What is a Boilermaker?

Boilermakers are in demand!

Boilermakers work in the heavy engineering industry and make boilers, engines and pressure-vessels.

They work with large sheets of metal to make parts for machines and equipment. If you imagine yourself as a metal worker and practically skilled, then a career in Boiler Making is for you!

Boilermakers build or repair containers made with steel plates and pipes which are used in many industries ranging from boilers for steam engines, vats, tanks and to pressure vessels like the ones used at power stations and petrochemical plants.

Their work can also be quite varied and Boilermakers can work in factories: making containers, doing repairs or work at power stations, on oil rigs, in petrol refineries, on the mines and in the shipbuilding industry.

In some ways they are like specialist welders and must be very skilled and responsible when they work:  reason being – containers they make or repair are used under high pressure or may contain chemicals or poisonous gases, so any fault in the seams and joints can cause accidents and serious injury.

What does a Boilermaker do?

  • accurately reading plans
  • building to specifications
  • cleaning and inspecting boiler for proper functioning
  • constructing, assembling, maintaining
  • repairing stationary steam boilers
  • testing assembled vessels
  • straightening or reshaping bent pressure vessels

Are you … ?

  • good at working with others?
  • detail orientated?
  • good with your hands?
  • mathematically minded?
  • good at technical drawing?
  • hard working?
  • willing to work in cramped, noisy, hot spaces?

How do I become a Boilermaker?

It’s possible to start studying and training from the age of 16 by applying to a FET college to do a NCV (National Certificate Vocational) course instead of an academic matric.

Otherwise you can start after school at a FET college, Technical training centre or University of Technology.

There are three ways to qualify as a registered Boilermaker:

  • an Apprenticeship
  • a Learnership
  • training at a FET college

They all offer theoretical training and practical experience.

You will need a National Certificate Vocational (NCV) in Engineering and Related Design (3 years) from a Further Education and Training (FET) College, with Engineering Fabrication as one of your subjects.

Part of your training includes practical work experience in order to gain a professional registration. This practical experience is gained through a learnership or an apprenticeship.

Further Education and Training Colleges (FET) offer programmes for specific Trades such as boiler making.

We advise contacting these institutions directly.

Visit the Career Planet Training Institutions page to find your nearest FET College.

Minimum requirements:   Grade 9 Certificate
Recommended subjects:   Mathematics and Physical Science

Certain Further Education and Training (FET) institutions may conduct interviews as part of their admission process.

  • TETA:  Transport Education Training Authority offers both learnerships and apprenticeships for artisanal trades.

Minimum requirements:  Grade 10 with Mathematics or Part 1 N1

The duration of the apprenticeship varies according to skills set and previous experience. If you are a fast learner you may be able to skip certain processes and go on to your trade test.


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Pipe Fitter or Automotive Sheet Metal Worker

Is becoming a Boiler Maker the right career choice for me?

See below for more info.


Visit the Career Planet Training Institutions page to find your nearest FET college.