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What Is a Fabricator?

Fabricators require no formal education but generally learn on the job. Learn about the training, job duties and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

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A fabricator is a type of welder who fuses metal parts together, typically in a manufacturing facility. Fabricators can learn on the job or receive training though a trade school. Adherence to safety precautions also must always be demonstrated.

Essential Information

Fabricators join metal pieces together to create a product or to use as pieces in other products. They typically work in factory settings and must use safety equipment, like glasses and gloves, to protect them from flying debris, loud noises and other workplace hazards. Although many employers do not require any formal training, employees may need on-the-job or vocational training to learn fabrication techniques they will use as part of an assembly team. Optional certifications are available through the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA).

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements Voluntary certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% for structural metal fabricators and fitters
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $37,050 for structural metal fabricators and fitters

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fabricator Job Duties

Fabricators utilize technical drawings, blueprints or other specifications to construct metal products, as well as a number of products ranging from sheet metal parts to metal molds. Some fabricators make pieces for larger projects, such as bridges or machines. Job duties also include aligning, fitting, welding, measuring, laying out and inspecting parts, marking cutting lines, studying specifications, gathering materials and operating machinery.

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Fabricator Requirements

Working in this field requires use of a variety of tools, such as blowtorches, shears, gauges, nail sets, power saws and workshop presses. Computers, enterprise resource planning software, spreadsheet software and word processing software are other tools commonly used. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some employers require vocational or on-the-job training to learn how to use tools, equipment, computer systems and software.

Many employers require no formal training, but many prefer completion of a certificate or degree program in metal fabrication. Programs offered at vocational schools or community colleges include courses on arc welding, blueprint reading and mathematics. Students may work with various metals, such as steel and iron. Some schools also offer metal fabricator apprenticeship programs that combine classroom and on-the-job training.

Fabricator Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The BLS reported that structural metal fabricators and fitters filled 79,200 jobs in 2014. The BLS predicts that from 2014 to 2024, the industry would see a 2% increase in jobs, which is slower than average compared to all career fields. According to the BLS, these fabricators and fitters earned an annual median salary of $37,050 in 2015.

As we have learned, fabricators work with client specifications to create a product by welding together parts. Employers prefer prior work experience and/or training from a vocational institute.

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