equipment. In addition, certifications can help ironworkers rise through the ranks faster as they gain more experience and prove their worth to employers.

This article reviews the best certifications for Ironworkers and explains how they can help advance an ironworker's career.

What are Ironworker Certifications?

Ironworker certification is a program designed to ensure that ironworkers are properly trained and qualified to perform their job. Ironworkers are responsible for erecting, repairing, and maintaining the steel structures that make up much of the modern world’s infrastructure. The certification process requires ironworkers to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in areas such as welding, rigging, and working with heavy machinery.

By becoming certified, an ironworker can increase their job opportunities and gain access to higher-paying positions. Companies are often willing to pay more for employees who have gone through the certification process because they know those workers possess the necessary skills and qualifications. Additionally, having an ironworker certification on one’s resume can give them an edge over other applicants when looking for employment.

Certification also provides a sense of security for employers who hire certified workers. They know that these individuals have received proper training for their jobs and will be able to work safely and efficiently on any project. This reduces the risk of accidents or injuries occurring on the job site due to improper technique or lack of knowledge. Ultimately, this helps employers save money by avoiding costly mistakes or litigation related to workplace accidents.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research and understand the requirements for obtaining an ironworker certification before attempting to pursue it. Some certifications may require additional training or experience, and some may also require a certain number of hours of on-the-job experience. Be sure to check with your local union or other certifying body to make sure you have all the necessary qualifications before beginning your certification process.

Related: What does an Ironworker do?

Top 11 Ironworker Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Ironworkers today.

1. AWS Certified Ironworker

AWS Certified Ironworker is a certification program designed to help professionals demonstrate their expertise in the AWS Cloud. The certification validates an individual’s ability to design, deploy, and manage applications on the AWS platform.

The Ironworker certification requires candidates to have at least six months of experience working with the AWS platform. Candidates must also pass an exam that covers topics such as designing, deploying, and managing applications on the AWS platform.

To get certified as an Ironworker, you must first register for the exam through Amazon Web Services (AWS). You will then need to schedule your exam date and time with a Pearson VUE testing center. After passing the exam, you will receive your official certificate from Amazon Web Services.

The cost of the exam varies depending on which country you are taking it in. Generally speaking, it costs around $150 USD for most countries.

2. OSHA 30-Hour Construction Safety Certification

OSHA 30-Hour Construction Safety Certification is a course designed to provide workers with the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize, avoid, and prevent safety and health hazards in the construction industry. The course covers topics such as OSHA standards, hazard recognition, hazard control methods, personal protective equipment (PPE), fall protection, scaffolding, crane operations, fire prevention and protection, electrical safety, hazardous materials handling and storage, excavation safety, and more.

The OSHA 30-Hour Construction Safety Certification is offered in two formats: online or classroom. The online version typically takes about 4 days to complete while the classroom version can take up to 5 days. Both versions require successful completion of an exam at the end of the course in order to receive certification.

The cost of the OSHA 30-Hour Construction Safety Certification varies depending on which format you choose. The online version typically costs between $100-$200 while the classroom version can cost up to $500 depending on where it is taken.

In order to get certified for OSHA 30-Hour Construction Safety Certification you must successfully complete an approved training program. You can find approved training programs through your local OSHA office or by searching online for “OSHA approved training programs”.

3. Certified Rigging Professional (CRP)

A Certified Rigging Professional (CRP) is a certification that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and effectively plan, manage, and execute rigging operations. The CRP certification is offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).

In order to become a CRP, an individual must pass a written exam administered by NCCCO. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as rigging principles, sling selection and inspection, load weight estimation, hoisting equipment, and safety regulations. Candidates must also demonstrate practical experience in rigging operations.

The exam typically takes two hours to complete and costs $250 USD. After passing the written exam, candidates must then successfully complete a practical test before they can be certified as a CRP. The practical test includes hands-on activities such as selecting appropriate slings for lifting objects of various shapes and sizes, estimating load weights accurately, and demonstrating proper rigging techniques.

The cost of the practical test varies depending on location but typically ranges from $500-$1,000 USD. Once both the written and practical tests are passed successfully, an individual will receive their CRP certification from NCCCO.

4. Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) is a certification issued by the American Welding Society (AWS). The CWI certification is designed to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of welding inspection and testing. It is a professional-level certification and requires passing an exam that covers topics such as welding processes, metallurgy, codes and standards, visual inspection, non-destructive testing, destructive testing, quality control and safety.

In order to become a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), you must first meet the qualifications set forth by AWS. This includes having at least four years of experience in the welding industry or related field. Once these qualifications are met, you will need to complete an application form and submit it to AWS for approval. Once approved, you will be required to attend an eight-day training course that covers all aspects of welding inspection and testing. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be eligible to take the CWI exam.

The CWI exam consists of two parts: written and practical. The written portion consists of multiple choice questions covering topics such as welding processes, metallurgy, codes and standards, visual inspection techniques, non-destructive testing methods and safety practices. The practical portion consists of hands-on performance tests in which you must demonstrate your ability to inspect welds using various tools and techniques.

The cost for taking the CWI exam varies depending on where you take it but generally ranges from $500-$1,000 USD. Additionally there may be additional costs associated with attending the training course prior to taking the exam.

5. NCCER Ironworker Certification

NCCER Ironworker Certification is a nationally recognized certification program designed to assess the knowledge and skills of ironworkers in the construction industry. The certification is awarded by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

The NCCER Ironworker Certification consists of two levels: Core and Advanced. The Core level covers safety, hand tools, rigging, welding, cutting, and basic fabrication. The Advanced level includes more complex topics such as structural steel erection, welding processes, and blueprint reading.

To obtain the NCCER Ironworker Certification, an individual must successfully complete both levels of training and pass a written exam administered by NCCER. Training can be completed through a variety of sources including apprenticeship programs or online courses. The entire process typically takes six to eight months to complete.

The cost of the NCCER Ironworker Certification varies depending on where you take the training courses. Generally speaking, it will cost around $1,000 for both levels combined. This cost includes tuition fees for the courses as well as any materials needed for the exams.

6. NCCER Structural Steel Erector Certification

NCCER Structural Steel Erector Certification is a certification program that provides the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and efficiently erect structural steel components. It is designed for workers who are involved in the erection of steel structures, such as bridges, buildings, towers, and other large-scale projects. The certification program consists of two parts: an online course and a hands-on practical exam.

The online course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and covers topics such as safety, rigging, welding, bolting, crane operations, hoisting equipment operation, layout techniques, and more. After completing the online course successfully, the candidate must pass a practical exam which tests their knowledge in the areas covered by the online course.

To get NCCER Structural Steel Erector Certification you must first take an approved online training course. Once you have completed the online training course successfully you can then register for the practical exam. You will need to provide proof of completion of your training before registering for the exam. The cost of taking the exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $200-$500 USD.

Once you have passed the practical exam you will receive your NCCER Structural Steel Erector Certification card which is valid for five years from date of issue. After five years you will need to retake both parts of the certification program in order to maintain your certification status.

7. NCCER Boilermaker Certification

NCCER Boilermaker Certification is a nationally recognized certification program that verifies an individual’s knowledge and skills in the area of boilermaking. The certification is administered by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). It is designed to provide employers with assurance that those who possess the credential have demonstrated a level of proficiency in their field.

The NCCER Boilermaker Certification consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical performance evaluation. The written exam tests an individual’s knowledge of safety, welding, rigging, pipefitting, and other related topics. The practical performance evaluation requires the candidate to demonstrate their ability to perform specific tasks related to boilermaking.

The NCCER Boilermaker Certification typically takes about 6 months to complete. In order to obtain the credential, individuals must first complete an NCCER-accredited training program or apprenticeship program. Once this has been completed, they can then take the written exam and practical performance evaluation at an approved testing center.

The cost of obtaining the NCCER Boilermaker Certification varies depending on where you take your exams and which training programs you enroll in. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $500-$2000 USD for both parts of the certification process.

8. American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1 Structural Steel Welding Code Qualification

The American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1 Structural Steel Welding Code Qualification is a certification program that provides welders with the knowledge and skills to safely and effectively weld structural steel components. This certification is required for welders who are welding on projects that require AWS D1.1 Structural Steel Welding Code compliance.

To become certified, a welder must pass an open-book written exam and demonstrate their ability to successfully complete a series of welding tests in accordance with the code requirements. The written exam typically takes two hours to complete and covers topics such as welding safety, metallurgy, welding processes, joint design, inspection techniques, and code requirements. The welding tests involve completing multiple test coupons with varying parameters while meeting the code requirements for each test coupon.

The cost of the AWS D1.1 Structural Steel Welding Code Qualification varies depending on the testing facility you choose to take your exam at. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250-$600 for the entire qualification process which includes both the written exam and welding tests.

Once all of the necessary exams have been completed, it typically takes about four weeks for your results to be processed by AWS and your certification will be sent out shortly after that.

9. American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Structural Steel Connections Qualification

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Structural Steel Connections Qualification is a certification program designed to ensure that structural steel fabricators and erectors have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to properly design, fabricate, inspect, and install structural steel connections. The qualification consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical demonstration.

The written exam covers topics such as basic connection theory, weld types and sizes, welding symbols, bolted connections, shop fabrication techniques, inspection methods for welds and bolts, erection techniques for bolted connections and field welding. The practical demonstration requires the applicant to demonstrate their ability to properly fabricate a connection in accordance with AISC requirements.

It typically takes approximately 8-10 weeks from the time of application submission to receive the qualification certificate. To get the qualification an individual must submit an application along with all required supporting documents such as transcripts or certificates of completion from approved training programs.

The cost of the AISC Structural Steel Connections Qualification is $250 USD plus applicable taxes.

10. National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI) R-Stamp Qualification

The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI) R-Stamp Qualification is a certification that allows an individual to perform repairs, alterations, and/or fabrications on boilers and pressure vessels. This qualification is recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), which sets the standards for boiler and pressure vessel safety.

The process of obtaining the NBBI R-Stamp Qualification typically takes between two to four months. In order to get it, an individual must first complete a training program approved by the NBBI. After completing the training program, they must then submit an application to the NBBI along with documentation proving their qualifications, such as proof of completion of their training program and any other relevant certifications or qualifications. The application will then be reviewed by the NBBI for approval.

The cost of obtaining this qualification varies depending on the type of training program taken and any other associated costs such as travel expenses or fees for submitting documentation. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

11. AWS Certified Welder Program

The AWS Certified Welder Program (CW) is a certification program designed to provide third-party validation of welding skills and knowledge. The program was developed by the American Welding Society (AWS) in cooperation with industry, educational institutions, and government agencies.

The CW program provides welders with an opportunity to demonstrate their welding skills and knowledge through a written exam and hands-on testing. This certification is recognized throughout the world as a symbol of quality craftsmanship and professionalism.

The AWS CW certification process consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical test. The written exam tests your knowledge of welding theory, metallurgy, codes, safety practices, and other related topics. The practical test requires you to demonstrate your ability to weld various joint configurations using different welding processes.

In order to become an AWS Certified Welder, you must have at least three years of experience in welding or equivalent education/training in the field. You must also pass both the written exam and the practical test with a score of 80% or higher.

The cost for taking the AWS CW exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $200-$400 USD for both parts combined. It usually takes about 1-2 weeks for results to be released after taking the exams.

Do You Really Need a Ironworker Certificate?

Yes, an ironworker certificate is essential for anyone wanting to become a professional ironworker. An ironworker certificate is not only required by many employers, but it also serves as proof that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to safely and effectively perform the tasks of an ironworker. The certificate also shows potential employers that you are committed to your profession and take pride in your work.

Ironworkers are responsible for erecting steel and other metal structures such as bridges, buildings, towers, and more. To do so safely and efficiently requires a great deal of knowledge about welding techniques, materials science, structural engineering principles, safety measures, and more. To receive a certification as an ironworker, applicants must pass tests on these topics and demonstrate their mastery of the material.

The certification process can be demanding but will ultimately benefit you in the long run. Not only will it give you the confidence needed to perform your job correctly and safely, but it will also open up new career opportunities with higher pay or better benefits. Additionally, having a certificate may qualify you for special training programs or educational opportunities within your field which can help you advance even further in your career.

Overall, having an ironworker certificate is invaluable for anyone looking to pursue this field professionally. It is a sign of dedication to the trade as well as recognition from industry professionals that you have what it takes to do the job right.

Related: Ironworker Resume Examples

FAQs About Ironworker Certifications

1. What is an Ironworker Certification?

Answer: An Ironworker Certification is a credential that demonstrates a worker has the knowledge and skills required to work safely and effectively in the ironworking industry. It is typically earned by passing an exam or completing a training program.

2. How do I become certified as an Ironworker?

Answer: To become certified as an Ironworker, you must pass a certification exam administered by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). The exam covers topics such as welding, rigging, blueprint reading, and safety.

3. Is there any continuing education required for Ironworkers?

Answer: Yes, many states require Ironworkers to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain their certifications. These courses are typically offered through trade schools or industry organizations.

4. What is the cost of becoming an Ironworker?

Answer: The cost of becoming an Ironworker varies depending on the type of training program you choose to pursue. Generally speaking, it can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars if you choose to pursue more advanced certifications or specializations.

5. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining an Ironworker Certification?

Answer: Some employers may require applicants to have prior experience working with metal before they can begin pursuing their certification; however, this is not always the case. In most cases, no prior experience is necessary in order to be eligible for certification exams or programs.