A technical student can get by with one pair of good side cutters. Side cutters with blades close to the flat face of the cutters are ideal as it will allow clearance when removing rivets. Alternatively an old pair can be ground down to achieve this but will weaken the blade.

End Cutters

Used to cut ends of rivets or small metal pieces. The design allows for cuts close to the surface.

 

Diagonal/Side Cutters

The cutting edge is along one side of the jaw. Primarily used for cutting rivets. The closer the object is to the fulcrum, the easier and less amount of energy is spent trying to cut object.  

Note: When a technician cuts a rivet one hand should cup over the part of the rivet that will be removed to prevent it from flying away and causing damage or injury.