Shipfitters fabricate and layout metal for building and repairing ships. They work for private companies as well naval shipyards. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the highest concentration of shipbuilders is found in states bordering a body of water. 1 Following is a comprehensive overview of how to become a shipbuilder, what this career entails, and what the career outlook is.
Experience is a big advantage when looking for a job as a shipfitter. Those who have worked in construction have an advantage. 2 A person with this experience should know how to read blueprints, have good math and science skills, and be able to work well with others.
At the same time, attending a school that offers shipfitting training is another avenue toward this career. Taking courses in algebra, calculus, advanced math and science, blueprint creation and reading, as well as other related topics can also increase your chances of finding good work. Having welding skills is important as shipfitters need to know where to locate the spot that needs welding.
Typical Job Duties
The exact work you do will naturally depend on the industry. Those who work for a small employer will likely be tasked with building, maintaining, and/or repairing small boats such as towboats and tugboats. Shipfitters who work for a large shipbuilding company will likely work with container ships, icebreakers, and ocean liners. Military shipfitters can expect to work on aircraft carriers, tankers, and submarines. 3
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Pay and Job Outlook
As of 2015, ship and boat builders earn a mean annual wage of $46,430. Pay primarily depends on experience, employer and industry of employment. Geographical location also plays a large role in how much a shipbuilder can expect to make on a yearly basis. There are also employment opportunities available with shipbuilding companies that build, maintain, and/or repair security craft, patrol boats, pilot boats, interceptor boats, and other watercraft for federal, state, and municipal buyers. 4
As a shipfitter, there are many types of boats that you may be called on to build, repair, and/or maintain. Vocational schools that teach shipfitting provide well rounded courses like blue print reading, math, and welding that will allow you to get the skills you need to work in the industry and may have connections to employers who are looking to hire.
1 – http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes514192.htm
2 – http://www.occupationalinfo.org/onet/89121.html
3 – http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-a-shipfitter-do.htm
4 – http://www.marinelink.com/news/maritime-security399917.aspx