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TechWORKS! Career Information Profiles


Think of steel for a moment and you probably think of frameworks for tall buildings or the hulls of huge ships. Steel is used behind the scenes in nearly any industry you can name. As a steel detailer, you translate engineering drawings and documents into detailed fabrication instructions through shop detail drawings.

The shop detail drawing provides a precise picture of each steel element and how it is to be made. This picture shows how every steel component is joined, how every bolt and weld is defined and located.

Each component is dimensionally defined and given an identifying mark. Essentially, each component is built on paper before it is fabricated

Where Will You Work?

As a steel detailer, you work at a steel fabrication or steel detailing company.

You work an eight-hour day, five days per week, but overtime is very common. You work in an office, making occasional shop and site visits. Many of the projects are located across Canada and throughout the United States, so travel could be involved.

How Much Will You Earn?

Average annual salaries:

Starting: $24,000-$30,000


Checker: $60,000-$65,000
Project Manager: $60,000-$80,000

How Does the Future Look?

There is a critical shortage of steel detailers in North America today. This situation is expected to exist for several years. Computer technology is enhancing the productivity of the steel detailer and is essential to his or her future.

How Can You Get Started?

In high school, be sure to take courses in mathematics and physics. You need one year of a college-level steel-detailing course as the minimum requirement for a junior detailer.

Steel detailers can be certified by the Steel Detailers Institute of BC (SDIBC) and the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC). There are three levels of certification: Registered Steel Detailer (RSD), Certified Steel Detailer (CSD) and Associate Steel Detailer (ASD).

What Will You Need?

You must have an aptitude for math and physics, and you must be detail oriented. A good working knowledge of computers is an asset. You need to develop good interpersonal skills and be comfortable contributing in a team environment as well as working alone.

Post Secondary Possibilities

Take a one year steel-detailing course, available at Vancouver Community College or BCIT (within the drafting program).

Other Resources

  • Canadian Institute of Steel Construction: www.cisc-icca.ca
  • American Institute of Steel Construction: www.aisc.org
  • Dowco Consultants Limited: www.dowco.ca
  • Check with your career facilitator or counsellor for other sources of information applicable to education options for this technology.

Salary figures indicated in the 'How Much Will You Earn?' section are extracted from ASTTBC's Member Compensation Survey or other Canadian sources applicable to the specific technology discipline. These figures are representative only; actual figures will vary depending on academic training, practical experience, job responsibilities and location of employment.


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