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Precision Metal Worker Job Description, Career as a Precision Metal Worker, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training High school diploma or vocational training

Average Salary $37,000 per year

Job Outlook Very good

Basic Job Description

A precision metal worker works in welding, machining, fabricating and processing in repair and metal work shops. They use a variety of different machines such as milling machines and lathes to produce metal parts for various customers. Some shops produce bulk items for production in the automotive industry or related industry that would require bulk products, while some metal shops produce unique and detailed products with specific requirements for a variety of customers.

Education and Training Requirements

Most precision metal workers attend a vocational school that offers classes specifically in the fields of working with metal. Classes may include welding, metal arching, machine technology, blueprint reading and designing, and other related classes. Someone who wishes to pursue a career in metal working can take high school courses such as wood shop to get a feel with building and working with machines. Mathematics courses also play an important role, as many metal workers need to understand measurements and other skills in order to construct the perfect piece of metal.

Most precision metal shops provide on-the-job training for anyone they hire in, regardless of previous experience. Most shops have specific machinery they use for cutting, shaping and designing metal, and it is important for all employees to have complete understanding of how machines work as well as safety procedures. Some shops may even require a training course to be completed in order to sign a safety waiver stating that employees have been taught the right safety procedures and understand how to operate the machinery.

Getting the Job

To work as a precision metal worker, it is preferred, although not required, for candidates to have some sort of prior training or experience in the field. In order to successfully work in the metal industry, a worker must have an excellent eye for detail and a steady hand to effectively cut or shape a piece of metal exactly how it needs to be. Many metal workers eventually gain manual dexterity to be able to produce a higher quality piece of metal without being restricted by only using one strong hand.

Precision metal workers will also be able to operate heavy machinery and be in good physical shape. The job often requires standing for long periods of time or holding heavy pieces of metal in an uncomfortable position in order to effectively shape or weld it. Workers should have strong hands and arms to cut the metal precisely and prevent injury.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Once a precision metal worker has gained experience in the field, they can branch out to working on more advanced products within the industry or even managing a metal shop. Experienced workers who have worked in several departments or with several machines will often be put in charge or promoted to manager of the shop where they will train new employees and observe the rest of the employees to make sure they are doing their job safely and effectively.

Other metal workers who develop an eye for design can advance to designing blue prints for companies who are looking for a specific piece of metal work. These workers will understand the abilities and components of several metals and create designs and pieces that will incorporate different metals and turn them into the product a customer wants. Blue print creators can also incorporate the latest types of technology into blue print design and help to advance the industry.

Employment in the precision metal work industry is on the rise as many metal workers are part of the baby boomer generation and are now looking to retire. Positions in this field are not declining, but the number of employees filling them is slowly diminishing.

Working Conditions and Environment

Precision metal workers usually work in a factory or shop type of environment. They spend most of their time working with metals with the help of heavy machinery and tools. Precision metal work often requires a lot of physical strength to operate machines as well as quick reflexes in the event that something goes wrong. Some machines can be potentially dangerous and cause injury if not used properly, so workers must understand the safety risks and comply with any regulations. Many metal shops require workers to wear protective gloves and eyewear to cut down on the risk of injury.

Metal workers also work as part of a team, and need to be able to effectively communicate with coworkers. Some jobs require employees to work in an assembly line format, so open and professional communication is a must in order to keep operations running smoothly.

Precision metal workers typically work 40 hours a week, but overtime is not uncommon if the shop experiences a busy season. Many times there are day, afternoon and midnight shifts to keep production moving 24/7.

Salary and Benefits

The average starting salary for a precision metal worker is about $37,000 per year. Salary usually depends on the level of experience a worker has, as well as seniority level. Metal workers who advance to a shop manager will have plenty of opportunities for salary and career growth.

Shop workers almost always receive an excellent benefits package along with their salary. They receive a full health insurance plan, and sometimes even a separate type of insurance if their particular job poses extra risk to injury. Shop workers also receive vacation time and sick leave that builds up the longer they have been employed with a company.

Where to Go for More Information

Precision Metalwork, Inc.
1216 Louisville Highway
Goodlettsville, TN 37072
(615) 859-4461

Precision Metalforming Association
6363 Oak Tree Blvd.
Independence, OH 44131
(216) 901-9190

Precision Metal Services, Inc.
418 Stump Road
Montgomeryville, PA 18936
(215) 661-0225

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesManufacturing & Production