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At a Glance

  • Put together machines and heavy equipment
  • Often read and interpret blueprints
  • Use a variety of hand and power tools
  • Often wear safety gear, such as hardhats, gloves, and boots
  • Usually train through apprenticeship programs

Career summary

Millwrights install and repair machinery and heavy equipment in factories, power plants, and at construction sites.

#No alternate titles CJ

Before installation, millwrights read instructions and blueprints. They inspect and position the parts for assembly. They measure where to drill holes and fasten pieces together. They also fit bearings, align gears and wheels, attach motors, and connect belts.

Many new machines are installed with robots controlled by computers. Millwrights may program these controls or work with numerical control tool programmers. Once machinery is installed, millwrights test it to be sure it functions properly.

Large pieces of machinery are usually hoisted into place by hydraulic lift-trucks or cranes. Smaller pieces can be placed using pulleys and cables. Millwrights communicate with drivers and crane operators.

For new pieces of machinery, a foundation or steel supports may need to be installed to reinforce the floor. Millwrights may install the reinforcements themselves or supervise workers who do.

Millwrights also take machines apart for regular maintenance. They oil and adjust parts. When making a repair they inspect parts to see if they are worn or defective. They fix or replace worn parts.

Millwrights use many tools, such as:

Related careers

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to millwrights.

Common work activities

Millwrights perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, millwrights:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Millwrights frequently:

It is important for millwrights to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for millwrights to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Millwrights need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a millwright, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Some millwrights learn their skills through apprenticeship training programs. Union and non-union apprenticeship programs are available. Admission to apprenticeship programs is competitive. To apply for an apprenticeship, you must:

Apprenticeship programs usually consist of four years of on-the-job training. You are paid for the time you spend on the job. In addition, each year you receive at least 144 hours of classroom training.

To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities in your area, consult the US Department of Labor State Apprenticeship Information (external link) website.

You can prepare for an apprenticeship by taking courses at a professional-technical or two-year school. Courses in metalworking, general math, and drafting prepare students to enter apprenticeship programs. However, these courses are not required to qualify for an apprenticeship.

A few millwrights learn their trade through a two-year associate degree program in industrial maintenance. These programs cover shop mathematics, how to read blueprints, welding, electronics, and computer training.

On-the-job training

Most millwrights receive informal on-the-job training from an experienced worker. Trainees usually begin as helpers. They learn to operate machines, weld, and work with concrete. On-the-job training lasts several years.

Washington apprenticeships

For further information on apprenticeships in Washington, contact:

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Apprenticeship Program (external link)

PO Box 44530
Olympia, WA 98504-4530

#Verified prep info 3/7/07 & added new WA subheading, CJ. Checked info 3/11/09 & 3/1/11, cj. Checked info & added comments about math & phsyics noted in latest L&I apprenticehip catalog, 4/10/13 cj. WA Apprenticeship info verified 3/4/15 & 12/5/16 cj. Deleted occ specific apprenticeship requirements, 4/9/19 cj.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate. You should consider taking Algebra and Geometry as your math courses and Chemistry and Physics as your science courses.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Many employers require applicants for apprenticeships to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements.

Employers look for applicants with good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. Physical fitness and a good sense of balance are also important.


Opportunities may be better for those with broad-based skills. Courses in auto mechanics, electrical repair, computers, electronics, and machine shop are helpful. Employers look for individuals who are mechanically inclined and who have a solid background in math, physical sciences, and engineering. Millwrights with proven welding ability are in greater demand than those without. To become a certified welder, one may take an exam offered by technical or community colleges.

Costs to workers

Workers need to purchase some tools and reference materials. Some workers may be required to join a union and pay an initiation fee and monthly dues.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Millwrights (SOC 49-9044)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $18.53 $25.35 $29.08 $36.94 $44.90
Monthly $3,211 $4,393 $5,040 $6,402 $7,781
Yearly $38,550 $52,730 $60,480 $76,820 $93,390
    Bellingham Hourly $25.82 $26.86 $28.59 $30.33 $31.37
Monthly $4,475 $4,655 $4,955 $5,256 $5,436
Yearly $53,708 $55,870 $59,475 $63,080 $65,243
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $20.96 $28.59 $33.54 $36.46 $38.22
Monthly $3,632 $4,955 $5,812 $6,319 $6,624
Yearly $43,594 $59,484 $69,765 $75,843 $79,490
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $17.74 $22.77 $41.43 $46.78 $49.99
Monthly $3,074 $3,946 $7,180 $8,107 $8,663
Yearly $36,901 $47,355 $86,162 $97,290 $103,966
    Longview Hourly $25.60 $28.27 $33.25 $37.87 $40.72
Monthly $4,436 $4,899 $5,762 $6,563 $7,057
Yearly $53,243 $58,804 $69,169 $78,781 $84,691
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $25.56 $26.98 $29.38 $31.81 $41.88
Monthly $4,430 $4,676 $5,092 $5,513 $7,258
Yearly $53,153 $56,133 $61,117 $66,164 $87,121
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $22.88 $26.85 $30.66 $43.46 $48.42
Monthly $3,965 $4,653 $5,313 $7,532 $8,391
Yearly $47,601 $55,852 $63,781 $90,400 $100,715
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.03 $17.13 $25.44 $28.65 $30.58
Monthly $2,085 $2,969 $4,409 $4,965 $5,300
Yearly $25,034 $35,622 $52,926 $59,601 $63,601
    Vancouver Hourly $15.73 $22.24 $32.49 $37.98 $43.78
Monthly $2,726 $3,854 $5,631 $6,582 $7,587
Yearly $32,719 $46,275 $67,578 $78,998 $91,060
    Wenatchee Hourly $27.74 $40.89 $45.95 $51.54 $58.28
Monthly $4,807 $7,086 $7,963 $8,932 $10,100
Yearly $57,714 $85,058 $95,562 $107,200 $121,224
United States Hourly $16.39 $20.46 $26.47 $33.06 $38.78
Monthly $2,840 $3,546 $4,587 $5,729 $6,721
Yearly $34,090 $42,550 $55,060 $68,760 $80,660

Earnings vary by industry and area of the country. Two-thirds of millwrights belong to labor unions. These millwrights generally earn higher wages than non-union workers.

Millwrights who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include health insurance, a retirement plan, and paid vacation and sick leave.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Millwrights (SOC 49-9044)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,616 2.4% 16.1% 153
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 57 3.5% 13.4% 5
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 114 -1.8% 8.6% 10
    Benton and Franklin Counties 85 12.9% 15.0% 10
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 33 -3.0% 11.9% 3
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 484 1.0% 15.2% 44
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 211 4.3% 14.1% 21
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 216 8.8% 14.6% 24
    King County 98 2.0% 19.6% 9
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 27 -7.4% 13.8% 2
    Pierce County 82 2.4% 15.2% 7
    Snohomish County 43 0.0% 12.4% 4
    Spokane County 149 6.7% 13.9% 15
United States 44,300 8.8% 5.2% 4,400

National employment

Employment of millwrights is concentrated in the heavily industrialized areas of the country.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will be faster than average. Increased automation will mean more machines need to be installed, repaired, and disassembled. 

Many job openings will occur to replace workers who retire or leave this occupation. Job prospects are best for those with a broad range of skills as well as apprenticeship or other formal education.

Other resources

American Welding Society (external link)
8669 NW 36 Street, #130
Miami, FL 33166
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine, and Furniture Workers (external link)
2701 Dryden Road
Dayton, OH 45439
Robotic Industries Association (external link)
900 Victors Way, Suite 140
Ann Arbor, MI 48108


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational clusters