Fabricators build parts or construct products the parts go into. To do so, they use a range of tools, raw materials, and their own hands. A successful fabricator reads and understands instructions related to the assembly of the product or part. They ensure all parts are present and that the finished item meets all quality control standards.
Responsibilities of a Fabricator
A fabricator may be asked to do many things in the course of their work. In addition to reading and following instructions, fabricators may participate in product development meetings or verify product specifications and dimensions. A fabricator might mark cutting lines on raw material or maintain a schedule for production.
Testing a part or product to ensure it functions properly may fall under a fabricator’s job description. In addition, this individual might be asked to troubleshoot or stress a part or product to ensure it is ready for distribution. When doing so, the fabricator may use a logos tig 200 square wave inverter welder and other tools.
Fabricators aren’t required to have a formal education to enter the field. However, a formal apprenticeship is recommended, as this allows a person to advance in their career faster. Employers prefer to see this education, as it means they spend less time and money training the employee.
The apprenticeship program covers both formal classroom training and on-the-job experience. It lasts, on average, four or five years. The individual will learn how to read blueprints and work with computer-aided drafting programs. Mathematics and mechanical drawing are two additional topics covered in the training. For individuals who want to work as a metal fabricator in HVAC, industrial welding, architecture, or sign fabrication, specialized courses will be offered.
The Work Environment
Most fabricators work in a factory setting. The individual may sit or stand for long periods of time while carrying out their job duties. Positions in this field tend to be full time, and a person might be asked to work nights or weekends.
The median annual wage for a fabricator was $37,170 as of May 2021. However, some individuals working in the field made as little as $27,420, while the highest-paid individuals in the field made as much as $58,640. The pay depends, in part, on which industry a person works in.
Those working in transportation equipment manufacturing tend to make the highest salaries. Men and women working as fabricators in the temporary help services field bring in the lowest salary in this industry. Take this into account when choosing whether to pursue more education.
Advancing in the Field
If a person wishes to advance in the field, they should obtain certification in a specialty. For example, the individual may wish to complete the Precision Sheet Metal Operator certification program offered through the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA). To do so, this person must have a minimum of one year of experience in machine operation or undergo at least one year of technical training. This is only one of several certifications offered in the industry today.
In addition, individuals working in the field should undergo continuing education. This ensures they know the latest fabrication technology. Many in the field become a member of FMA to gather this information. However, other continuing education opportunities are offered.
While jobs in this industry are declining, positions remain open today. To excel in one of these positions, take part in ongoing training. Doing so ensures the worker is prepared for the future, regardless of where the industry goes.