Most ironworkers learn their trade through a three-or-four-year apprenticeship. A high school diploma is generally required to begin such an apprenticeship. High school courses in math, shop, blueprint reading, and welding are useful.
Nearly all apprenticeship programs teach both reinforcing and structural ironworking. On the job, apprentices learn to use the tools and equipment of the trade; handle, measure, cut, and lay rebar; and construct metal frameworks.
In technical training, they are taught techniques for reinforcing and installing metals, as well as basic mathematics, blueprint reading and sketching, general construction techniques, safety practices, and first aid. After completing an apprenticeship program, they are considered journey workers who do tasks with less guidance.