FMA launches its first sheet metal industry certification program

Sept. 26, 2008

The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (FMA) ( announced a new certification program for precision sheet metal operators for testing and validating their skills in sheet metal forming and fabricating. While welders in the industry have had certification programs available to them for proving their knowledge and expertise, the new Precision Sheet Metal Operator (PSMO) Level I Certification is the first to provide a comprehensive exam in the areas of shearing, sawing, press brake, turret punch press, laser cutting and mechanical finishing.

Operators may obtain the PSMO Level I Certification by meeting minimum work or training requirements and passing a multiple choice exam. The Web-based exam is available at proctored testing locations in the United States and Canada. The test will also be offered at the upcoming FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show, including METALFORM, in Las Vegas. The exam will be administered in paper/pencil format from noon until 2 p.m. daily, Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 6-8. Pre-registration is required.

The PSMO Level I Certification aligns with FMA’s mission to champion the success of the metal processing, forming and fabricating industry, by establishing industry standards for sheet metal operators and ultimately responding to the broader issue of the skilled trade labor shortage in North America. Steve Heim, FMA board chairman and president of Brenco Industries said, “We see FMA providing a valuable service here for both companies and individuals; companies will gain skilled and tested workers who can more effectively run equipment, and individuals will gain the recognition they deserve through certification testing.”

The Level I exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions covering 13 task/skill/knowledge areas: metals, metallurgy, and metal working processes; paperwork and documentation; math calculations for sheet metal fabrication; blueprint reading and part layout; computer/part programming; machine setup, functioning, and operation; hand tools; inspection/quality control; inspection tools; tooling/dies/jigs/fixtures; material and product handling; safety checks, equipment and procedures; and preventative maintenance on equipment and tools.

The exam fee is $245 for FMA members, $345 for nonmembers. As a bonus, those who pass the exam will receive a one-year Basic (individual) membership in FMA. A special student rate of $95 is available, which includes a free one-year FMA Student membership. The Certification is valid for three years.

For those interested in assessing their current knowledge level, a practice quiz is available online at ( For a $25 fee, the 20-item quiz allows test takers to become familiar with the format of questions on the full exam. A Level II Certification exam is currently being developed for those interested in obtaining a higher designation level and furthering their careers.

For more information, contact Cindy Day or Jen Christian in FMA’s Education Department at 815-399-8700.