Metal Fabricator (Fitter) National Occupational Analysis (NOA)

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this National Occupational Analysis (NOA) as the national standard for the occupation of Metal Fabricator (Fitter).

Occupational Analyses Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Monteur-ajusteur/monteuse-ajusteuse de charpentes métalliques

NOC: 7235

Designation Year: 1991

PDF download

Download the PDF version (962 KB) of this content.

Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Metal Fabricator (Fitter)

Use this self-assessment tool (PDF, 753 KB) to rate your own understanding and experience with the tasks of the trade that are on the Red Seal examination.

General Information


“Metal Fabricator (Fitter)” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by metal fabricators (fitters) whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:














Metal Fabricator (Fitter)





Metal Fabricator - Fitter


Steel Fabricator



Steel Fabricator (Fitter)


Steel Frame Assembler


Structural Steel and Plate Fitter




“Metal Fabricator (Fitter)” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by metal fabricators (fitters) whose occupational title has been identified by some prMetal fabricators (fitters) make and repair metal parts used in the construction of buildings, bridges, tanks, towers, boilers, pressure vessels and other structures and products. They develop patterns. They lay out, cut and fabricate structural steel, plate, and miscellaneous ferrous and non-ferrous metals for use in a wide variety of manufacturing and construction industries. They also assemble and fit metal sections and plates together to form complete units or sub-units such as frames, plates, girders and chutes that are used later in the assembly process.

Metal fabricators (fitters) must have the ability to interpret fabrication drawings and specifications. They select materials to accomplish their work. Metal fabricators (fitters) use tools and equipment such as press brakes, shears, plasma cutters, oxy-fuel cutting torches, grinders and drills to bend, cut, punch, drill or form metal components. They may also use computer numerical controlled (CNC) equipment. They fasten components together by using methods such as welding, bolting and riveting. They also use material handling and rigging, hoisting and lifting equipment to move materials and completed assemblies.

Skills important to metal fabricators (fitters) include the ability to visualize in three-dimensions, good coordination, mechanical aptitude, manual dexterity and the ability to perform work-related mathematical calculations.

There are risks associated with this trade such as working in close quarters, at heights, and with power tools, welding equipment and heavy materials.

Metal fabricators (fitters) usually work indoors in fabricating shops or factories. Some may also work outdoors fitting and fastening sub-assemblies. They may be employed by welding or ironworking companies, or by manufacturers of structural steel, boilers, heavy machinery and transportation equipment. They can also find employment in other sectors including maintenance, shipbuilding, fishing, agricultural equipment, railways, aviation, mining and the oil and gas industry.

This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of welders, sheet metal workers, ironworkers, steamfitter/pipefitters, millwrights and boilermakers. Metal fabricators (fitters) often hold welding certification.

With experience, metal fabricators (fitters) may act as mentors and trainers to apprentices in the trade. They may advance to positions such as lead hand, supervisor, quality assurance/quality control inspector, or contract manager, or set up their own shops.

Occupational Observations

New technologies introduced to the workplace include water jet and laser cutting. This equipment provides more detailed, accurate cuts on the parts used by metal fabricators (fitters). As the high cost of this equipment comes down, more shops are willing to invest in this technology. However, specialized shops often provide these services to other fabrication shops.

The use of CNC equipment such as plate rolls and press brakes is becoming more prevalent. The use of CNC equipment and computer-assisted design (CAD) software increases the efficiency and accuracy of the fabrication process.

Familiarity with the range of alloys available is becoming more important in this trade. Alloys are being used more often because of factors such as durability, cost effectiveness and weight.

To reduce accidents and promote awareness, safety regulations are becoming more stringent, resulting in more safety training and certification. Environmental concerns and awareness have increased.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

  • understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
  • learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.

The tools are available online or for order.

The essential skills profile for the metal fabricator (fitter) trade indicates that the most important essential skills are document use, numeracy, thinking (problem solving) and communication.

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills.

Metal fabricators (fitters) require reading skills to gather information from forms and labels. They also need to read to understand more complex texts such as equipment and policy and procedure manuals, specifications, codes and standards.

Metal fabricators (fitters) locate and interpret information in several types of documents such as labels, signs, forms, lists, tables, technical drawings and specifications. They interpret fabrication drawings to determine how ferrous and non-ferrous materials should be cut and assembled by integrating plan views, elevation and section drawings as well as synthesizing information from other prints about adjacent components of the fabrication. Metal fabricators (fitters) also prepare documents such as sketches and forms.

Writing skills are used by metal fabricators (fitters) to write short texts. Examples of written work include logbook entries, quality assurance reports and production problem reports.

Metal fabricators (fitters) discuss equipment maintenance and repair with suppliers, and specifications and plans with co workers, supervisors and general contractors. They may supervise and direct the work of apprentices. Because of constant noise, metal fabricators (fitters) may also communicate through hand signals, gestures and sometimes notes.

Numeracy skills are very important in the everyday work of metal fabricators (fitters). Mathematical skills are used in taking measurements, doing material layout, using formulas, preparing cut lists and preparing jigs according to specifications in fabrication drawings.

Metal fabricator (fitters) may suggest modifications to project designs to correct flaws, for example when fabrication drawing specifications do not take into account the space needed for welds. They need the ability to think spatially and visualize in three dimensions. On the job they are required to problem solve on a regular basis, such as trouble shooting equipment problems and making repairs.

Metal fabricators (fitters) generally work independently to fabricate and fit metal structures following fabrication drawing specifications, though they may work with others to complete large projects. Metal fabricators (fitters) co-ordinate work with supervisors, co-workers, quality control staff and with workers from other trades such as millwrights or welders.

Metal fabricators (fitters) may input parameters for CNC equipment such as press brakes or cutting tables. They may also use computer technology during pattern development. They may need to have a basic knowledge of CAD software to prepare layouts and interpret plans and drawings.

Metal fabricators (fitters) have a need to engage in ongoing learning to acquire information about health and safety, new products, metal fabrication procedures, metal properties and quality assurance standards. They must maintain skills and certification according to industry and jurisdictional regulatory authorities. New learning is acquired as part of regular work activities, by participating in industry specific training sessions, reading trade journals and talking to other metal fabricators (fitters).


The CCDA and HRSDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special acknowledgement is extended by HRSDC and the CCDA to the following representatives from the trade.

  • Brent Bolan - Saskatchewan
  • Joey Cain - Prince Edward Island
  • Doug Carr - Manitoba
  • Gordon Hunter - Alberta
  • Matthew McCarron - Nova Scotia
  • Jeff Soltesz - British Columbia
  • Ronald Stiles - New Brunswick
  • Dan Tremblay - Ontario
  • Philip White - International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union

This analysis was prepared by the Labour Market Integration Directorate of HRSDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the NOA development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division. The host jurisdiction of New Brunswick also participated in the development of this NOA.

Comments or questions about NOAs may be forwarded to:

Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0J9

Date modified: