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Is Metal Fabrications A Good Career Path?

Selecting the right career path is an important decision and one that can have lasting implications. You may find that once you select a particular field, you’ll spend most of your working life in that field. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to do your research to ensure you make the right decision. 

With so many options available, it’s crucial to consider personal interests and skills and the potential for long-term growth and fulfillment. One industry that often flies under the radar but offers promising opportunities in metal fabrication.

Metal fabrication is a diverse field that involves shaping, cutting, and assembling various metal components to create products used in industries such as construction, manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and more. The type of work involved can include engineering, welding, sheet metal work, and custom fabrication. However, metal fabricators play a vital role in bringing ideas to life through their craftsmanship and technical expertise.

In this article, we will delve into the question: Is metal fabrication a good career path? We’ll explore the reasons why metal fabrication holds immense potential for individuals seeking a rewarding and secure profession. In addition, we’ll aim to provide valuable insights that can assist you in making an informed career decision.

Let’s get started. 

Best Paying Jobs in Metal Fabrication

Is Metal Fabrications A Good Career Path?
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To get a good idea of what the earning potential is in the industry, we have compiled a list of ten of the best-paying jobs. Of course, there are ultra-specific to the metal fabrication industry, and others may be just as lucrative. Don’t forget that other business services and C-level job roles are also required in the industry, which is often compensated much more than those who are involved in making the product. 

Here’s the list:

Construction Superintendent 

Job Description: Ensuring construction projects are completed safely, efficiently, and within budget and schedule. Their duties include:

  • Coordinating and scheduling workers.
  • Monitoring progress.
  • Inspecting work quality.
  • Resolving any issues that arise.
  • Ensuring compliance with safety regulations and building codes.

Average Salary: $107,414 Per Year

Salary Range: $59,501 to $162,451

Metallurgical Engineer

Job Description: Responsible for conducting research, designing processes, and providing technical expertise related to the production, extraction, refining, and testing of metals. They also analyze the properties and performance of metals, investigate manufacturing techniques, and develop methods to enhance material strength, durability, and cost-efficiency.

Average Base Salary: $100,648 Per Year

Salary Range: $59,897 to $157,391

Sheet Metal Foreman

Job Description: Responsible for overseeing the installation, repair, and maintenance of sheet metal components, such as ductwork, ventilation systems, and architectural metalwork. The foreman’s duties include:

  • Assigning tasks to workers.
  • Ensuring adherence to project specifications and safety standards.
  • Providing guidance and training.
  • Managing the workflow to meet project deadlines.

Average Salary: $74,513 Per Year

Salary Range: $46,721 to $106,497

CNC Programmer

Job Description: A CNC (Computer Numerical Control) programmer is a skilled professional who specializes in programming and operating computer-controlled machinery, particularly CNC machines. Their primary responsibility is to develop and write precise instructions, known as G-code, that direct CNC machines to perform specific machining operations. CNC programmers work closely with engineers and designers to understand the requirements of a particular project and translate them into machine-readable instructions

Average Salary: $69,009 Per Year

Salary Range: $39,610 to $99,340

Metal Fabrication Supervisor 

Job Description: Responsible for ensuring the efficient and effective execution of metal fabrication projects, which involve the shaping, cutting, and assembly of metal components. They will manage a team of metal fabricators, ensuring that the production process remains as efficient as possible.

Average Salary: $67,487 Per Year

Salary Range: $38,029 to $99,988

Metalworking Specialist

Job Duties:

  • Read engineering drawings and blueprints.
  • Operate machinery and hand tools.
  • Perform precise measurements.
  • Ensure the quality and accuracy of the finished products.

Average Salary: $63,248 Per Year

Salary Range: $37,106 to $95,465

Sheet Metal Worker

Job Description: Sheet metal workers are responsible for fabricating, installing, and maintaining sheet metal components for various applications. They work with thin sheets of metal, typically aluminum, stainless steel, or galvanized steel, and shape them into different forms, such as ductwork, roofing, siding, and HVAC systems. They will use sheet metal equipment such as laser cutting machines in their jobs.

Average Salary: $57,789 Per Year

Salary Range: $33,824 to $91,467

Aircraft Sheet Metal Mechanic

Job Description: Aircraft sheet metal mechanics work on various aircraft parts and repair, maintain, and fabricate sheet metal components.

Average Base Salary: $55,424 Per Year

Salary Range: $33,397 to $85,947

CNC Operator 

Job Duties: Their primary responsibility is to set up the CNC machine, load the appropriate program, and monitor the machining process to ensure accurate and efficient production. 

Average Salary: $42,823 Per Year

Salary Range: $29,629 to $57,691

Metal Fabrication Welder

Job Duties: Responsible for welding and joining metal components to create structures, products, or machinery

Average Salary: $47,725 Per Year

Salary Range: $30,934 to $63,388

Top companies in the metal fabrication industry

Now that we’ve discussed some of the best-paying jobs, where should you apply? Here are some of the biggest metal fabrication companies in the US.

  • Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. – 2022 Annual Revenue: $539,000,000
  • BTD Manufacturing Inc. – 2022 Annual Revenue: $300,000,000
  • O’Neal Manufacturing Services – 2022 Annual Revenue: $220,000,000
  • United Steel, Inc. – 2022 Annual Revenue $210,065,000
  • Ironform Corp – 2022 Annual Revenue $210,000,000

Skills and experience required

Is Metal Fabrications A Good Career Path?

Many professionals who work in metal fabrication will have started in entry-level positions. They receive on-the-job training, which allows them to gain experience and build their metal fabrication career. Most entry-level positions will be focused on specific tasks, which may limit progression. However, with more experience, better-paying jobs become more accessible. Additionally, many entry-level positions will have limited education requirements. 

More specialized roles will require a college degree or qualifications in computer-aided designs or in operating a CNC machine. These qualifications are usually awarded from vocational schools. 

However, much like any industry, a mix of skills, experience, and knowledge is required to succeed. 

Is metal fabrication in demand?

Although many aspects of the industry are now automated, there will always be a demand for specialized workers in metal fabrication. As a result, metal fabrication careers are in demand and will continue to stay the same for the foreseeable future. The industry is likely to continue to thrive, although the focus may change to more sustainable materials. However, specialized workers will always be able to adapt. 

Can you make money as a metal fabricator?

Metal fabricators can make money; however, as the average salaries indicate, you will need to work longer before you make more money. Otherwise, the average is around the same compared to many other industries. However, bear in mind that metal fabricators work physically demanding jobs with the added risk of injury. This can mean that the eventual higher pay may not be worth it.

What are the benefits of the metal fabrication industry?

The main benefits are job security and demand. Once you’re employed and show your competence in the role, you can expect that you will remain employed.

Bottom Line

Metal fabrication can be a rewarding and promising career path for people interested in the field. Due to advancements in technology, such as CNC machining and automation, the field of metal fabrication continues to evolve, offering opportunities for growth and specialization. As a result, the industry will continue to thrive, and so workers must be prepared to adapt effectively.

However, for those who enjoy working with their hands, problem-solving, and creating physical objects, metal fabrication can provide a fulfilling and financially rewarding career path.

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