What does a sheet metal worker do?
Sheet metal workers use sheet metal for roofs, rain gutters, siding, ventilation, heating and air-conditioning duct systems. They also assist in the development of restaurant equipment, railroad cars, automobiles, customized precision equipment, outdoor signs, and many other products that are made from metal. They work with plastic and fiberglass materials. They read plans and determine the type and amount of materials and then measure, bend, cut, shape, and attach pieces of sheet metal to make the products. They check the products for accuracy and perform any necessary adjustments. Some sheet metal workers use computerized equipment to help with performing their tasks. Most sheet metal workers work in the construction and manufacturing industries.
What kind of training does a sheet metal worker need?
Sheet metal workers usually need at least a high school diploma. Many sheet metal workers complete formal apprenticeship programs and others learn their skills through on the job training. Apprenticeship programs combine classroom instruction and paid on the job training. Apprentices learn a variety of topics such as safety procedures, algebra, trigonometry, physics, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, welding, sheet metal installation, and sheet metal fabrication. Sheet metal workers must stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and often complete additional training throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a sheet metal worker?
Employment of sheet metal workers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 7% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increasing growth in construction of residential, commercial, and industrial structures will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be good especially for sheet metal workers that have advanced training. Sheet metal workers employed in the construction industry will have the best job opportunities.
How much do sheet metal workers make?
As of November 2009, sheet metal worker with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $12.10 and $20.71. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average hourly rates between $17.13 and $34.45 (2).
A career as a sheet metal worker is a great choice for people interested in using metal to create a variety of products. Sheet metal workers must have good mechanical and mathematical aptitude and be in good physical condition. Manual dexterity and good hand-eye coordination are desirable characteristics. They must have excellent communication skills and be able to work as part of a team. They must also consistently follow safety procedures because the work can often be dangerous. Sheet metal workers must also be able to work in less desirable conditions and inclement weather.