A thin sheet of metal in the hands of a sheet metal worker has the potential to become a rain gutter, a duct to carry warm air throughout a building, or a precision part for medical equipment. Different job settings require different tasks for sheet metal workers. In construction, they are in charge of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems known as HVAC. They install duct work, clean and repair it, and adjust systems to ensure proper airflow. They also install sheet metal roofs, siding, and gutters at homes and buildings. These sheet metal workers choose the correct materials… measure… cut and drill before installing finished pieces. They are skilled at welding seams, bolting parts into tight corners, and riveting pieces high up. Taking precautions against cuts, burns, and falls is essential. In manufacturing, fabrication or precision sheet metal workers operate machinery that does the measuring, cutting and fabrication to make precision sheet metal parts used in industries from power generation to medical device manufacturing. They may program the computers that control the equipment. In construction and HVAC, sheet metal workers learn their trade through a 4-5 year apprenticeship that combines technical and paid on-the-job training. Those in manufacturing often learn on the job or at a technical school. Most sheet metal workers have a high school diploma or equivalent.
What they do:
Fabricate, assemble, install, and repair sheet metal products and equipment, such as ducts, control boxes, drainpipes, and furnace casings. Work may involve any of the following: setting up and operating fabricating machines to cut, bend, and straighten sheet metal; shaping metal over anvils, blocks, or forms using hammer; operating soldering and welding equipment to join sheet metal parts; or inspecting, assembling, and smoothing seams and joints of burred surfaces. Includes sheet metal duct installers who install prefabricated sheet metal ducts used for heating, air conditioning, or other purposes.
On the job, you would:
Convert blueprints into shop drawings to be followed in the construction or assembly of sheet metal products.
Determine project requirements, such as scope, assembly sequences, or required methods or materials, using blueprints, drawings, or written or verbal instructions.
Lay out, measure, and mark dimensions and reference lines on material, such as roofing panels, using calculators, scribes, dividers, squares, or rulers.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
pay attention to something without being distracted
use your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down
quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
PTC Creo Parametric
Computer aided manufacturing CAM software
Applied Production ProFab
high school diploma/GED or no high school diploma/GED usually needed