Sheet metal worker essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $43,290
- 2012, number of jobs: 133,420
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 18 percent
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
Sheet metal workers; what they do:
Sheet metal workers install, assemble and repair products made from thin metal sheets, such as drainpipes or ducts used for ventilating, heating and air-conditioning. They work in many different specialty areas such as welding, metal roofing and siding, rain protection systems and kitchen equipment.
A sheet metal worker career includes choosing and measuring specific metal or nonmetal materials, drilling holes, anchoring parts and installing metal sheets with supportive frameworks and securing joints and other parts through using techniques such as welding or riveting.
Sheet metal workers work at both construction sites and in manufacturing plants and are often divided into four specialties including:
- Fabrication sheet metal workers make items such as gutters and other metal products in shops and factories. The work is highly repetitive due to the advent of automated systems.
- Installation sheet metal workers install heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) ducts as well as other sheet metal products.
- Maintenance sheet metal workers do the cleaning and fixing of ventilation systems so that they use less energy.
- Testing and balancing sheet metal specialists make sure that heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems heat and cool rooms efficiently and correctly.
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Sheet metal worker job titles:
- Sheet Metal Installer
- Journeyman Sheet Metal Worker
- Precision Sheet Metal Workers
- Sheet Metal Mechanic
- Sheet Metal Apprentice
Sheet Metal Workers Education, Certification and License Requirements
People interested in a sheet metal career typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and either formal or informal apprenticeships through technical colleges, businesses or unions.
Apprenticeships can take up to 5 years to complete and for each year in training workers must earn a minimum of 246 hours of technical training and at least 1,700 to 2,000 hours of paid, on-site instruction.
Education includes learning how to use machines, tools and equipment, reading blueprints, following safety requirements, as well as learning math and construction basics.
Once they complete their training they can perform tasks independently as a journey worker. Programs such as the Sheet Metal Institute provide Certification for sheet metal workers.
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Sheet Metal Workers Job Outlook
Forecast: 18 percent employment growth for sheet metal workers from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
An increase in commercial, industrial and residential construction as well as an increase in the need for energy efficient HVAC systems and maintenance of these systems increases the demand for sheet metal workers. In addition, a small number of overseas sheet metal manufacturing jobs may return to the United States.
Sheet Metal Workers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $43,290
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $57,970
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $32,370
- Construction industry