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Steel Detailer - Level 1


Steel detailers are specialized technicians who make detailed shop or fabrication drawings that a steel fabricator or welder uses to manufacture girders, beams, columns, stairways and other steel components of buildings and structures.

The steel detailer interprets the fabrication requirements for structural steel components using engineering drawings, specifications, industry and government codes, and the directions of engineers and architects. The detailer then makes the shop drawings and related instructions that a steel fabricator will use to manufacture the components.

The steel detailer needs to be familiar with drafting and industry standard CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting) applications including 3D modelling software. They also require a high degree of expertise in the use of personal computers including standard office software and file management, and networking related to file transfer and sharing.

Senior steel detailers also may be involved in shop and site work, quality control, and project supervision.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Occupation Regulation.


Working Conditions

Steel detailers usually work in offices but, because the occupation relies so heavily on use of shared data files and networking, office locations are flexible.

They usually work standard office hours but overtime may be required to meet deadlines.


Skills and Abilities

The work appeals to people who enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, working in teams, analyzing data, finding innovative solutions to problems, and working with precision equipment and instruments.

To be successful in the occupation, steel detailers need:

  • the ability to work independently,
  • the ability to be precise and accurate,
  • the ability to visualize spatial relationships,
  • the ability to translate the abstract into reality
  • good problem solving skills,
  • proficiency in practical math and physics,
  • the ability to pay attention to detail,
  • good written and verbal communication skills, and
  • good user-level computer and computer network skills.


Employment and Advancement

Steel detailers may be employed by steel fabricators, engineering and drafting companies, or they may be self employed.

The employment outlook for steel detailers is good for the foreseeable future. Structural steel work is largely dependent on new commercial and industrial construction. It is expected that the large projects planned for Alberta for the next decade will sustain a demand for steel detailers.

Because of the increased use of information technology, the work of steel detailers does not have to be done at the project site. They may choose to participate in projects located anywhere in the world. This means that employment opportunities are less dependent upon local construction activity but also may be affected by global salary expectations and availability of skills.

Steel detailers can earn from $40,000 to $80,000 per year at the basic level while senior steel detailers can earn up to $100,000 annually.

An experienced steel detailer can move into estimating, quality control or management, and may operate their own steel detail drafting and design business.


Working in Alberta

Steel detailer is a designated occupation and participation is voluntary. A certificate is not required to work as a steel detailer in Alberta.

Job skills and competencies, standards of performance and training programs for steel detailers have been defined and approved under the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act.

A person who holds a certificate or document from another jurisdiction for a line of work that is much the same as Alberta’s Steel Detailer occupation may apply for occupational certification.


Occupational Certification Based on Recognized Credential

Steel detailers may acquire the knowledge and skill they need through work experience supplemented by CAD training offered through an Alberta post-secondary institution or by training offered through the National Institute of Steel Detailing (NISD) (see Competency Profile).

When individuals attend formal training, they may be required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on a certificate issued by another jurisdiction, a person must:

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on proof of industry established competency that meets Alberta standards for the occupation, a person must:

A person who achieves the standards of performance established for Level 1 of the Steel Detailer occupation is awarded an Alberta Occupational Certificate (see Competency Profile):

  • Steel Detailer - Level One

Registrar's Letter – National Institute of Steel Detailing (NISD)

A Registrar's Letter from the National Institute of Steel Detailing (NISD) confirms the individual identified satisfies the training, job skills, competencies and the standards of performance that are approved for Level One of the Alberta Steel Detailer occupation:

  • Level One – a period of 1800 hours (typically completed over 1 year) of formal and on-the-job training.