Boilermakers assemble, install, test, maintain and repair boilers, vessels, tanks, towers, heat exchangers and other heavy metal or steel structures. Boilers hold liquids and pressurized cases that are used in many industries.

Many different skills are used as a boilermaker. Boilermakers inspect and maintain boilers routinely and also update and change out different parts either as needed, or to increase overall efficiency. Often boilers need to be taken apart to be repaired; sometimes they require strengthening using joints or metal pieces, and other times an entire section of the boiler needs to be replaced completely. Also, boilermakers often install special, technologically advanced equipment to decrease air pollution and help the environment. 

  • Read and understand blueprints and specifications to plan tasks in the right order.
  • Lay out plate, sheet steel or other heavy metal and mark lines for bending and cutting using various tools and instruments.
  • Fit and weld metal parts or sections together to fabricate boilers, tanks, piping and other metal structures.
  • Set up and operate heavy-metal working machines and equipment such as rolls, shears, flame cutters, drill presses, and maintenance cranes. 
  • Repair and perform regular maintenance on boilers and other associated heavy-metal structures.
  • Erect and install boilers according to specifications with a wide range of hand-held and larger power tools.
  • You like to follow a plan and see the results of your hard work immediately
  • You are mechanically inclined and like working with heavy metal products and large vessels.
  • You are passionate about boilermaking and may have established experience doing so in shipbuilding or a related industry.
  • You are keen to work with and apply the latest technological innovations in boilermaking.
  • You are a problem solver with a strategic approach to large projects.


Careers as a boilermaker in the BC shipbuilding & ship repair industry usually begin with an apprenticeship in Red Seal trades or with a job directly at a shipyard. Many get their start in shipbuilding as a shipyard labourer prior to being accepted into an apprenticeship program.

Discuss possible career steps with your school counsellor, career counsellor, or a union hall representative and consider high school trades programs and post-secondary pre-apprenticeship programs as a great place to start learning about the trades. 

ACE-IT High School Program (WELDER)


Most apprenticeships require you to  have a high school diploma and to complete a foundations certificate as a prerequisite prior to starting your apprenticeship. Check with available training providers to learn their specific eligibility requirements.

There are different pathways you can take in order to become a boilermaker. In order to be eligible for industry certification as a boilermaker, you can complete a three to five-year apprenticeship program or you can apply a combination of over four years of practical work experience as a boilermaker, plus some high school, college or other industry courses.


Red Seal trade certification allows for movement between provinces.

The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program


Employer sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through an application process. Union sponsored apprentices are selected and sponsored through their trade union and can be recruited by employers based on the needs of a shipyard.


Apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools, or other expenses. If you are considering an apprenticeship, visit the Red Seal program for information on how to get started.