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Become A Ship Fitter

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Working As A Ship Fitter

  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • $56,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Ship Fitter 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 Ship Fitter

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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Average Length of Employment
Journeyman Welder 5.1 years
Welder Fitter 3.7 years
Welder 3.5 years
Steel Fitter 3.3 years
Pipe Fitter 3.1 years
Welder-Assembler 3.0 years
Ship Fitter 3.0 years
Structural Welder 2.7 years
Aluminum Welder 2.2 years
Boilermaker Fitter 2.2 years
Tack Welder 1.8 years
Welder Apprentice 1.7 years
Top Careers Before Ship Fitter
Welder 17.8%
Foreman 5.5%
Mechanic 4.0%
Technician 3.6%
Cashier 3.6%
Supervisor 3.5%
Helper 3.3%
Carpenter 3.1%
Manager 2.5%
Top Careers After Ship Fitter
Welder 17.7%
Foreman 7.6%
Supervisor 3.9%
Technician 3.2%
Carpenter 3.0%
Owner 2.8%
Operator 2.7%
Cashier 2.6%
Mechanic 2.4%
Driver 2.3%

Do you work as a Ship Fitter?

Ship Fitter Demographics

Gender

Male

77.2%

Female

11.9%

Unknown

10.9%
Ethnicity

White

59.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

14.4%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.0%

Russian

5.7%

Italian

4.3%

German

2.9%

Carrier

2.9%

Bulgarian

1.4%

Filipino

1.4%

Ukrainian

1.4%

Shona

1.4%

Japanese

1.4%

French

1.4%

Fijian

1.4%

Cheyenne

1.4%

Dakota

1.4%

Polish

1.4%
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Ship Fitter Education

Schools

Tulsa Welding School

11.9%

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

11.2%

University of Phoenix

8.8%

A-Technical College

7.7%

The Academy

5.0%

Bishop State Community College

5.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Lee College

4.2%

Thomas Nelson Community College

4.2%

Delgado Community College

3.8%

Liberty University

3.8%

Del Mar College

3.5%

Universal Technical Institute

3.5%

Pearl River Community College

3.5%

Remington College

3.5%

Jones County Junior College

3.5%

Colorado State University

3.5%

ECPI University

3.1%

Lamar Institute of Technology

3.1%

West Virginia University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

18.1%

Precision Metal Working

16.7%

General Studies

7.2%

Mechanical Engineering

6.3%

Automotive Technology

4.8%

Drafting And Design

4.6%

Kinesiology

4.1%

Industrial Technology

3.6%

Education

3.6%

Graphic Design

3.6%

Electrical Engineering

3.5%

Criminal Justice

3.4%

Engineering

2.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.7%

Computer Science

2.7%

Nursing

2.5%

Management

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Fine Arts

2.4%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.4%
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Degrees

Other

46.9%

Bachelors

17.2%

Associate

15.6%

Certificate

12.2%

Diploma

4.4%

Masters

3.0%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$56,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$28,000
Min 10%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$112,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
BWX Technologies
Highest Paying City
Minot, ND
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Ship Fitter make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Ship Fitter in the United States is $56,686 per year or $27 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $28,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $112,000.

Real Ship Fitter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Ship Fitter Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors LLC LA Sep 06, 2013 $42,324
Ship Fitter Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors LLC LA Jul 01, 2014 $41,657
Fitters Crown Resource Management LLC Baytown, TX Oct 15, 2014 $35,834
Fitter SPC Contractors, Inc. DBA SPC LA Oct 01, 2011 $31,034
Fitter SPC Contractors, Inc. LA May 01, 2012 $31,034
Fitter Quality Construction & Production LA Mar 25, 2013 $30,762
Fitter Quality Construction & Production Youngsville, LA Jan 05, 2015 $29,781
Fitter Quality Construction & Production LA Jan 14, 2014 $29,781

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Top Skills for A Ship Fitter

  1. Nonstandard Parts
  2. Layout
  3. Safety Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared molds and templates for fabrication of nonstandard parts.
  • Study blueprints or layouts of metal work pieces to determine grinding procedures, and to plan machine setups and operational sequences.
  • Operated boom lifts accordingly to projects while using safety equipment following company's safety procedures
  • Planned out and installed high purity piping systems using blue prints, hand tools, and construction site machinery.
  • Fabricated belt guard aluminum and stainless steel coupling guards, pipe supports, pipe clamps and operated an overhead crane.

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Top 10 Best States for Ship Fitters

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

Top Ship Fitter Employers

Jobs From Top Ship Fitter Employers

Ship Fitter Videos

At my job (pipe fitter)

Pipe fitter job

Shipfitter, Career Video from drkit.org

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