If you have a solid mechanical aptitude, like to work with your hands and enjoy physical work, consider a career as an industrial mechanic or millwright. This “how to become a millwright” guide covers the education and training requirements needed to start this career.
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What Does a Millwright Do?
A millwright, or an industrial mechanic, typically works on machinery in a factory or construction setting. Millwrights work in various locations, such as processing plants, construction sites, machine shops, manufacturing companies and power plants.
Millwrights must possess strong technical and analytical skills. Typical millwright duties and responsibilities include:
Read technical manuals related to industrial equipment and controls.
Technical tasks, such as repairing and replacing parts on various machinery.
Physical tasks, such as dismantling, moving and assembling equipment.
Examination tasks include testing settings and running batch tests to ensure smooth mechanical operations.
Communication tasks include explaining machines' problems to supervisors and plant managers.
Mechanical tasks, including installation, assembly, maintenance and set up of machinery, as needed.
Adjust and calibrate machines to the necessary specifications.
How Do You Become a Millwright?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that millwrights can expect a 14% employment growth rate between now and 2031. The BLS predicts the increased demand for manufacturing machinery will continue, fueling the need for millwrights. Those who have completed an approved apprenticeship program and possess an educational background in industrial machinery or a related area have the best chances of obtaining a position in this field.
We suggest the following steps for becoming a millwright, though there’s always some flexibility for your career trajectory:
Finish high school.
Thankfully, a millwright job doesn’t always require a college degree or trade certificate, but most employers want candidates with a high school diploma or academic equivalent like a GED.
Find an appropriate trade school.
Some employers may prefer a technical associate degree. You can research your local job openings to determine the most requested qualifications. If you opt for a trade school certification or associate degree, look for mechanical engineering, industrial maintenance technology or machine tool technology programs.
These programs typically contain mathematics, mechanical design, fabrication and machine tool applications classes. As a millwright, you may also benefit from a technical certificate in these subjects, machine manufacturing technology or applied technical management. Many of these programs may include a practical internship.
Opt for an apprenticeship instead.
Instead of a generalized industrial machinery education, you can enter a millwright apprenticeship. These three- to four-year programs include a minimum of 144 hours of technical training and up to 2,000 hours of paid workplace training. You’ll learn practical tasks like equipment setup, cleaning, lubrication, repair and operation and necessary skills such as welding, math, reading blueprints and machinery troubleshooting.
Apply for your independent job.
Once you complete the necessary training, you’re considered a fully qualified millwright and can look for a higher-paying job with more independence. You can study our millwright resume samples to see how other job candidates frame their experience, or try our online Resume Builder to craft a resume based on a few quick questions.
Millwrights possess a keen eye and ear for detail. The following technical and intersocial skills can help you successfully meet your daily job duties.
Key hard skills:
Helpful Soft skills:
Insights from a Millwright
Here is some insight into what you can expect from a career as a Millwright directly from professionals in the field.
What is the common career path for a Millwright?
A Typical Millwright doesn't need a bachelor's degree. A High School diploma will do. However, after obtaining your High School Diploma, it is important to become part of an apprenticeship program to gain some experience. Companies in this industry usually look for people with experience. You could also apply for an associate's degree in industrial maintenance which can help you gain experience.
What should someone consider before becoming a Millwright?
Things to consider before becoming a Millwright is if you like to work long hours and working even on weekends. You have to be ready to work under different types of conditions: dry, wet, indoors, outdoors, hot and wet. It is a very physical job with lots of pushing, pulling and lifting. You also need to take the appropriate safety precautions to avoid injuries.
What type of person excels in this job?
People who are dependable, cooperative, love working with machines and have a good eye for assembling perfectly, you can be a good Millwright.
What are some of the most important skills for Millwrights to have?
Good coordination skills and manual dexterity, good physical condition, willingness to work under any condition and a keen eye for assembly.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Millwright?
Millwrights are part of one of the oldest and respected jobs in the world. Every single industry needs a Millwright, meaning that you can have a stable career that can last.
How Much Do Millwrights Get Paid?
Millwrights realize a median hourly wage of $24.71. At the lower end of this pay range, Millwrights earn $15.49 per hour. Those being paid at the top end of this range make an hourly wage of $36.71.
Top 10 States for Millwright Salary
Millwrights in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.
The following resources have been assembled to help you further research the responsibilities of a Millwright as you contemplate this as a career option. You can learn more about the daily tasks and expectations associated with being a Millwright.
On the Web
Hosted by The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), this blog provides information about training, industry news and more.
Smith Industries Ltd. Blog
Hosted by a Vancouver-based machine shop, this blog provides information about industry news and trends and what it means to work in this type of environment.
Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation (IMPO) Magazine
A monthly online publication providing Millwrights and related professionals with industry trends, safety information and technological news.
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP)
This nonprofit organization provides mechanics, engineers, Millwrights and similar professions with networking, education and certification opportunities.
Industrial Supply Association (ISA)
An industrial trade association, ISA provides Millwrights and related professions with various resources, such as webinars, educational courses, conventions, industry news and online articles and videos.
Audel Millwrights and Mechanics Guide 5th Edition
An extensive guide covering troubleshooting and repair tips and strategies for new and old equipment.
Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance Third Edition
Written by an industrial engineering professional, this book explores everything from troubleshooting processes to safety procedures for those working in this industry.