Find The Best Sheet Metal Fabricator Jobs For You

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Average Salary
$37,340
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,703
Job Openings

Sheet Metal Fabricator Careers

Sheet metal fabricators are responsible for fabricating or installing products made from thin metal sheets, such as ducts used in heating and air conditioning systems. They select sheet metal types according to building or design plans and then install those sheets with supportive frameworks. They also measure and mark dimensions and reference lines on metal sheets while drilling holes in the metals for screws, bolts, and rivets.

Sheet metal fabricators earn an average salary of $34,000 annually or $16 per hour. They weld various metal constructions, components, and structures, and they do this by reading and understanding engineering blueprints and plans to know exactly what is required of the project. They use various tools to work with metal, such as cutting saws, and then weld and grind fabricated structures to meet structural requirements. They also need to perform detailed quality checks to ensure that it meets all standards and requirements.

Sheet metal fabricators typically hold a high school diploma or GED. However, a bachelor's degree in a related field may prove advantageous in the long run. They are expected to have some proven work experience in a similar role. Some employers prefer candidates with a keen eye for detail and the ability to work well independently and as part of a team.

What Does a Sheet Metal Fabricator 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.

How To Become a Sheet Metal Fabricator

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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Average Salary
$37,340
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,703
Job Openings

Sheet Metal Fabricator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Sheet Metal Fabricator

Welder
15.9 %

Top Careers After Sheet Metal Fabricator

Welder
14.2 %

Sheet Metal Fabricator Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Sheet Metal Fabricator

Sheet Metal Fabricators in America make an average salary of $37,340 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $48,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $28,000 per year.
Average Salary
$37,340
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Lancaster, PA
Salary Range38k - 60k$49k$48,547
Englewood, CO
Salary Range29k - 45k$36k$36,410
Sioux City, IA
Salary Range27k - 42k$34k$34,421
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range26k - 43k$34k$33,811
Orlando, FL
Salary Range27k - 39k$33k$32,853
Spring, TX
Salary Range25k - 38k$31k$30,898
$25k
$60k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Machinist and Sheet Metal Fabricator
Machinist and Sheet Metal Fabricator
Randstad
Randstad
06/19/2021
06/19/2021
$39,00006/19/2021
$39,000
Sheet Metal Fabricator
Sheet Metal Fabricator
General Mills, Inc.
General Mills, Inc.
06/08/2021
06/08/2021
$64,15406/08/2021
$64,154
Sheet Metal Fabricator
Sheet Metal Fabricator
Onesource Staffing Solutions
Onesource Staffing Solutions
05/28/2021
05/28/2021
$31,30505/28/2021
$31,305
Sheet Metal Fabricator
Sheet Metal Fabricator
Stratus Unlimited
Stratus Unlimited
05/25/2021
05/25/2021
$33,39205/25/2021
$33,392
Sheet Metal Fabricator
Sheet Metal Fabricator
Onesource Staffing Solutions
Onesource Staffing Solutions
05/21/2021
05/21/2021
$31,30505/21/2021
$31,305
See More Recent Salaries

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Sheet Metal Fabricator Demographics

Gender

male

89.8 %

female

7.4 %

unknown

2.8 %

Ethnicity

White

66.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

20.1 %

Black or African American

8.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

78.9 %

Polish

10.5 %

Italian

5.3 %
See More Demographics

Sheet Metal Fabricator Education

Degrees

Certificate

36.5 %

High School Diploma

35.0 %

Associate

11.4 %
See More Education Info

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Top Skills For a Sheet Metal Fabricator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 23.1% of sheet metal fabricators listed hand tools on their resume, but soft skills such as computer skills and dexterity are important as well.

Best States For a Sheet Metal Fabricator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a sheet metal fabricator. The best states for people in this position are Maine, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Sheet metal fabricators make the most in Maine with an average salary of $58,623. Whereas in New Jersey and Rhode Island, they would average $51,345 and $49,180, respectively. While sheet metal fabricators would only make an average of $49,147 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Maine

Total Sheet Metal Fabricator Jobs:
10
Highest 10% Earn:
$77,000
Location Quotient:
1.79
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Wisconsin

Total Sheet Metal Fabricator Jobs:
53
Highest 10% Earn:
$67,000
Location Quotient:
2.28
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Rhode Island

Total Sheet Metal Fabricator Jobs:
4
Highest 10% Earn:
$69,000
Location Quotient:
0.78
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Sheet Metal Fabricator Employers

1. Aerotek
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$40,016
Sheet Metal Fabricators Hired: 
9+
2. ManpowerGroup
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$32,294
Sheet Metal Fabricators Hired: 
7+
3. Northrop Grumman
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$73,330
Sheet Metal Fabricators Hired: 
7+
4. Tradesmen International
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$42,231
Sheet Metal Fabricators Hired: 
6+
5. General Metals
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$30,693
Sheet Metal Fabricators Hired: 
5+
6. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$73,841
Sheet Metal Fabricators Hired: 
5+

Sheet Metal Fabricator Videos

Updated October 2, 2020