Assemblers and fabricators build finished products and the parts that go into them. They use handtools and machines to make vehicles, toys, electronic devices, and more.


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 handtools or machines to assemble parts
  • Conduct quality control checks
  • Clean and maintain work area and equipment, including tools

Assemblers and fabricators need a range of knowledge and skills. For example, assemblers putting together complex machines must be able to read detailed schematics. After determining how parts should connect, they use handtools or power tools to trim, cut, and make other adjustments to fit components together. When the parts are properly aligned, they connect them with bolts and screws, or they weld or solder pieces together.

Assemblers look for faulty components and mistakes throughout the assembly process. Such assessments help to ensure quality by allowing assemblers to fix problems before defective products are made.

Modern manufacturing systems use robots, computers, and other technologies. These systems use teams of workers to produce entire products or components.

Assemblers and fabricators may also be involved in product development. Designers and engineers may 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 in doing the same or similar tasks throughout the manufacturing process.

The following are examples of types of assemblers and fabricators:

Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers fit, fasten, and install parts of airplanes, missiles, or space vehicles. These parts include the wings, landing gear, and heating and ventilating systems.

Coil winders, tapers, and finishers roll wire curs of electrical components used in electric and electronic products, including resistors, transformers, and electric motors. Using handtools, these workers also attach and trim coils or insulation.

Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers build products such as computers, electric motors, and sensing equipment. Unlike in industries with automated systems, much of the small-scale production of electronic devices for aircraft, military systems, and medical equipment must be done by hand. These workers use devices such as soldering irons.

Electromechanical equipment assemblers make and modify mechanical devices that run on electricity, such as household appliances, computer tomography scanners, and vending machines. These workers use tools such as rulers, rivet guns, and soldering irons.

Engine and machine assemblers construct and rebuild motors, turbines, and machines used in automobiles, construction and mining equipment, and power generators.

Fiberglass laminators and fabricators overlay fiberglass onto molds, forming protective surfaces for boat decks and hulls, golf cart bodies, and other products.

Structural metal fabricators and fitters cut, align, and fit together structural metal parts and may help weld or rivet the parts together.

Team assemblers rotate through different tasks on an assembly line, rather than specializing in a single task. Team members may decide how work is assigned and tasks are completed.

Timing device assemblers, adjusters, and calibrators manufacture or modify instruments that require precise measurement of time, such as clocks, watches, and chronometers.

Work Environment

Assemblers and fabricators held about 1.8 million jobs in 2021. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up assemblers and fabricators was distributed as follows:

Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators 1,367,100
Electrical, electronic, and electromechanical assemblers, except coil winders, tapers, and finishers      279,500
Structural metal fabricators and fitters 63,600
Engine and other machine assemblers 47,300
Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers 34,300
Fiberglass laminators and fabricators 17,800
Coil winders, tapers, and finishers 11,400
Timing device assemblers and adjusters 600

The largest employers of assemblers and fabricators were as follows:

Transportation equipment manufacturing 25%
Temporary help services 12
Machinery manufacturing 10
Computer and electronic product manufacturing      9
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 8

Most assemblers and fabricators work in manufacturing plants, and working conditions vary by plant and by industry. Many physically difficult tasks, such as tightening massive bolts or moving heavy parts into position, have been automated or made easier through the use of power tools. Assembly work, however, may still involve long periods of standing, sitting, or working on ladders.

Injuries and Illnesses

Some assemblers come into contact with potentially dangerous chemicals or fumes, but ventilation systems usually minimize any harmful effects. Other assemblers come into contact with oil and grease, and their work areas may be noisy. Fiberglass laminators and fabricators are exposed to fiberglass, which may irritate the skin; these workers must wear protective gear, such as gloves and long sleeves, and must use respirators for safety.

Work Schedules

Most assemblers and fabricators work full time. Some assemblers and fabricators work in shifts, which may require evening, weekend, and night work.

Education and Training

The education and qualifications typically needed to enter these occupations vary by industry and employer. Although a high school diploma is enough for most jobs, experience and training are needed for advanced assembly work.


Assemblers and fabricators typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the occupation.


Workers typically receive several months of on-the-job training, sometimes including employer-sponsored technical instruction.

Skilled assemblers and fabricators may need special training or an associate’s degree, depending on the employer. For example, workers in electrical, electronic, and aircraft and motor vehicle products manufacturing typically need postsecondary education. Apprenticeship programs are also available.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) offers certificates and training programs in fabrication, coil processing, and other related topics. Although not required, these credentials demonstrate competence and professionalism and may help a candidate advance in the occupation.

In addition, many employers, especially those in the aerospace and defense industries, require electrical and electronic assembly workers to have certifications in soldering. The Association Connecting Electronics Industries, also known as IPC, offers a number of certification programs related to electronic assembly and soldering.


Experienced assemblers and fabricators may advance to become a supervisor or manager.

Personality and Interests

Assemblers and fabricators typically have an interest in the Building and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as an assembler and fabricator, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Assemblers and fabricators should also possess the following specific qualities:

Color vision. Assemblers and fabricators who make electrical and electronic products must be able to distinguish different colors because the wires they work with often are color coded.

Dexterity. Assemblers and fabricators should have a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination, as they must grasp, manipulate, or assemble parts and components that are often very small.

Math skills. Assemblers and fabricators must know basic math and must be able to use computers, as the manufacturing process continues to advance technologically.

Mechanical skills. Modern production systems require assemblers and fabricators to be able to use programmable motion-control devices, computers, and robots on the factory floor.

Physical stamina. Assemblers and fabricators must be able to stand for long periods and perform repetitious work.

Physical strength. Assemblers and fabricators must be strong enough to lift heavy components or pieces of machinery. Some assemblers, such as those in the aerospace industry, must frequently bend or climb ladders when assembling parts.

Technical skills. Assemblers and fabricators must be able to understand technical manuals, blue prints, and schematics for a wide range of products and machines to properly manufacture the final product.


The median annual wage for assemblers and fabricators was $37,170 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,420, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,640.

Median annual wages for assemblers and fabricators in May 2021 were as follows:

Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers $49,480
Engine and other machine assemblers 47,440
Structural metal fabricators and fitters 45,480
Coil winders, tapers, and finishers 38,360
Timing device assemblers and adjusters 37,780
Fiberglass laminators and fabricators 37,650
Electrical, electronic, and electromechanical assemblers, except coil winders, tapers, and finishers       37,460
Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators 36,590

In May 2021, the median annual wages for assemblers and fabricators in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Transportation equipment manufacturing $44,980
Machinery manufacturing 37,960
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 37,400
Computer and electronic product manufacturing      37,230
Temporary help services 29,820

Wages vary by industry, geographic region, skill, education level, and complexity of the machinery operated.

Most assemblers and fabricators work full time, and some work evenings and weekends.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of assemblers and fabricators is projected to decline 6 percent from 2021 to 2031.

Despite declining employment, about 192,100 openings for assemblers and fabricators are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 


Projected employment of assemblers and fabricators varies by occupation (see table).

In general, employment of assemblers and fabricators is projected to decline or have limited growth because many manufacturing sectors are expected to become more efficient and able to produce more with fewer workers.

In most manufacturing industries, improved processes, tools, and, in some cases, automation will reduce job growth. Increasingly, new advances in robotics have enabled machinery to perform more complex and delicate tasks previously performed by workers. In addition, assemblers and fabricators are increasing efficiency by working alongside robots, also known as “collaborative robotics,” which may reduce the demand for some assemblers and fabricators.

Changes in the cost of operations both in the United States and abroad may encourage some manufacturers to bring back production that was previously sent offshore. However, because new facilities in the United States likely will incorporate more automation technologies, they may require less labor overall and may require workers to have high-level skills.

For More Information

For more information about assemblers and fabricators, including certification, training, and professional development, visit

Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International

For information about careers in manufacturing, visit

Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs

For information about certifications in electronics soldering, visit:

Association Connecting Electronics Industries




Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz.

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