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Become A Metal Fabricator

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Working As A Metal Fabricator

  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • $35,725

    Average Salary

What Does A Metal Fabricator Do

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join or cut metal parts. They also fill holes, indentations, or seams of metal products.

Duties

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers typically do the following:

  • Study blueprints, sketches, or specifications
  • Calculate dimensions to be welded
  • Inspect structures or materials to be welded
  • Ignite torches or start power supplies
  • Monitor the welding process to avoid overheating
  • Maintain equipment and machinery

Welding is the most common way of permanently joining metal parts. In this process, heat is applied to metal pieces, melting and fusing them to form a permanent bond. Because of its strength, welding is used in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, aerospace applications, and thousands of other manufacturing activities. Welding also is used to join steel beams in the construction of buildings, bridges, and other structures and to join pipes in pipelines, power plants, and refineries.

Welders work in a wide variety of industries, from car racing to manufacturing. The work that welders do and the equipment they use vary with the industry. Arc welding, the most common type of welding today, uses electrical currents to create heat and bond metals together—but there are more than 100 different processes that a welder can use. The type of weld normally is determined by the types of metals being joined and the conditions under which the welding is to take place.

Cutters use heat to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions. The work of arc, plasma, and oxy–gas cutters is closely related to that of welders. However, instead of joining metals, cutters use the heat from an electric arc, a stream of ionized gas called plasma, or burning gases to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions. Cutters also dismantle large objects, such as ships, railroad cars, automobiles, buildings, and aircraft. Some operate and monitor cutting machines similar to those used by welding machine operators.

Solderers and brazers also use heat to join two or more metal objects together. Soldering and brazing are similar, except that the temperature used to melt the filler metal is lower in soldering. Soldering uses metals with a melting point below 840 degrees Fahrenheit. Brazing uses metals with a higher melting point. 

Soldering and brazing workers use molten metal to join two pieces of metal. However, the metal added during the soldering or brazing process has a melting point lower than that of the piece, so only the added metal is melted, not the piece. Therefore, these processes normally do not create distortions or weaknesses in the piece, as can occur with welding.

Soldering commonly is used to make electrical and electronic circuit boards, such as computer chips. Soldering workers tend to work with small pieces that must be positioned precisely.

Brazing often is used to connect cast iron and thinner metals that the higher temperatures of welding would warp. Brazing also can be used to apply coatings to parts in order to reduce wear and protect against corrosion.

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How To Become A Metal Fabricator

A high school diploma or equivalent combined with technical and on-the-job training is typically required to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer.

Education & Training

A high school diploma or equivalent combined with technical and on-the-job training is typically required to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer. High school technical education courses and postsecondary institutions, such as vocational–technical institutes, community colleges, and private welding, soldering, and brazing schools offer formal technical training. In addition, the U.S. Armed Forces operate welding and soldering schools.

Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful.

An understanding of electricity also is helpful, and knowledge of computers is gaining importance as welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators become more responsible for programming robots and other computer-controlled machines.

Although numerous employers are willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers and train them on the job, many prefer to hire workers who have been through training or credentialing programs. Even entry-level workers with formal technical training still receive several months of on-the-job training.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Courses leading to certification are offered at many welding schools. For example, the American Welding Society offers the Certified Welder and Certified Welding Fabricator designations.

Some welding positions require general certification in welding or certification in specific skills, such as Certified Welding Inspector or Certified Robotic Arc Welding.

The Institute for Printed Circuits offers certification and training in soldering. In industries such as aerospace and defense, which need highly skilled workers, many employers require these certifications. Certification can show mastery of lead-free soldering techniques, which are important to many employers.

Some employers pay the cost of training and testing for employees.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers perform precision work, often with straight edges and minimal flaws. The ability to see details and characteristics of the joint and detect changes in molten metal flows requires good eyesight and attention to detail.

Manual dexterity. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must have a steady hand to hold a torch in one place. Workers must also have good hand-eye coordination.

Physical stamina. The ability to endure long periods of standing or repetitious movements is important for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.

Physical strength. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must be in good physical condition. They often must lift heavy pieces of metal and move welding or cutting equipment, and sometimes bend, stoop, or reach while working.

Spatial-orientation skills. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must be able to read, understand, and interpret two- and three-dimensional diagrams in order to fit metal products correctly.

Technical skills. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must be able to operate manual or semiautomatic welding equipment to fuse metal segments.

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Metal Fabricator Demographics

Gender

Male

92.5%

Female

6.5%

Unknown

1.0%
Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.3%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

German

12.5%

Polish

8.3%

Chinese

4.2%

Japanese

4.2%

Dakota

4.2%

Carrier

4.2%

Mandarin

4.2%

Korean

4.2%

Russian

4.2%
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Metal Fabricator Education

Schools

Fox Valley Technical College

8.8%

University of Phoenix

8.8%

Ferris State University

7.4%

Owens Community College

5.9%

Universal Technical Institute

5.9%

The Academy

5.9%

Walla Walla Community College

4.4%

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

4.4%

Saint Louis Community College

4.4%

University of Maryland - University College

4.4%

Texas Tech University

4.4%

Madison Area Technical College

4.4%

Tulsa Welding School

4.4%

Moraine Park Technical College

4.4%

John Tyler Community College

4.4%

Northern Michigan University

4.4%

Greenville Technical College

4.4%

University of Alabama

2.9%

Tyler Junior College

2.9%

Labette Community College

2.9%
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Majors

Precision Metal Working

14.1%

Business

13.0%

Automotive Technology

8.9%

Criminal Justice

5.8%

Industrial Technology

5.5%

General Studies

5.5%

Electrical Engineering

5.5%

Mechanical Engineering

5.3%

Computer Science

5.0%

Graphic Design

4.2%

Apparel And Textiles

3.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.0%

Education

3.0%

Psychology

2.8%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.8%

Engineering

2.8%

Drafting And Design

2.5%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Aviation

2.2%

Management

1.9%
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Degrees

Other

47.2%

Associate

18.8%

Bachelors

16.9%

Certificate

10.7%

Diploma

3.3%

Masters

2.2%

Doctorate

0.9%
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Real Metal Fabricator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Structural Metal Fabricator Les Metalliers Champenois Corp. Paterson, NJ Jun 10, 2008 $83,480
Structural Metal Fabricator/Fitter Promet Marine Services Corp. Providence, RI Aug 15, 2008 $57,393
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Malone Industrial MacHine, Ltd Pasadena, TX Oct 06, 2010 $50,088
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Liberty Iron Works, Inc. Southampton, NY May 08, 2012 $50,066
Artisan Metal Fabricator Imperium Construction, Inc. New York, NY Oct 08, 2016 $46,966
Metal Fabricator/Fitter Thomas & Sons Builders, LLC, (D/B/A T& S Builders) New Milford, NJ Aug 02, 2016 $46,030
Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitter M & S Sanitation Corp. Florida, NY Jun 21, 2011 $43,597
Structural Metal Fabricators & Fitters County Glass & Metal Installers, Inc. Hackensack, NJ Oct 19, 2010 $42,846
Metal Fabricators, Structural Metal Products Cooper Tank & Welding Corp. New York, NY Nov 17, 2010 $42,702
Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitters Hutco, Inc. Moss Point, MS Feb 15, 2015 $42,617
Structural Metal Fabricator AJAY Metal Fabricators, Inc. Linden, NJ Oct 15, 2007 $41,740
Structural Metal Fabricators & Fitters Misivike Contractors, Inc. Cockeysville, MD May 10, 2011 $41,135 -
$41,740
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Rauch's Sons Inc. NY Nov 18, 2009 $40,780
Structural Metal Fabricators Universal Ornamental Iron Works Santa Ana, CA Nov 02, 2010 $32,822
Metal Fabricator King-Penberthy Enterprises Inc. Bell Gardens, CA Apr 13, 2015 $32,635
Metal Fabricator AIW, Inc. Hyattsville, MD May 22, 2009 $32,578
Metal Fabricator AIW, Inc. Hyattsville, MD Apr 30, 2009 $32,578
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Erection & Welding Contractors LLC New Milford, CT Nov 20, 2007 $32,578
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters F & C Professional Aluminum Railings Corp. Plainfield, NJ Oct 22, 2012 $32,536
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters American Building LLC Trumbull, CT Jul 07, 2008 $32,515
Strctural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Caldwell Industries, Inc. Lorton, VA Dec 10, 2010 $32,286
Metal Fabricator Americas Welding Corp. TX Feb 06, 2014 $30,971
Metal Fabricators CVC Construction, Inc. TX Mar 06, 2014 $30,846
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Crystal Window & Door Systems, Ltd. NY Oct 26, 2009 $30,800
Metal Fabricators All American Metal Fabricators Inc. Tenafly, NJ Feb 18, 2011 $30,721
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Anthonys Roofing & Maint., Inc. DBA A.R.M Roofing Elmsford, NY Jan 07, 2010 $30,700
Structural Metal Fabricators and FI CCR Sheet Metal Inc. New York, NY Apr 15, 2011 $30,700
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Metal Crafters Inc. New York, NY Dec 22, 2009 $30,700
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Wide Flange, Incorporated New York, NY Mar 16, 2010 $30,700

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Top Skills for A Metal Fabricator

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  1. CNC
  2. Aluminum
  3. Customer Specifications
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Learned to use a manual lathe and manual mill, and am currently learning to operate a CNC mill.
  • Manufactured extruded aluminum evaporator coils, condenser coils, and other products for heat transfer applications.
  • Fabricated metal to customer specifications, shaped delicate cooling system parts, operated forklift.
  • Project Leader - Managing System readiness for integration of MRP module and migration upgrade from BAAN 4.0 to LN.
  • Operated hydraulic press, hydraulic notching machine, chop saw, drill press, grinders, and other shop tools.

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Top 10 Best States for Metal Fabricators

  1. Maine
  2. Connecticut
  3. Wyoming
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Washington
  6. Louisiana
  7. Alaska
  8. Nevada
  9. Delaware
  10. District of Columbia
  • (9 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)

Top Metal Fabricator Employers

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Jobs From Top Metal Fabricator Employers

Metal Fabricator Videos

Sheet Metal Fabrication - Here's a Good Tip for Tack Welding

What is a Precision Metal Fabricator?

Tour of my Metal Fabrication/ Mechanical shop

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