What does a Sheet Metal Worker do?
Sheet metal workers install or fabricate products that are made from thin metal sheets like ducts in air conditioning systems, heating systems, metal roofs, siding, and gutters. They also may fabricate nonmetallic materials for plastic board or fiberglass.
They have a physically demanding job often standing for long periods of time, squatting, and bending. They may lift heavy materials and need to climb. They typically work on a full time basis.
How to become a Sheet Metal Worker
Sheet metal workers typically require a high school diploma or the equivalent and then enter into an apprenticeship program after graduation. Apprenticeship programs are offered by businesses and unions with some offering preferred entry for veterans. An apprenticeship program requires 1,700-2000 hours of on-the-job training that is paid and another 144-320 hours of technical instruction.
Apprentices learn blueprint reading, building code requirements, math, and first aid and safety practices. Some training may include welding. It may be helpful for one interested in this career to take classes in high school such as mathematics, welding, blueprint reading, and mechanical drawing.
Some technical schools offer programs with instructions in metal working and welding. Also, some manufacturers partner with local technical schools to provide training programs that are specific to their factories. It is not required for an apprentice to be licensed or certified, however it may be advantageous to prove one's competency.
Job Description of a Sheet Metal Worker
The duties of a sheet metal worker typically include selecting the appropriate type of sheet metal, fiberglass or plastic board for the job. They must mark dimensions, measure, and reference lines on the product being used and then drill holes to fit the rivets, bolts, and screws. He or she has the job of installing metal sheets with supportive frameworks. They may need to fabricate or alter parts at the work site.
A sheet metal worker maneuvers and anchors large sheet metal parts and fasten joints or seams by soldering, welding, riveting, or bolting. There are a few types of sheet metal workers so each job may have different requirements for he or she to perform.