Turner and fitter is a term used for a type of machinist involved in the production of manufacturing tools. This occupational name is mostly used in Australia and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., the occupation is more commonly known as fabricator and fitter.
Typically, a fitter and turner is responsible for the fabrication, positioning and alignment of parts for products. They then assemble those parts into products including tools, machinery and machine components.
Turners and fitters are specialists under the machinist umbrella. Machinists use tools to create or manipulate parts, cutting them into final size and shape. These parts are often made of metal, but, depending on the industry, can be made from plastic or wood.
Most employers require a high school diploma, but training including fitting and machining apprenticeships and experience are important factors for employment in the field. The best job opportunities going forward are likely to go to job seekers with vocational training and certification in such high-tech industries as aerospace and electro-medical device manufacturing.
The top five industries where metal fabricators and fitters earn the most money are engine, turbine and power transmission equipment manufacturing; local governments; aerospace product and parts production; ship and boat building; and other transportation equipment manufacturing.
Industries with the highest levels of employment for a fitter and turner (categorized as structural metal fabricators and fitters by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) are fabricated metal product manufacturing; machinery manufacturing; ship and boat building; and foundation, structure and building exterior contractors.
Approximately 77,000 people were employed as metal fabricators and fitters as of May 2017, according to the BLS. The mean hourly rate was reported as $19.47, while the mean annual wage was $40,090. The mean wage is the point at which half of the workers earn more, and half earn less. Those working at the 10 percent low end of the salary scale earned $25,940, while those in the 90th percentile earned $59,040.
The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook groups turners and fitters into the assemblers and fabricators category. Looking ahead, the BLS projects employment for fabricators and fitters is expected to decline 14 percent between 2016 and 2026. The decline is anticipated as many manufacturing sectors become more efficient and able to operate with fewer workers.
Future manufacturing fitting jobs are expected to result from the need to replace workers who leave or retire as opposed to growth.