Sheet Metal Worker

Sheet Metal Worker

About the Job

A sheet metal worker makes or installs products made of thin metal sheets. Sheet metal is thin steel, aluminum, or another alloy metal. Examples of products made by metal workers include HVAC ducts, metal roofing, siding, and gutters.

What You’ll Do

Metal workers select the required type of metal according to the product plans. They will measure and mark all dimensions and reference lines on the metal sheets, then drill holes where screws, bolts, or rivets will be placed. If manufacturing a product in a plant, they then install the metal sheets on supportive frameworks. If installing on a jobsite, they will fabricate the product there. One the product is in place, sheet metal workers will fasten the seams and joints by welding, soldering, bolting, or riveting. Sheet metal workers may also install nonmetallic materials like fiberglass and plastic board.

The following are examples of sheet metal workers:

  • Fabrication sheet metal workers
  • Installation sheet metal workers
  • Maintenance sheet metal workers
  • Testing and balancing sheet metal specialists

Qualities and Skills Needed

Computer skills
Math skills
Mechanical skills
Physical stamina
Physical strength

Education Required

A high school diploma or the equivalent is required. Coursework in algebra, geometry, and general vocational education courses including plan reading, mechanical drawing, and welding can be particularly useful.

Becoming a sheet metal worker is considered a trade career that generally requires an apprenticeship. Although the chief requirement to become an apprentice is a high school diploma or its equivalent, many aspiring sheet metal workers attend technical school. These schools offer programs that may provide specific certifications and training that can even count as credit toward completing an apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship usually lasts three to four years before testing for a journeyman’s license is possible. Advanced licensure allows a metal worker to work without supervision. Many metal workers go on to become master certified, which requires continued education and career experience.

Although not required, some sheet metal workers become certified welders by the American Welding Society, the International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry, and the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International. Certifications in welding, rigging, and crane signaling may increase a worker’s value and result in higher pay.

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The average starting salary is $32,380. With experience, they can possibly earn up to or over $54,259.