WHAT DO SHEET METAL WORKERS DO?
If you think this job is for everyone, you don't know sheet. Sheet metal workers create, maintain, repair and install items made out of sheet metal, the thin metal sheets that are used in air conditioning/heating ductwork, roofing, siding, gutters and more.
Depending on the job, sheet metal workers must study blueprints or plans, take careful measurements to figure out how much material will be needed on site. Sheet metal workers use special computerized metal cutting and processing equipment to bend, cut and manipulate materials into the shape and size needed for the jobs. In addition, they use hand tools to finish off pieces before final installation.
Sheet metal workers can be generalists or work in specialized fields: fabrication, installation, maintenance, or testing/balancing.
HOW MUCH DO SHEET METAL WORKERS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2010, sheet metal workers made a median annual income of $41,710, or $20.05 an hour.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Sheet metal workers gain their skills through apprenticeships that take 4-5 years, where they learn to read blueprints, housing codes, and more. You can also gain skills through trade schools or technical colleges that teach metalworking or welding.
Certification is available but not required.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Computer Skills: Sheet metal workers use computer-assisted design (CAD) software and building information modeling (BIM) software to create and modify blueprints
- Customer Service: Sheet metal workers installing ductwork in people's homes or businesses will need to be personable and friendly when dealing with customers.
- Dexterity: Hand-eye coordination and having nimble fingers is necessary when installing sheet metal.
- Mechanical Skills: Sheet metal workers use a wide-range of hand tools and equipment during installation and maintenance.
- Strength: Sheet metal workers need to lift heavy sheets onto roofs and move materials around.
- Spatial Relations: Sheet metal workers need to be able to eye how ductwork or other pieces will fit in small spaces.
THE FUTURE OF SHEET METAL WORKERS
Sheet metal worker jobs will grow at an average rate between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.