How to Get a Job in Metalworking
Industry reports show more than 300,000 jobs for metalworking and fabrication. If you have a desire to work with your hands and a creative flair, these opportunities could prove just right for you.
How do you get a job in metalworking, though? The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The type of metalworking job
- Educational requirements
- Tools needed for the job
Before you start applying for metalworking jobs, make sure you meet the requirements for the job ahead.
Types of Metalworking Jobs
Metalworking is a broad term involving different types of careers. You can work with specific types of metal such as sheet metal. You can also work on specialized metal parts and products.
While metalworking takes in many industries, it’s best to look at the jobs with the most career growth opportunities.
Welders and Cutters
Welders and cutters cut, join, and/or repair metal parts on equipment. You can get a job in any industry that involves working with metal pieces as a welder or cutter.
Welding and cutting is a growing niche of metalworking. This means you can find a job in this niche easier than some other metalworking niches. Welders and cutters make an average of $41,000 per year.
Sheet Metal Workers
Sheet metal workers are also seeing growth. In fact, this niche has a 9% career growth over the next ten years.
Sheet metal workers create products or parts from sheet metal. Workers in this niche can make an average of $48,000 per year.
Machinists operate machines and computers to produce metal parts. This niche requires a little more specialized knowledge to operate the machinery involved.
While machinists don’t see large growth, the need for machinists does remain steady. A machinist can make an average of $45,000 per year.
Boilermakers deal with vats that hold liquids or gases. This involves creating, repairing, installing, and maintaining these vats.
A boilermaker requires more specialized knowledge, but the industry has a 9% growth over the next ten years. As a boilermaker, you can make an average of $62,000 per year.
Education Requirements for Working with Metal
For most metalworking careers, you’re only required to have a high school diploma. It’s still best to have some training or vocational school for many of these options though.
Welders and Cutters
Technically, you only need a high school diploma to get a job as a welder or cutter. Many companies also require on-the-job training though.
If you get specialized training at a vocational school, you can get the experience required for these positions. Since welding and cutting require specialized tools this also helps cut down on accidents.
Sheet Metal Workers
Sheet metal workers only require a high school diploma to get a job. You can take classes, but on-the-job training works best to get the experience needed.
Since the products created differ for each workplace, you will need training at a new company anyway.
Since machinists work with specialized equipment, it’s best to take classes at a vocational or community college. You can get on-the-job training, but you have a better chance of getting a job if you’re already familiar with the machines used.
To get started as a boilermaker, you’re only required to have a high school diploma. This position also requires an apprenticeship of four-to-five years before you can work on your own.
Tools Required for Metalworking
Each type of metalworking job will require specialized tools and materials. There are some basic tools needed for any type of metalworking job though.
When working with metal, you’re dealing with cutting or manipulating the metal. This means you’ll need some basic safety equipment. This includes safety glasses and gloves.
If you have facial hair or long hair, you’ll also want to protect yourself from getting your hair tangled into any machines or equipment you’re using.
You will need specialized saws and scissors created for metalwork. These tools are created to cut through different types of metals, so you want to make sure you get the right types of saws and scissors for the jobs you’re working on.
Other Specialized Tools
You will also need specialized hammers for the types of metals you work with. Each job will require different types of tools to make the job easier.
If you plan to work in welding, you’ll also need to get the welding tools and specialized safety equipment for these jobs.
Other specialized machines and computers may prove necessary depending on the job you get. You can take advantage of these auctions to get the equipment and tools necessary for the job.
What if You Want to Work for Yourself?
You don’t have to work for a company to get started in metalworking. While starting out in another company will help you get the necessary training, you can also do contract work for different places as jobs come up.
If contract work is the way you want to go, you’ll need to treat yourself as a business. This means marketing your services and learning how to bid for contracts.
You’ll want to create a website so people can find you. You also need to get your name out in your local community so companies know you’re available. Many businesses will prefer to hire contract workers over full-time workers.
Build a Portfolio
You will also need to build a portfolio of the work you’ve done to get new jobs. You can keep a portfolio on a website to make it easier to share your experience.
The good thing about this portfolio is all the work you do can get included. This means private work you do for training purposes can get included in your business portfolio.
Get the Most Out of Your Metalworking Career
Whether you want to work for a company or for yourself, there are many metalworking opportunities out there. If you want more information about how to market yourself, check out the best digital marketing tips and tricks.
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