With the start of another new school year just underway this means that in a few short months there will be a new crop of graduates preparing to enter the workforce. Granted a percentage of these new grads will move on to college and university for some specialized education. For every student who knows what they want to be when they finish high school there are several more who do not yet know what they want to do career wise. It is for those that we publish this article this week.

There are many types of construction projects that require various skill sets, everything from the technically advanced journeymen right on down to the unskilled physical laborers. Aside from the jobs that require some form of certification like electrician or gas fitter, there are jobs within construction where a person can get their training on the job. Rebar Placer can be one of those jobs.

To become a reinforcing steel or an iron rebar worker, applicants must have a high school diploma, or at the very least, an equivalency diploma. Having a sound understanding of math and shop is very desirable and some basic drafting training would be helpful with reading blueprints.

Upon graduation, there are two paths that one can take to become a rebar placer; you can go the route of on the job training or, you could enter a formal apprenticeship program.

On the Job Training
This route has you performing a lot of unskilled labour in support of the other steel reinforcing concrete co-workers. You will be carrying a lot of rebar about the job site. You may have to spend a considerable amount of time doing other manual labor such as operating shovels and jackhammers to prepare for footings and foundations. Slowly, over a period of time, you will eventually learn all of the skills required to properly perform this type of work.

Formal Apprenticeship Program
Sponsored by Unions and Contractor Associations, apprenticeship programs usually take about 3 to 4 years to complete. Over this period of time apprentices can expect to receive 150 to 200 hours of technical training for steel reinforcing and structural iron work. Also, apprentices can expect 1000 to 2000 hours of on the job training.

A few things to take into consideration prior to choosing the vocation of Rebar fabricator; You need to be physically fit as you will be manhandling steel for hours. Stamina is required, as is a certain level of dexterity as you will be carrying heavy loads all over a construction site and you will be standing and bending all day long. Good hand/eye coordination will help you to tie rebar quickly.

During the work day, a reinforcing steel fabricator can expect to do some of, or all of, the tasks detailed below;

  • reading blueprints to figure out how and where to install rebar or mesh
  • determine the quantity, size and shapes of reinforcing rods to be used
  • using metal shears, hacksaws and torches to prepare rebar and mesh for installation
  • bending and welding rebar
  • installing cables
  • position and securing steel rods, wire cables, metal mesh and or rebar in concrete forms

Generally speaking the wages for rebar placers are pretty good and just about every building construction requires some reinforced concrete whether it be in the form of footings, foundations and retaining walls.