Structural Fitter Job Description

Structural fitters fabricate and construct structural metal items. Machine shops, construction companies, shipyards, and manufacturing businesses hire structural fitters to work full-time flexible shifts that may include weekends and evenings, with some overtime hours required. Structural fitters work in machine shops fabricating metal pieces and travel to jobsites to erect and install structural metal. Structural fitters are part of a larger team of manufacturers and construction workers and primarily report to a shop supervisor or jobsite foreman.

 

Structural Fitter Duties and Responsibilities

The daily duties structural fitters perform vary based on their industry, the structures they’re building, and their work environment. However, these core tasks are typically the same despite those variables:

Read Blueprints

Structural fitters read and interpret blueprints and determine how to build items to design.

Cut and Shape Metal

Structural fitters use torches and tools to cut and shape metal pieces. They measure all metal pieces to ensure they conform to needed specifications, often grinding and shaving metal to ensure it meets specific measurements.

Install Pieces

Structural fitters install and align metal parts by hand and by using various tools.

Lift Metal

Structural fitters lift metal pieces into place using hoists and cranes.

Weld Metal

Structural fitters weld metal pieces together using proper tools and safety equipment.

Design Molds

Structural fitters design molds to create metal parts to specifications.

 

Structural Fitter Skills and Qualifications

Structural fitters use their hands as well as various tools and equipment to create metal pieces to order and erect structures based on blueprints. Employers seek structural fitters who have all the following skills:

  • Measuring – structural fitters use measuring skills to take accurate, precise measurements of materials and to follow schematics and blueprints
  • Mathematics – structural fitters use math skills to translate blueprints into physical metal pieces that can be used to build structures
  • Attention to detail – structural fitters use attention to detail to follow precise plans and assemble structures as designed
  • Mechanical ability – structural fitters use mechanical skills to work with various tools and equipment
  • Analytical thinking – structural fitters use analytical skills to interpret blueprints and construct structures as designed on paper
  • Communication skills – structural fitters work in a collaborative team environment that requires good verbal communication skills

 

Tools of the Trade

Structural fitters work regularly with the following tools and equipment:

  • Hand tools (levels, plumb bobs)
  • Power tools (grinders, jacks)
  • Welding tools (torches, aprons, face masks)
  • Measuring tools (measuring tapes, rulers, squares)
  • Lifting tools (hoists, cranes, cables)

 

Structural Fitter Education and Training

Employers look for structural fitters who are least 18 years of age. Some prefer applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent, but this is not always a requirement. While some employers have requirements concerning past work experience, generally there is no special education or training needed for structural fitters because they are often hired on an entry-level basis.

Structural fitters undergo paid on-the-job training in the form of apprenticeship programs. These programs vary by industry and employer. While completing apprenticeship training, structural fitters work closely with an experienced structural fitter to learn all the tasks associated with this job.

 

Structural Fitter Salary and Outlook

Information from PayScale shows that structural fitters earn $18.37 in median hourly pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), however, assemblers and fabricators earn $15.31 in median hourly pay, or $31,850 annually. The BLS projects that these jobs will decline 14 percent through 2026. Like structural fitters, assemblers and fabricators assemble parts and products using tools, machines, and their own two hands. Structural fitters are a type of fabricator, and in some workplaces the two titles are interchangeable.

Employers offer benefits to structural fitters that include health insurance with dental and vision coverage. Life insurance, short-term disability, and paid vacation days are typically included in benefit packages.

 

Helpful Resources

These books and websites provide job listings, workplace tips, training programs, and other helpful information to help you find success in this career:

Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitter Career: The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted – written in clear, easy-to-read language, this book makes landing a dream job as a structural fitter a cinch

Fabricators & Manufacturers Association – find training courses, watch webinars, search for jobs, and browse upcoming events for structural fitters and all fabricators at this website

Shop Savvy: Tips, Techniques & Jigs for Woodworkers & Metalworkers – master techniques for working with various tools, such as metal lathes and drill presses, with this handy guidebook written for all professionals who work in shop environments

National Tooling and Machining Association – use the NTMA website to search for jobs, browse the marketplaces, explore educational resources, and search for upcoming training and networking events for structural fitters and other fabrication professionals

Machinists’ and Metalworkers’ Pocket Reference – this pocket reference is a simple, easy-to-use guide full of charts, tables, and graphs that make it easy for machinists and metalworkers of all kinds, including structural fitters, to do their jobs

The Fabricator – stay up to date on all the news and latest developments in fabrication with this site

 

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