Metal Fabrication Training Programs and Degree Information

Metal fabricators and assemblers use various welding techniques to weld and fabricate metal products for manufacturing companies. Metal fabricators use complex tools and equipment to fabricate items like cars, large appliances and computers. Metal fabricators and assemblers must have a high school diploma; postsecondary training is optional but recommended. Metal fabricators can obtain welding certification to boost career prospects.

Training Requirements and Recommendations

The typical training program for metal fabricators starts with on-the-job training or a welding certificate program. Metal fabricators must have a high school diploma. Although most employers do not require metal fabricators to have college-level coursework, a welding certificate program is recommended and allows workers to gain a better technical understanding of metal fabrication and manufacturing.

Metal fabricators should have good coordination and physical health. They should be able to read mechanical blueprints and fabrication diagrams. They should be comfortable using metal fabrication equipment and tools and must adhere to strict safety procedures. In some cases, metal fabricators must have leadership skills in order to lead assembling and manufacturing crews.

Formal Education

Metal fabricators are typically required to have a high school diploma or GED. Most employers do not require a postsecondary education, but obtaining a welding certificate can display welding proficiency and lead to greater career opportunities.

Welding Certificate

A welding certificate adequately prepares students to work as metal fabricators and assemblers with manufacturing companies. A welding certificate teaches students how to use different methods and materials when welding. Students learn how to safely and effectively weld metal by working in the school's welding shop. Typical courses include:

  • Welding, cutting and brazing
  • Gas metal arc welding
  • Shielded metal arc welding
  • Gas tungsten arc welding
  • Welding blueprints and diagrams
  • Oxy-fuel welding
  • Welding safety and accident prevention

Job Experience

Metal fabricators are usually required to have 1 - 5 years of welding and metal fabrication experience. While metal fabricators may gain some experience through a welding certificate program, most get additional experience by accepting entry-level employment that provides on-the-job training. Some training programs allow beginning metal fabricators to work under the supervision of experienced assemblers and metal fabricators.

Licenses and Certifications

Metal fabricators are not required to be licensed or certified in metal fabrication. However, voluntary welding certification from organizations such as the American Welding Society (AWS) can prove welding and fabrication proficiency to potential employers. Metal fabricators who pass a comprehensive welding exam administered by the AWS receive the credentials of certified welding inspector (CWI). With this certification, metal fabricators can increase career prospects and hourly wages.

Workshops and Seminars

Technical and vocational schools that offer welding or metal fabrication programs sometimes hold welding, assembling and fabrication workshops. Workshops typically focus on specific areas of metal fabrication, such as quality control, quality assurance, electromechanical manufacturing or metal fabrication crew management. Employers may provide training workshops to newly hired metal fabricators and assemblers.

Additional Professional Development

Metal fabricators can find professional development resources and networking opportunities at Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International (www.fmanet.org). The organization offers a job board, an online newsletter, metal fabrication research studies and surveys, custom training and continuing education resources. The organizations also holds annual leadership conferences and summits for metal fabricators who have management or supervisory responsibilities.

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