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Become A Metal Technician

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Working As A Metal Technician

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • $55,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Metal Technician Do

Sheet metal workers fabricate or install products that are made from thin metal sheets, such as ducts used in heating and air conditioning systems.

Duties

Sheet metal workers typically do the following:

  • Select types of sheet metal according to plans
  • Measure and mark dimensions and reference lines on metal sheets
  • Drill holes in metal for screws, bolts, and rivets
  • Install metal sheets with supportive frameworks
  • Fabricate or alter parts at construction sites
  • Maneuver and anchor large sheet metal parts
  • Fasten seams or joints by welding, bolting, riveting, or soldering

Sheet metal is thin steel, aluminum, or other alloyed metal that is used in both manufacturing and construction. Sheet metal is commonly used to make ducts for heating and air conditioning systems, but it is also used to make products such as rain gutters, outdoor signs, and siding.

In addition to installing sheet metal, some workers install nonmetallic materials such as fiberglass and plastic board. 

The following are examples of types of sheet metal workers:

Fabrication sheet metal workers, sometimes called precision sheet metal workers, make precision sheet metal parts for a variety of industries, from power generation to medical device manufacturing. Most work in shops and factories, operating tools and equipment. In large-scale manufacturing, the work may be highly automated and repetitive. Many fabrication shops have automated machinery, such as computer-controlled saws, lasers, shears, and presses, which measure, cut, bend, and fasten pieces of sheet metal. Workers often use computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) systems to make products. Some of these workers may be responsible for limited programming of the computers controlling their equipment. Workers who primarily program computerized equipment are called metal and plastic machine workers.

Installation sheet metal workers install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts. They also install other sheet metal products, such as metal roofs, siding, and gutters. They typically work on new construction and on renovation projects. Information about workers who install or repair roofing systems can be found in the profile on roofers.

Maintenance sheet metal workers repair and clean ventilation systems so the systems use less energy. Workers remove dust and moisture and fix leaks or breaks in the sheet metal that makes up the ductwork.

Testing and balancing sheet metal specialists ensure that HVAC systems heat and cool rooms properly by adjusting sheet metal ducts to achieve proper airflow. Information on workers who install or repair HVAC systems can be found in the profile on heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers.

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How To Become A Metal Technician

Sheet metal workers who work in construction typically learn their trade through an apprenticeship, while those who work in manufacturing often learn on the job or at a technical school.

Education

Most sheet metal workers have a high school diploma or equivalent. Those interested in becoming a sheet metal worker should take high school classes in algebra, geometry, and general vocational education courses including blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, and welding.

Many technical schools have programs that teach welding and metalworking. These programs help provide the basic welding and sheet metal fabrication knowledge that many workers need to perform their job. 

Some manufacturers have partnerships with local technical schools to develop training programs specific to their factories.

Training

Most construction sheet metal workers learn their trade through 4- or 5-year apprenticeships. Each year, apprentices must have 1,700 to 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and 144 to 320 hours of related technical instruction, depending on the program. Apprentices learn construction basics such as blueprint reading, math, building code requirements, and safety and first aid practices. Welding may be included as part of the training.

Although most construction workers enter apprenticeships directly after finishing high school, some start out as helpers before entering apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship programs are offered by unions and businesses. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are being 18 years old and having a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans.

After completing an apprenticeship program, sheet metal workers are considered to be journey workers who are qualified to perform tasks on their own.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, sheet metal workers can earn certifications for several of the tasks that they perform. For example, some sheet metal workers can become certified in welding from the American Welding Society. In addition, the International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry offers certification in building information modeling (BIM), welding, testing and balancing, and other related activities. The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, offers a certification in precision sheet metal work.

Important Qualities

Computer skills. Sheet metal workers use computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) programs and building information modeling (BIM) systems as they design products and cut sheet metal.

Dexterity. Sheet metal workers need good hand-eye coordination and motor control to make precise cuts and bends in metal pieces. 

Math skills. Sheet metal workers must calculate the proper sizes and angles of fabricated sheet metal, as it is important to ensure the alignment and fit of ductwork.

Mechanical skills. Sheet metal workers use saws, lasers, shears, and presses to do their job. As a result, they should have good mechanical skills in order to operate and maintain equipment.

Physical stamina. Sheet metal workers in factories may spend many hours standing at their workstation.

Physical strength. Sheet metal workers must be able to lift and move ductwork that is often heavy and cumbersome. Some jobs require workers to be able to lift 50 pounds.

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Top Skills for A Metal Technician

  1. Service Aircraft
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Aluminum
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintain proper processes and safety procedures.
  • Provided remelting/metal crafting services, including aluminum, magnesium and zinc.
  • Used CNC machinery or manual mills and/or lathes to machine high priority precision aircraft parts within strict time constraints.
  • Improved sample contamination problems via proactive investigation and attention to detail.
  • Performed routine maintenance and MIG welded AGE (Aerospace Ground Equipment) to repair back to serviceability to avoid replacement costs.

Metal Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

77.8%

Female

13.8%

Unknown

8.4%
Ethnicity

White

66.8%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

10.4%

Asian

5.4%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

Czech

10.0%

German

10.0%

Slovak

10.0%

Russian

10.0%

Polish

10.0%
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Metal Technician Education

Schools

Community College of the Air Force

34.8%

Rowan University

5.8%

University of Phoenix

5.8%

Roane State Community College

4.3%

Wichita Area Technical College

4.3%

Florida Career College - Miami

4.3%

University of Maryland - University College

2.9%

Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical

2.9%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

2.9%

Mount Wachusett Community College

2.9%

Liberty University

2.9%

Sam Houston State University

2.9%

Georgia State University

2.9%

University of Houston

2.9%

Arizona State University

2.9%

University of Central Missouri

2.9%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

2.9%

Texas A&M University

2.9%

Kent State University

2.9%

University of Rhode Island

2.9%
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Majors

Business

17.8%

Precision Metal Working

14.4%

Biology

10.3%

Automotive Technology

6.2%

Criminal Justice

5.5%

Fine Arts

4.8%

Nursing

4.1%

Chemistry

4.1%

Mechanical Engineering

4.1%

Liberal Arts

3.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.7%

Industrial Technology

2.7%

Electrical Engineering

2.7%

Aviation

2.7%

Environmental Science

2.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.7%

Physics

2.7%

Engineering Technology

2.1%

General Studies

2.1%

Education

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

31.4%

Other

31.0%

Associate

19.9%

Certificate

8.0%

Masters

6.5%

Diploma

1.9%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.4%
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