Precision Metal Fitting Technician Careers: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons to being a precision metal fitting technician? Is it worth the education and training requirements? Check out some real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to learn if becoming a precision metal fitting technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons: Precision Metal Fitting Technician

Anything that uses metal parts might be assembled by a precision metal fitting technician. Some of the pros and cons of working as a precision metal fitting technician can be learned below.

Pros of a Precision Metal Fitting Technician Career
Average job growth for metal fabricators and fitters (8% 2012-2022)*
Certification allows opportunities for advancement*
More job openings are expected as workers retire*
Opportunity to work with your hands*

Cons of a Precision Metal Fitting Technician Career
As the manufacturing industry's efficiency grows, jobs are expected to be lost*
Working with machinery can lead to injuries*
Potentially unpleasant work environment in loud factories*
Often standing or sitting for most of the day*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

Typically, a precision metal fitting technician is assigned to one work station. Your work station might change from day to day or you might have multiple work stations depending on how your employer sets up the factory. Precision metal fitting technicians are normally assigned one task that is performed over and over as new parts arrive on an assembly line. You might position, align or fit metal parts depending on the specifications listed in the blueprints. Reading blueprints is a crucial part of this job, since they tell you how to set up the metal parts properly. Working as a part of a team, precision metal fitting technicians eventually create a finished product that gets shipped out and sold.

Salary

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that metal fitters made around $18 a hour, which amounted to average annual income of roughly $38,000. The highest paid technicians earned about $55,000 annually. Scientific research and development services was the top paying industry for structural metal fabricators and fitters as of May 2014. Additionally, the highest paying states for these workers included New York, Wyoming, Missouri, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Career Skills and Requirements

Job Training and Education

The only educational requirement for metal fitting technicians in an assembly line is a high school diploma or the equivalent. After being hired, technicians usually receive on-the-job training. For higher-level jobs, employers may prefer candidates with a certificate or associate's degree. In addition to education, metal fitting technicians should have the following skills:

  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Dexterity
  • Reading comprehension
  • Ability to visualize blueprints

What Do Employers Look for?

Due to the repetitive work involved at factories, employers want precision metal fitting technicians who possess the stamina to work on their feet for long periods. Employers also look for someone who is safety conscious. The following job postings are from real employers in April 2012.

  • In Texas, a fabrication company needs a precision metal fitting technician willing to travel to different worksites.
  • A manufacturer in Wisconsin calls for a precision metal fitting technician with experience in heavy fabrication.
  • A precision metal fitting technician opening in California requires someone who has worked with exotic metals, like titanium and inconel.
  • A Ohio fabrication company wants a precision metal fitting technician with at least 5 years of welding experience.

Standing out in the Field

Certification is not necessary for employment, but it allows you to stand out as a precision metal fitting technician. For example, you can gain a precision sheet metal operator certification from the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International. The examination you have to complete for this certification is multiple choice and consists of 100 questions. The test time is only 2 hours, and you have the option of taking it on a computer or by pencil and paper. Like most certifications, you'll need to renew your precision sheet metal operator certification every 3 years.

Other Career Choices

If you like the machinery used in factories, but don't want to be the one using it, consider becoming a millwright instead of a precision metal fitting technician. Millwrights transport, assemble, install and repair machinery used at construction sites, factories and power plants. The process of putting a machine together or dismantling it can take a few weeks or a few days depending on the type of the machine. Millwrights earned roughly $51,000 on average annually according to the BLS in May 2011.

If you like working with metal, then consider just being a welder. Welders use special tools and machines to heat up metal products in order to fuse them together. A lot of calculations and measuring are involved in welding due to the precise measurements needed. In May 2011, the BLS reported that welders earned about $36,000 a year on average.

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