Top-Paying Skilled Trades: Millwright


Intrigued by massive industrial machines?

Have solid mechanical aptitude and an eye for precision work?

Want to join one of the oldest and most respected skilled trades in the world?

Working as a millwright could be a great option. Here’s why:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of millwrights is projected to grow 10 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The demand for millwrights is expected to increase to address the increased adoption of sophisticated manufacturing machinery over the coming decade.
  • Among jobs for high school graduates, pay for millwrights is excellent. 2017 median pay was $53,980 per year.

As we mentioned in this earlier post on top-paying skilled trades jobs, millwrights are already in high demand, and as machine automation increases, more millwrights will be required to keep those machines in good working order. Bottom line, it’s a great time to be in the field!

What does a millwright do?

Millwrights are an elite group of craftsmen who perform precision installation, maintenance and assembly/disassembly of industrial machines. They may:

  • perform repairs that include replacing worn or defective parts of machines;
  • take apart entire machines to clear floor space for new machinery, carefully disassembling, categorizing and packaging each part of the machine;
  • use a variety of hand tools, welding equipment and precision-measuring devices;
  • work with managers to determine the best place for machine placement;
  • operate heavy equipment such as cranes, trucks, forklifts, hoists, winches and other equipment to move machine parts to their new location.

Working in a variety of manufacturing, construction and machinery/equipment repair and maintenance facility settings, millwrights must follow safety precautions and are typically required to wear personal protective equipment like safety glasses, hardhats and steel-toed shoes.

How can you become a millwright?

If you’re interested in starting a career as a millwright, you’ll need a high school diploma. Given the nature of the work, manual dexterity, mechanical aptitude and strong troubleshooting skills are essential. Classes in drafting, mathematics, mechanical drawing, CAD and industrial shop are also helpful.

To begin your career, you’ll need to join an apprentice program, which typically lasts three to four years. Employers, local unions, contractor associations and the state labor department all sponsor apprenticeship programs, so you’ll have many options to choose from.

For each year of your apprenticeship program, you must complete at least 144 hours of relevant technical instruction (i.e., welding, mathematics, blueprint reading, machine troubleshooting), and up to 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training (i.e., learning to set up, clean, lubricate, repair and start machinery).

Looking for millwright jobs?

When you’re searching online, make sure to search for related job titles such as construction millwright, millwright industrial, journey level millwright and millwright service technician.

Then contact PrideStaff. With offices across the nation, we’re the ideal career partner to help you find flexible and direct roles with leading construction industry employers. Search skilled trades jobs here.