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Steady... slow it down. Just a bit over to the left and ease it down...perfect! Now with the engine firmly secured in place the airplane is one step closer to being flight ready. All of this would not be possible without the skills of machine fitters. Machine fitters work with big, heavy parts to fit, assemble and basically build industrial machinery and transportation equipment. This job requires focus, precision and excellent manual dexterity not unlike that of a surgeon. Because they work on equipment such as airplanes it is imperative these workers are meticulous in their work any mistakes could cost not only money but also lives.

Machine fitters need to be able to read and interpret blueprints and sketches and diagrams. They must also fit and assemble prefabricated metal parts to build heavy industrial machinery and equipment such as construction, farming, and processing machinery, railway vehicles, and aircraft engines. These workers may inspect, move, assemble and install parts for any of the above mentioned machinery on any given day. This means machine fitters have an active interest in machinery and equipment parts and continue to update their knowledge as technology and machines advance.
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  Interests and Skills  
Machine fitters like to work with machinery and with their hands. These workers are interested in all types of machinery and parts and enjoy fitting and assembling parts into equipment. They have good spatial perception and are able to determine assembly operations. Machine fitters are focused and able to work with machinery using precise movements to install, move and fit parts. Another component of this job is the ability to keep informed by compiling information to install major components such as gears, motors and hydraulic assemblies

  Typical Tasks  
  • Read and interpret blueprints, sketches, and diagrams to determine assembly operations
  • Fit and assemble prefabricated metal parts to build heavy industrial machinery and equipment such as construction, farming, and processing machinery, railway vehicles, and aircraft engines
  • Move and align subassemblies and components using lifting and transporting devices such as overhead cranes
  • Install major components such as gears, pumps, motors, or hydraulic assemblies
  • Inspect parts, subassemblies, and finished products to ensure quality.
  • Machine fitters usually work a typical eight-hour workday with hours running from 9-5 or some variation of those hours. They will probably be indoors in an air-conditioned environment and wearing the required hard hats, safety goggles and steel-toed boots. Be aware that this is a very noisy work environment and earplugs are mandatory on some jobs.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Machine-fitters are employed in industrial machinery and transportation equipment manufacturing industries.

  Long Term Career Potential  
The potential for movement in this industry is somewhat limited. With experience, machine fitters can move into an inspector's job, or for variety move around from industry to industry.

  Educational Paths  
Machine fitters receive their training either through informal, on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship program. Trade certification can be obtained either through an apprenticeship program or after several years of work experience. While trade certification is not mandatory in all areas to become a machine fitter, it can be a requirement for many employers and can also help secure employment.

Apprenticeship programs involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. A pre-apprenticeship course may also be available which takes about five to six months to complete at a community college and is designed to help you get connected with a good company to apprentice with. It is important to apprentice with a reputable company as that is your education. While some apprenticeship programs may not require a high school diploma, it is important to note that employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates.

Apprenticeships can vary, however a typical apprenticeship lasts four to five years. The apprenticeship is a paid position, however wages are about 50 percent of what an employer pays the journeyperson, with yearly increases. After successfully completing the apprenticeship requirements, their industry training and apprenticeship office awards the machine fitter a certificate of completion.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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