Electroplating Workers


Employment Prospects


Approximately 40,600 metal and plastic plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders are employed in the United States. A majority of electroplating workers work in independent shops that specialize in plating and polishing metals for other businesses and individuals. Other electroplaters work for large manufacturing firms that use plated parts in their products, such as the makers of plumbing fixtures, electric appliances, automobiles, kitchen utensils, wire products, and hardware items. Many plating jobs are located in or near industrial centers in the Northeast and Midwest.

Starting Out

If you wish to enter this trade, you could apply directly to a shop specializing in electroplating or a manufacturing company with an electroplating department. Listings of local job openings are available through your state's employment service and in the classified advertising section of newspapers. Students in technical programs are often able to obtain job leads through their schools' career services office.

Most workers begin in helper positions and learn as they work. Working under the supervision of a more experienced worker, trainees learn each phase of the plating process. As they gradually learn various steps of the process, they are given more responsibility and less supervision. Once they have acquired the basic skills, they are able to work on their own. Workers who have received some kind of technical training usually require less extensive on-the-job training.

Advancement Prospects

Many workers in electroplating shops work with only one type of metal. Platers who take classes to learn new techniques and how to work with other metals open up opportunities to move into areas requiring more responsibility and skill. In addition, this training increases the number and types of electroplating shops in which a plater can work, thus providing greater job flexibility. Some platers may be able to increase their pay levels by taking training in additional metal-finishing methods. With increased knowledge and skill, workers can move into supervisory positions in which they coordinate and direct the activities of other workers. Others may become chemists or chemical engineers.

Tips for Entry

Join the National Association for Surface Finishing to access networking opportunities, news on cutting-edge technology, and publications.

Land an entry-level job as an electroplating helper to learn about the field and make industry contacts.

Visit the following Web sites for job listings:

  • http://www.careerbuilder.com
  • http://www.indeed.com
  • http://www.simplyhired.com
  • http://www.monster.com