Blacksmiths are specialized professionals who work with different types of metals to create structures, ornaments or sculptures.
Blacksmithing is one of the few professions that has an extensive history going back to the medieval ages and because of the useful products that it creates, is still a heavily needed line of work.
Individuals interested in this profession may feel like they are comfortable using their hands and creating items in close proximity to heat.
Individuals who want to become a Blacksmith have the option of entering the manufacturing field as a Blacksmith in manufacturing or entering an artistic profession as an Architectural Blacksmith to work on metal items such as fences, sculptures and even jewelry.
Education Requirements to Become Blacksmith
Individuals who want to become a Blacksmith need a combination of education and training in order to join this profession.
For the most part, these professionals need to work on gaining experience, know how to use safety precautions, have the physical strength and attain certification in order to attain a job in this field.
As far educational programs, individuals interested in this profession have a variety of specialized career programs to join in manufacturing or in the artistic field.
For example, individuals can pursue an Artist Blacksmith program to focus on creating jewelry or other ornaments.
Individuals who want to become a Blacksmith in the manufacturing field, can also attain experience and certification at a vocational or community college.
Individuals pursuing a career in manufacturing will learn a variety of blacksmithing basics and test their skills at the vocational or community college level.
Classes can begin with something as simple as teaching students how to turn on a torch and gas welding to learning how to control the torch’s flame and a variety of safety precautions.
Students will also learn safety equipment, become familiar with a variety of blacksmithing tools such hammers, tongs and anvils; and learn other basic skills such as: drawing, cutting, brazing, upsetting and riveting.
Students should also look for advancement opportunities by seeking out an apprenticeship.
During an apprenticeship, individuals who want to become a Blacksmith will move from learning about blacksmithing to practicing their new trade and gaining the necessary experience to find a job in their chosen career path.
To further advance their experience, individuals can look for opportunities as a journeyman through their local chapter and Blacksmith association.
Blacksmith Job Description
Blacksmiths work with a variety of tools to forge two different pieces of metal together to form a variety of completed projects.
Using hand eye coordination, and steady hands, Blacksmiths complete a variety of projects in the most safe and effective way possible.
Architectural Blacksmiths use their welding skills and artistic ability to create a variety of decorative structures such as fences, window bars and gates for homes and other buildings.
Their work is very specialized and focuses on creating decorative pieces.
In addition to forging metals together, day to day duties for these professionals include the following tasks:
- Study the blueprints or sketch of a project
- Calculate the dimensions of metal to be used
- Inspect the materials that need to be weld
- Prepare torches or power equipment
- Monitor for the prevention of overheating
- Take care of equipment and machinery
When forging metals together, Blacksmiths must also make sure that they are performing their job using safety precautions and wearing protective gear and goggles or masks to protect their face.
Blacksmith Salary and Career Path
The median income for Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers, which includes Blacksmiths, was approximately $36,300 in 2012.
The expected job growth for this profession through 2022 is 6 percent which is considered slower than average.
There will be a demand in the future due to an aging infrastructure that needs updating.
The best job prospects are for Blacksmiths who are able to transfer their skills to other fields such as moving from being an Architectural Blacksmith to a Historical Blacksmith to a manufacturing Blacksmith.
Individuals looking for advancement opportunities as a Blacksmith should work on being versatile.
The job growth may be slower than average, but because it reflects all Blacksmithing industries, individuals will still have plenty of opportunities in blacksmithing professions that are growing, especially if they work on the skills that make them versatile.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a blacksmith do?
A blacksmith creates objects made out of iron and steel by forging metal.
They heat the metal in a forge or furnace and create or repair tools, hooks, or machine parts.
Modern blacksmiths use hammers, punches, anvils and other hand tools but also power hammers, drills, air chisels, and other power tools.
They can forge ornamental and functional objects made out of metal.
With dexterity, experience and practical skills, you may create real works of art that can later be sold at craft shows or galleries.
As a blacksmith, you will need good hand-eye coordination, creativity, and attention to detail.
You will also need physical strength as you may have to stay long hours on your feet and you will spend much of the time in a hot and noisy environment.
How much does a blacksmith make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $41,380 as of May 2018.
Salaries vary depending on a wide range of factors, including skill level, experience, employer and region of employment.
As a blacksmith, you can make anywhere between less than $30,000 and more than $60,000 a year.
How much does it cost to become a blacksmith?
Blacksmiths typically learn this trade from an experienced blacksmith but you can also learn through a college program or workshop.
Blacksmithing classes that last a few days or weeks can cost anywhere between $30 and more than $400, depending on the program duration.
What is the demand for blacksmiths?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2018 to 2028.
Job growth in this field will be tempered by technology advances and foreign competition which are expected to reduce the demand for blacksmiths and other metal workers in the manufacturing industry.
However, if you’re a creative person with good technical skills you can use this traditional trade to create real works of art that can be later sold on craft markets and galleries.
Your job prospects depend on the types of objects you create and on how well you know your craft but also on your marketing skills.
How long does it take to become a blacksmith?
There are no formal educational requirements for blacksmiths but there are many workshops and classes that can teach you this trade.
These types of training programs can be completed in a few weeks or a few days, depending on the type of class and the way it is structured.
You may also learn the skills needed for this profession by working alongside an experienced blacksmith who will teach you the ins and outs of this profession.