Assemblers and Fabricators: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent for assembler and fabricator positions.
Training Required
Workers usually receive several months of on-the-job training, sometimes including employer-sponsored technical instruction.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: -14% (Decline)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) offers certificates and training programs in fabrication, coil processing, and other related topics. Although not required, becoming certified can demonstrate competence and professionalism. It also may help a candidate advance in the profession.
Median pay: How much do Assemblers and Fabricators make?
$30,930 Annual Salary
$14.87 per hour

Assemblers and fabricators assemble finished products and the parts that go into them. They use tools, machines, and their hands to make engines, computers, aircraft, ships, boats, toys, electronic devices, control panels, and more.

What do Assemblers and Fabricators do?

Assemblers and fabricators typically do the following:

  • Read and understand schematics and blueprints
  • Position or align components and parts either manually or with hoists
  • Use hand tools or machines to assemble parts
  • Conduct quality control checks
  • Clean and maintain work area, tools, and other equipment

Assemblers and fabricators have an important role in the manufacturing process. They assemble both finished products and the pieces that go into them. The products encompass a full range of manufactured goods, including aircraft, toys, household appliances, automobiles, computers, and electronic devices.

Changes in technology have transformed the manufacturing and assembly process. Modern manufacturing systems use robots, computers, programmable motion-control devices, and various sensing technologies. These technological changes affect the way in which goods are made and the jobs of those who make them. Advanced assemblers must be able to work with these new technologies and use them to manufacture goods.

The job of an assembler or fabricator requires a range of knowledge and skills. Skilled assemblers putting together complex machines, for example, read detailed schematics that show how to assemble the machine. After determining how parts should connect, they use hand or power tools to trim, shim, cut, and make other adjustments to fit components together. Once the parts are properly aligned, they connect them with bolts and screws, or they weld or solder pieces together.

Quality control is important throughout the assembly process, so assemblers look for faulty components and mistakes in the assembly process. They help fix problems before defective products are made.

Manufacturing techniques are moving away from traditional assembly line systems toward lean manufacturing systems, which use teams of workers to produce entire products or components. Lean manufacturing has changed the nature of the assemblers duties.

It has become more common to involve assemblers and fabricators in product development. Designers and engineers consult manufacturing workers during the design stage to improve product reliability and manufacturing efficiency. Some experienced assemblers work with designers and engineers to build prototypes or test products.

Although most assemblers and fabricators are classified as team assemblers, others specialize in producing one type of product or perform the same or similar tasks throughout the assembly process.

The following are examples of types of assemblers and fabricators:

Careers for Assemblers and Fabricators

  • Air bag builders
  • Aircraft de-icer installers
  • Aircraft engine assemblers
  • Aircraft fuselage framers
  • Aircraft layout workers
  • Aircraft line assemblers
  • Aircraft part assemblers
  • Aircraft riveters
  • Aircraft sheet metal mechanics
  • Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers
  • Anode builders
  • Armature assemblers
  • Assemblers
  • Assembling motor builders
  • Auto battery builders
  • Barrel straighteners
  • Battery assemblers
  • Battery builders
  • Breaker unit assemblers
  • Circuit board assemblers
  • Clutch housing assemblers
  • Coil builders
  • Coil formers
  • Coil winders
  • Coil winders, tapers, and finishers
  • Computer assemblers
  • Coping machine assemblers
  • Crate builders
  • Digital watch assemblers
  • Doll makers
  • Electric motor controls assemblers
  • Electric sign assemblers
  • Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers
  • Electrical assemblers
  • Electrical controls assemblers
  • Electrical timing device calibrators
  • Electromechanical assemblers
  • Electromechanical equipment assemblers
  • Electronic assemblers
  • Electronic sensing equipment assemblers
  • Electronic wirers
  • Engine and machine assemblers
  • Engine and other machine assemblers
  • Engine builders
  • Fabricators
  • Fiberglass boat builders
  • Fiberglass fabricators
  • Fiberglass grinders
  • Fiberglass laminators
  • Fiberglass laminators and fabricators
  • Fiberglass luggage molders
  • Fiberglass machine operators
  • Fiberglass rollers
  • Fiberglass ski makers
  • Fiberglassers
  • Gas turbine assemblers
  • Generator assemblers
  • Helicopter airframe mechanics
  • Jet engine assemblers
  • Lead team assemblers
  • Lure makers
  • Machine builders
  • Marine chronometer assemblers
  • Microwave oven assemblers
  • Mill beam fitters
  • Motor rewinders
  • Motor winders
  • Multiple coil winders
  • Programmable logic controller assemblers
  • Propeller layout workers
  • Protector plate attachers
  • Quilt stuffers
  • Rotor coil tapers
  • Sewing machine assemblers
  • Steam turbine assemblers
  • Structural metal fabricators and fitters
  • Switchbox assemblers
  • Synchronous motor assemblers
  • Team assemblers
  • Team assembly line machine operators
  • Team automobile assemblers
  • Time stamp assemblers
  • Timing device assemblers and adjusters
  • Timing device assemblers, adjusters, and calibrators
  • Transformer assemblers
  • Transformer makers
  • Truck transmission assemblers
  • Truck transmission builders
  • Vacuum cleaner assemblers
  • Vending machine assemblers
  • Wing coverers
  • Wire coilers
  • Wire winders
  • Wire winding machine tenders

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