Description: Fabricators create metal structures through bending, cutting, welding, and assembling. Highly skilled welders and fabricators work closely with engineers on biomedical, aerospace, and prototype projects.
Knowledge Required: Math, physics, chemistry, basic engineering
Skills: Prototype fabricators read blueprints, weld, and use cutting and machining tools. They are trained to work with a wide variety of materials, such as titanium, aluminum, or plastics, in addition to steel.
Career Path: A high school diploma is sufficient for entry level jobs, but experience and extra training is needed for more advanced positions. Technical schools offer various levels of certification that open up more career opportunities.
Best Cities for this job: Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Chicago are three of the top cities for welders and fabricators.
Median Annual Income: National: $35,900 CA: $36,550. Prototype companies pay more to prototype fabricators than the average income listed here for metal workers.
Future Growth: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts little or no change of employment for fabricators and welders over the next decade. However, the combination of workers leaving or retiring from this large occupational group and the lack of skilled professionals will result in many job openings.
From the field: "It’s a race to get product to the market and it can take months to get something from China. So by having it made by a prototyper in America, you get it right away and you can start marketing or start testing the little things about it.” –Jeff Tiedeken, Prototype welder and fabricator, Creative Viewpoint MachineryView more Day in the Life videos »