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Metal Fabricator (Fitter)

Duties

A metal fabricator (fitter) lays out, preparesand assembles structural steel and metal vessels, containers and miscellaneous components.

Metal fabricators (fitter) fabricate structural components for buildings, bridges and other load-carrying structures, and plates for tanks, boilers, pressure vessels and similar products. On a typical project, they will:

  • review drawings and discuss them with management or the customer,
  • plan the sequence of tasks and decide how to cut the steel most efficiently,
  • determine the materials required and obtain them from stock,
  • develop and/or mark patterns if required,
  • use metal-working machines and cutting torches to cut steel, drill or punch holes, and roll, bend or press steel into the desired shapes,
  • assemble and fit metal sections and plates together to form complete units or sub-units, and
  • fasten components together (by mechanical means or tack weld) in preparation for a welder to complete the process.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.

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Working Conditions

A metal fabricator (fitter) usually works indoors in shops. They work a 40-hour week with some overtime required to meet construction or fabrication deadlines.

There is always some risk of injury involved in working with heavy materials and power tools.

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Skills and Abilities

The work is most rewarding for those who enjoy physically demanding tasks and seeing the results of their work.

To be successful in the trade, metal fabricators (fitter) must have:

  • good organizational skills,
  • strength and stamina,
  • the ability to use proper lifting techniques to lift items up to 25 kilograms,
  • good coordination, mechanical aptitude and manual dexterity, and
  • the ability to work in close quarters.

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Employment and Advancement

Metal fabricators (fitter) are employed in the manufacturing, construction and oil industries. Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $28 to $40 an hour, plus benefits. 

Experienced metal fabricators (fitter) may advance into careers such as inspection, supervision and management. They also benefit from the opportunity to become self-employed or open their own business.

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Working in Alberta

To work as a metal fabricator (fitter) in Alberta, a person must:

  • be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, hold a valid recognized credential , OR
  • work for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of a certified journeyperson, OR
  • be self-employed.

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.

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Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a metal fabricator (fitter) is 3 years (three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1560 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the metal fabricators (fitter) trade or holds a related journeyperson certificate and has the employer's recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship. Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprenticeship representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the online Prior Learning Assessment Application.  For more information, see the online Prior Learning Assessment Guide.
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a metal fabricator (fitter) in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade.

  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 
  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, an apprentice metal fabricator (fitter) earns at least 60 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 75 percent in the second, and 90 percent in the third year.
  • complete all of the program requirements as identified in the course outline
  • enroll in technical training
    - select an educational institution that offers training for metal fabricator (fitter) apprentices, and a time to attend training
    - determine requirements for enrolling at the selected institution, and forward completed enrolment form to the selected institution
  • review books and materials required for training
  • successfully complete all required exams

Apprentices may attempt the Interprovincial Exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal.

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.

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Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

A metal fabricators(fitter) who holds a valid trade certificate from Alberta or from another Canadian province or territory may apply to write the Interprovincial Exam and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. The Red Seal is recognized throughout most of Canada.

To prepare for the exam see the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.

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Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.

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Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

More information regarding the Equivalency Program can be found here.

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