What Is a Fabricator? (Plus Salary and Job Outlook)
A professional fabricator creates material goods for consumers, including household appliances, electrical equipment and machines. If this sounds interesting to you, consider a job where you can work with metals and form them into finished products as a fabricator. Understanding what this role entails can help you determine if it is the right career path for you and your goals. In this article, we discuss what a fabricator is, their job duties, requirements, salary and job outlook and some skills that are helpful for success in this role.
What is a fabricator?
A fabricator is a type of welder who creates various products. They use safety materials to protect themselves while they complete their tasks, such as gloves and safety glasses. When working in this role, you can wield various pieces of metal together to create the final products used for consumer goods. Professionals in this role can work with manufacturing companies or work as independent contractors. There are two types of fabricators you can choose to pursue:
Steel or metal fabricator
A steel or metal fabricator forms products together using steel or other types of metal. They can create either an entire product or parts of a product for others to finish assembling later in the production process. As a professional working in this role, you may work with different heavy equipment, such as flame cutters, shears and drill presses. Other hand tools, such as welding torches, are a primary function to this role when assembling products. Additionally, a steel or metal fabricator can work on large projects assembling infrastructures like steel ships and tankers.
A welder fabricator specializes in welding metal parts into final products. Professionals in this role read blueprints and other instructional material to help them complete their tasks. It's important for welder fabricators to pay attention to details went they're working on projects because they ensure exact cuts and measurements on various metal materials. Additionally, they conduct tests to make sure their products are of quality and meet safety standards.
Related: Learn About Being a Welder
Fabricator job duties
A fabricator is responsible for a wide range of duties that may change depending on the type of project they're working on and the team members they're working with on a task. Here are some primary duties for a fabricator:
Read technical drawings, blueprints or other technical instruction material
Use hand tools, such as flame-cutting torches
Operate machines to make precise cuts, shapes, welds, bends and repairs
Examine parts or final products for quality assurance before submitting the product for consumer use
Attend product developing meetings
Mark cutting lines on metal materials
Check to ensure all pieces are securely fitted, aligned and screwed into its place
Conduct stress tests and troubleshoot products to ensure it works properly
Adhere to safety standards and guidelines
Create detailed reports for product malfunctions
Requirements to become a fabricator
The standard education requirements for a fabricator can depend on the organization employing you. They may require a high school diploma or GED and a certificate or specialized degree from a program for this role. To earn a certification or degree, you can attend a vocational school or community college. Some courses you may take in a fabricator program can include blueprint reading, welding and reading. Additionally, you may take mathematics courses. You may also learn about working with different metals, such as steel, iron and copper.
You may also want to consider applying for an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship program for fabricators. This type of program combines classroom coursework with real-world application. By doing an apprenticeship, you may develop your skills further and you can add your experience with this program to your resume. Adding this experience to your resume can help you differentiate yourself from other professionals with a similar background to yours. In addition to an apprenticeship helping you develop your skills, you may experience your program offering you a job when you complete your work with them.
Salary and job outlook
The average salary for a fabricator can vary depending on your geographic location, educational background and experience, including certifications and training. The national average for fabricators is $59,344 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they expect this role to grow 2.7% from 2020 to 2030.
Skills for a fabricator
Here's a list of skills you may find helpful to have as a fabricator:
Detail-oriented: It's important for fabricators to be detail-oriented when completing their tasks because they're using heavy machinery and hand tools. When assembling a product, make sure you're measuring precisely and cutting metals in the exact spots.
Engineering knowledge: Engineering knowledge is helpful for this role because it can help you determine how to place objects together once you've welded them together. It can also help you find more efficient ways to complete your tasks.
Technology knowledge: Technology knowledge can give you helpful insight on how to use different equipment when you're working on your projects. If you understand some of the technology before applying for a job, it can help you differentiate yourself from others because you can add it to your resume and then you may require less training while on the job.
Dexterity: Dexterity is the ability an individual has in completing their tasks efficiently with their hands. A professional in this role may find it beneficial to have dexterity because of assembling products with their hands and using hand tools to complete your tasks.
Physical stamina: Physical stamina is the ability an individual has to perform their physical daily activity and sustain their work performance. As a fabricator, you can use your physical stamina when working on large projects during your workweek, especially when working on larger infrastructures.
Organizational skills: Organizational skills are important in this role because you're required to stay on schedule with projects and ensure you can meet the deadlines on time. You can also use these skills to help pay attention to details of the projects and perform regular maintenance on the equipment you and your team use.
Communication skills: You can use your communication skills in this role when you're working with your team constructing larger pieces of infrastructure. Additionally, you can communicate with your manager about products that are encountering challenges, such as failing stress tests, not meeting quality assurance or receiving faulty products.
Mathematical knowledge: Mathematical knowledge is beneficial for this role because you're measuring pieces of metal materials. It's important to make sure you're cutting the material precisely, so it aligns with the final product properly.
Design knowledge: In this profession, it's helpful to have some design knowledge because it can help you align your pieces of metal together properly to meet quality assurance. Additionally, you can use this knowledge in your teams when working on a large project if you have an idea that might be more efficient to try.
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