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Metal Decorating Pressman: Career and Salary Facts

Metal decorating pressman training is not very common, though individuals interested in this career may be able to study sheet metal and stamping. Find out more about training programs, employment opportunities and job duties by reading on, and check the salary potential for this field.

What is a Metal Decorating Pressman?

As a metal decorating pressman you would operate machines used to press decorative designs into metals. You would also be responsible for inspecting the quality of product coming out of the machines. At times you may need to consult manuals, adjusts machines and use operating software on computers. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent
Key Responsibilities Start press equipment, inspect product, make adjustments to machinery and consult manuals
Job Growth (2018-2028) 8% decline (for all metal and plastic machine workers)*
Median Salary (2019) $33,946 (for all cutting, punching, press machine setter / operator / tender, metal and plastic)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **PayScale.com

What Training Programs in Decorative Metal Pressing are Available?

As of February 2011, U.S. schools didn't appear to be offering courses in decorative metal pressing. Your best prospects for training are sheet metal working and stamping programs offered by union locals, professional societies, vocational schools and community colleges. These programs will deal very little - if at all - with decorative uses of metal, but they will teach you how to use metal working equipment.

Sheet metal training programs focus on the preparatory tasks you must perform before working on a piece of sheet metal and then on the actual process of working metal. Preparatory tasks cover such topics as drafting, blueprint reading, geometry and trigonometry. The hands-on metal work includes the use of computer controls, hoisting, rigging, cutting, welding and soldering. Metal stamping programs show how to form and coil metal safely using a variety of metal stamping, punching and cutting machines. Courses cover the parts of a metal press, the different types of presses, die setting and die cutting, punch operations, coil handling, machine monitoring, guidance systems and stripper systems.

Where Do Professionals Work?

Your potential employers are companies in the fabricated metal product sector, which convert metal into non-structural intermediate or end products. Decorative metal is typically an end product. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 186,640 people worked as metal and plastic cutting, punching, and press machine setters and operators as of 2018 (www.bls.gov). Over the years 2018-2028 the BLS projects a 8% decline in employment to all metal and plastic machine workers.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

You will set up and operate machines that punch and press metal. Setup entails consulting with a client or supervisor about a design, choosing the proper tools and dies to create it, conducting a test run and making adjustments until the setup achieves a satisfactory result. Operating entails loading metal into a machine or machines, monitoring output and adjusting speed. For longer production runs, you will periodically inspect machined pieces to make sure they're still within their design specifications.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

Figures for metal decorating pressmen were not available as of December 2019. In November 2019 Payscale.com reported that all cutting, punching, press machine operators earned hourly wages equivalent to a salary in the middle range of around $25,000-$57,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report the year before that these same workers made an average of $36,180.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Pressing and compacting machine setters work with machines very similar to metal decorating press operators, but serve a different purpose. These machines are typically used to form ceramics, clay and glass. Welding, soldering and brazing machine operators work with machines that make mettle products, but rather than using presses they use welding, soldering and brazing techniques. Like metal decorating press operators, these professionals may only need a high school diploma or equivalent.