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Scaffolder

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As you may have guessed, a scaffolder’s job is to construct scaffolding.

Scaffolding is a temporary structure built around a building or construction site.

Workers use this scaffolding to move people and equipment to higher levels.

Because it has to hold a lot of weight, building scaffolding has become a distinct trade.

Are you curious about scaffolding as a career?

Here’s everything you wanted to know.

Scaffolder: The Basics

First things first.

Let’s talk about what a scaffolder is, and what they do at their jobs.

What is a Scaffolder?

A scaffolder is someone who erects scaffolding around buildings or construction sites.

This is an important trade for safety reasons.

Everyone who climbs the scaffold is putting their life in the scaffolder’s hands.

A scaffolder is also part of a team.

They need to work according to blueprints and complete their work on schedule to meet job deadlines.

What Does a Scaffolder Do?

A scaffolder handles the entire process, including:

  • Reading and understanding scaffold blueprints.
  • Providing input on scaffold planning.
  • Transporting and unloading equipment.
  • Erecting the scaffolding poles.
  • Assembling the rest of the structure.
  • Adding safety features like guard rails and safety netting.
  • Performing intermittent safety inspections.
  • Tearing down the scaffold after a completed job.

Jobs Related to Scaffolder

  • A roofer installs and repairs roofs. Most roofers are self-employed.
  • A structural engineer designs buildings and other large construction projects.
  • A carpenter builds wooden structures, and may even work in steel and concrete.

Work Opportunities in the Scaffolding Industry

By becoming a scaffolder, you can benefit from today’s construction boom.

There are many opportunities to discover, but first, you need to understand more about the business.

Scaffolder Job Description

As I discussed already, a scaffolder is responsible for setting up and tearing down scaffolding.

But it’s important to remember that construction crews work as a team.

You’ll need to work with a project foreman, engineers, and other professionals.

The job requires as much talking and coordination as it does physical labor.

Top Scaffolder Jobs and Careers

On a larger crew, there could be multiple scaffolders.

In that case, they can take the following roles:

  • An apprentice is a laborer who learns the rope under an experienced scaffolder.
  • A scaffolder is a fully-qualified professional who can work without direct supervision.
  • A foreman oversees the entire scaffolding process.

Where Can a Scaffolder Work?

Scaffolders typically work for a construction company.

After all, there’s rarely any need for scaffolding when there’s no construction going on.

In larger cities, some scaffolders work for larger scaffolding companies.

These companies subcontract to large developers on major projects.

Current Career Job Openings

If you’re already qualified for a scaffolding job, what are you waiting for?

Check out some of these fantastic opportunities:

What It’s Like to be a Scaffolder

The big question about any career is: what is it like?

Here’s what you can expect if you decide to become a scaffolder.

Is Being a Scaffolder Hard?

Yes and no. On the one hand, it’s relatively easy to learn the basics.

On the other hand, you have to be meticulous.

Other people’s lives are depending on you!

You’ll also have to work outdoors.

This can be nice on a pleasant day, but it also means working in rain and snow.

Is a Scaffolder Job Stressful?

It all depends on your temperament.

A construction site is a fast-paced work environment with a lot of safety concerns.

On the other hand, you don’t have to deal with the public.

If you have a good relationship with your co-workers, most days are drama-free.

Common Scaffolder Work Day

A scaffolder’s work day can be different depending on where you’re working.

You could be working on a huge skyscraper in a big city.

You could be working on a single-family home in the suburbs.

You could be setting up or tearing down.

Let’s take a closer look.

Scaffolder Tasks & Duties

On any given day, you may be assembling the scaffolding structure or performing safety inspections.

Or you could be tearing down your scaffold to prepare for the next job.

Scaffolder Work Hours & Schedule

Your work hours will vary depending on the project.

On most jobs, you’ll work from dawn until mid-afternoon.

But some projects require work at odd hours – maybe even at night.

Scaffolder Dress Code

Most construction companies have a lax dress code.

As long as you’re wearing a hard hat and steel-toed boots, you can wear a heavy metal tee shirt.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

Not really.

You’ll have ample time off, but you’re working as part of a larger project.

The scaffold needs to go up and come down on a schedule.

Scaffolder Salary & Income

The second big question about any career is how much you can earn.

Let’s take a moment to talk about what scaffolders get paid.

Do Scaffolders Make Good Money?

They can! A lot depends on how much you’re working.

Any kind of builder can earn good money by working overtime.

Then again, your local market conditions are also a factor.

If there’s not enough work to keep you busy, you could struggle to keep up financially.

How Much Do Scaffolders Make?

According to research by Payscale.com, the average American scaffolder earns $20.18 per hour.

As with most jobs, this varies based on your experience and local labor rates.

Across the country, hourly wages range from $14 to $29.05 per hour. Overtime wages average $30.27 per hour.

Overview of the Scaffolder Industry

The scaffolder industry isn’t booming, but conditions aren’t terrible either.

Residential and commercial construction continues at a steady pace.

Keep your eyes open, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities.

scaffolder industry - image showing a man holding scaffolding and placing it

Scaffolding Field: Career Progression

Most scaffolders start as an apprentice, working for an experienced craftsman.

After a couple of years, you can learn enough to strike out on your own.

Some scaffolders also study at community college.

Is Scaffolding a Good Career?

Scaffolding is a great career for anyone who loves heights.

It pays as well as most trades, and better than some.

It doesn’t provide the best work/life balance.

On the upside, you’ll have ample opportunity for overtime.

Scaffolder Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t keep statistics for scaffolding jobs.

To get an estimate, I looked up the numbers for a similar profession: carpenters.

According to BLS statistics, the carpentry job market is projected to grow by 2% by the year 2030.

The projected growth rate for all trades is 5%, and 8% for all jobs.

Demand for Scaffolders

Based on BLS numbers, we can expect demand for scaffolders to increase by around 2% over the next decade.

That’s not terrific, but the market is still growing at a steady pace.

Scaffolder Facts

I’ve already talked about how important scaffolders are for safety.

But here’s an eye-watering number:

  • The BLS reports that falls from scaffolding make up 25% of fatal job site falls.

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Scaffolders

So, what does it take to make a good scaffolder?

Let’s talk about what you’ll need to do to be successful.

image showing a scaffolder training to be that profession

Who Should Consider a Scaffolder Career Path?

Number one, a scaffolder needs to be comfortable with heights.

You also need to be physically fit, with good hand-eye coordination.

And if you’re working independently, you’ll have to be able to read and understand blueprints.

Who Should NOT Consider a Scaffolder Career Path?

Needless to say, you shouldn’t become a scaffolder if you’re scared of heights.

And if you hate foul weather, you may prefer a different career.

Is it Hard to Become a Scaffolder?

Yes and no.

The work itself is physically demanding, and you have to go through training.

But once you’ve mastered the job, it’s not as difficult as many.

What Do I Need to Become a Scaffolder?

First, you need to apprentice with a qualified scaffolder.

It also helps if you take a scaffolder training course or two.

Requirements for Becoming a Scaffolder

The requirements to become a scaffolder vary from job to job.

If you work in the field for long enough, you’ll be qualified for any project.

What Skills Does a Scaffolder Need?

A scaffolder needs to take proper safety measures and follow established procedures.

They also need to be physically strong enough for the job.

What Education Does a Scaffolder Need?

A scaffolder only needs a high school education.

Can You Become a Scaffolder Without a Degree?

Yes, but it doesn’t hurt to take extra classes.

What Experience Does a Scaffolder Need?

You can get a job as an apprentice scaffolder without any prior experience.

Scaffolder Education & Schooling

Unlike a lot of careers, scaffolder education doesn’t have to take place in a formal setting.

It can also take the form of on-the-job training.

image showing a scaffolder training table

What is Taught in a Scaffolder Course?

A scaffolder training course teaches the basics of assembling a scaffold.

You’ll learn how to set up everything from base plates to safety nets.

How Long Does a Scaffolder Course Take?

It varies. Most community college courses last a single semester.

They can take much longer if the course involves an apprenticeship program.

Scaffolder Education Options and Degree Programs

There are no degree programs for scaffolders.

That said, you may want to obtain a business degree if you want to start your own company.

Bachelor’s Degree

Scaffolding does not require a bachelor’s degree.

Master’s Degree

There are no master’s degrees in scaffolding.

Schools for Scaffolders

The best place to study scaffolding is under the guidance of an experienced scaffolder.

Barring that, community college is a good choice.

Become a Scaffolder

Let’s say you want to become a scaffolder.

Here’s how to embark on your new career.

Steps to Become a Scaffolder

Most people start by apprenticing with an established professional.

However, this isn’t always easy to do.

If you’re having trouble finding an apprenticeship program, try enrolling at a local community college.

Even a single class can present you with tons of networking opportunities.

Even if you don’t find an apprenticeship right away, you’ll gain valuable experience.

Once you’re apprenticing, pay close attention and learn as much as you can.

The faster you learn, the faster you’ll be ready to work independently.

Wrapping Up

Scaffolding is an essential profession.

Without it, we wouldn’t be able to build anything taller than a one-story house.

Scaffolders also don’t have to worry about their jobs getting outsourced.

And no technology is going to render them obsolete.

The pay is good, and there may be opportunities for overtime.

If you’re interested in this career, the best thing to do is look for an apprenticeship.

The sooner you partner with a master scaffolder, the sooner you can launch your career.

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