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Metal Fabricator Apprenticeship
Did you know?*
- Manufacturing industries employ more than 90 percent of workers.
- A few weeks of on-the-job training is sufficient for most workers to learn basic machine operations, but a year or more is required to become a highly skilled operator or setter.
- Overall employment of machine setters, operators, and tenders is projected to decline rapidly over the 2006-2016 period as a result of productivity improvements and competition for jobs from abroad.
- Those who can operate multiple machines will have the best opportunities for advancement and for gaining jobs with more long-term potential.
*Statistics retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Metal fabricators make initial shapes or models to produce molds, forms and dies which are used to mass produce the components of virtually every manufactured metal product. They fabricate, lay out, position, align, and fit parts of structural metal products; such as: frameworks or shells for machinery, ovens, stacks and metal parts for buildings and bridges, according to job order or blueprints.
- Examine detailed drawings or specifications to find out job, material and equipment requirements
- Cut, roll, shape, bend, mould, spin, heat or hammer metal products to fabricate parts or sub-assemblies
- Heat metal parts and components
- Set up and/or operate hand and machine tools, welding equipment or Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines
- Assemble parts and structures by lining up and joining them by welding, bolting or riveting
- Finish products by cleaning, polishing, filing or bathing them in acid solutions, or by applying protective or decorative coatings
Most metal fabricators work in factories that are clean, well lit and well ventilated. They wear protective equipment; such as, safety glasses and earplugs to protect against flying particles of metal and noise. Some work may be in workshops or production areas that can be noisy, hot and dusty. Metal fabricators usually spend most of their day standing and often need to bend, crouch or climb. Some may be required to work in confined spaces or at heights, and many work shifts. They may work in a team or alone. Workshops are generally spacious, ventilated and well lit.
- 4 year training program
- 8,920 hours on-the-job training
- 576 hours paid related instruction
- Additional related instruction may be required
- Classroom studies include blueprint reading, mathematics, and metallurgy
- Entry requirements vary by employer
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Physically able to perform trade
- Engineering and Technology- Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Designs- Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Mathematics- Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Mechanical- Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Production and Processing- Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Operation and Control- Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Operation Monitoring- Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Equipment Selection- Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
- Troubleshooting- Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Repairing- Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
- Reading Comprehension- Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment- Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment. Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Problem Recognition - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Manual Dexterity- The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Information Ordering- The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision- The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Deductive/ Inductive Reasoning- The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Visualization- The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness- The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains information on all occupations. For more information on the Metal Fabricator trade in the United States, visit:
Sources: Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Position Descriptions,
Apprenticeship in Wisconsin Handbook