Learn About the Sheet Metal Worker Job Description, Salary, and Requirements.
Sheet Metal Worker Job Description & Definition
What Does a Sheet Metal Worker Do?
In this profile, we’ll break down the Sheet Metal Worker job description, salary, requirements, and more. A Sheet Metal Worker fabricates and installs sheet metal trim pieces and other building components fabricated from light gauge sheet metal. They use sheet metal bending tools and equipment to fabricate and seam pieces of metal together. Building components that incorporate light gauge pieces of sheet metal include roofing trim (e.g. metal edge, coping cap, gutter and downspouts), building trim pieces (e.g. window trim, fascia and soffit, and exterior capping) and internal HVAC duct work.
Skilled sheet metal workers use tools and equipment to fabricate building components and assemble those components into a finished system at the project site. There are both manually operated and powered equipment that is used to complete the fabrication of components. These may include manual sheet metal breaks as well as powered sheet metal brakes and powered sheet metal shears.
In addition to fabricating trim pieces and duct work, sheet metal workers have the opportunity to create ornate finished pieces from different metals. They will work with different metal types including aluminum and steel, but also have the opportunity to work with copper, zinc and other specialized metals.
Being employed as a sheet metal worker give opportunities to work on designing and creating unique and ornate products. Unique products including copper scupper boxes and leader heads as well as curved metal trim pieces give opportunities for individuals who enjoy using creativity in their jobs the chance to showcase their skills and talents. Many older structures including churches and government buildings require skilled sheet metal workers to be able to fabricate pieces that can match historical features on those buildings.
Sheet metal components are a critical component of almost every building. Whether the building is a new construction structure or it is a structure with historical significance, sheet metal trim and components play a significant part in the functionality of the structure. In order to operate and maintain these structures, skilled sheet metal workers and fabricators are needed.
Residential vs Commercial
Both residential and commercial projects and structures require the use of sheet metal. Different types of structures call for different sheet metal building components. The type of components differ depending on the type of structure (e.g. residential or commercial) as well depending on the type of structure and its use (e.g. homes, churches, or government buildings).
Commercial projects may incorporate fabrication of specialty sheet metal duct work. They may also incorporate sheet metal roof trim specifically designed to meet the needs of the building and its use. These types of building components may come in larger quantities than those found on residential projects specifically because of the size of the overall project.
Residential projects typically include sheet metal trim pieces for capping fascias as well as some roof system trim pieces. Window trim and other specialty sheet metal components may be required as well. Residential trim is typically fabricated on site with portable brakes depending on the quantity of trim needed.
Projects that incorporate specialty products such as ornate leader heads and scupper boxes typically do not include time on site for fabrication. Sheet metal fabrication takes place in the sheet metal shop and then is transported to the site for installation. On a similar basis, duct work can be fabricated in a sheet metal shop and then transported to the site for installation.
Skilled sheet metal workers are in high demand. This job is typically a full-time position. However, certain types of sheet metal work may be more seasonal than others depending on the type of work being done. For example, sheet metal work that is part of a roofing project may be more seasonal based on the region that the roofing company services. Sheet metal workers may be employed on a full-time basis, but only use their sheet metal skills on a part-time basis as part of an overall job.
- Sheet metal fabrication using bending and shearing equipment.
- Programming of computerized brake and shear.
- Welding, solder and other joining of sheet metal components into finished products.
- Installation of sheet metal components into building.
- Design of sheet metal components to meet minimum performance requirements.
- Ability to identify and know how to work with different types of metals.
- Ability to use hand tools including tape measure and sheet metal gauge micrometer.
- Ability to program and use a computerized brake and sheet metal shear.
- Ability to use manual sheet metal brakes including portable brake and finger brake.
- Ability to weld, solder or otherwise join metal components.
- Ability to use power tools including hand shear and portable drill.
- Ability to cut and fit sheet metal components on project sites.
There are no specific educational requirements for Sheet Metal Workers. Sheet metal workers may increase their skills by being trained on operating specific types of sheet metal fabricating equipment. In addition individuals looking to develop a career working with sheet metal should prioritize training for soldering and welding. As with all construction trades, an ability to read and perform basic math are important to help you progress and safely perform your job.
There are no specific qualifications required to pursue a job as a Sheet Metal Worker. To be successful as a Sheet Metal Worker a candidate should be committed to personal growth and development in the areas of sheet metal work included methods of joining and fabrication.
Sheet Metal Worker Salary
How Much Does a Sheet Metal Worker Make?
Sheet Metal Worker Career Paths
Where Can You Go From Here?
Skilled sheet metal workers are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that the demand for sheet metal workers will increase 7% through 2024. Getting started in your career path to becoming a skilled sheet metal worker is a simple process. Most experienced trades people start by beginning as an apprentice under a skilled tradesperson who can guide their training and development.
It is important to be involved early in the industry that you intend on becoming a sheet metal worker in. For example, if you are interested in fabricating and installing ductwork then it is best to be involved in the HVAC industry as early as possible. If you are interested in fabricating and installing architectural sheet metal components, it is best to be employed in a trade such as roofing or home improvements in order to gain experience in the industry that you want to be a part of.
The demand for quality sheet metal components and installations will continue to increase. As the demand grows there will be opportunities for continual growth including becoming a sheet metal estimator and possibly becoming an owner of a small business specializing in sheet metal services.
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Learn construction job skills online.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Sheet Metal Workers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/sheet-metal-workers.htm (visited August 11, 2017).
- Payscale, Sheet Metal Worker Salary, on the Internet at http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Sheet_Metal_Worker/Hourly_Rate (visited July 20, 2017).