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Become A Sheet Metal Mechanic

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Working As A Sheet Metal Mechanic

  • 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

  • $21,747

    Average Salary

What Does A Sheet Metal Mechanic 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 Sheet Metal Mechanic

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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Sheet Metal Mechanic Jobs

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Sheet Metal Mechanic Demographics

Gender

Male

90.5%

Female

8.6%

Unknown

0.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.5%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

3.4%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.9%

French

4.1%

Polish

4.1%

Russian

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%

Korean

2.7%

Carrier

2.7%

Croatian

1.4%

Portuguese

1.4%

German

1.4%

Mandarin

0.7%

Hindi

0.7%

Dutch

0.7%

Hmong

0.7%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Welsh

0.7%

Italian

0.7%

Finnish

0.7%

Albanian

0.7%

Cantonese

0.7%
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Sheet Metal Mechanic Education

Schools

Wichita Area Technical College

12.9%

Wichita State University

11.5%

University of Phoenix

9.8%

Friends University

7.0%

Tidewater Community College

6.5%

Community College of the Air Force

6.2%

Middle Georgia Technical College

5.0%

The Academy

4.1%

Southwestern College

4.1%

Pima Community College

3.6%

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology

3.4%

Wichita Technical Institute

3.4%

Greenville Technical College

3.1%

Central Georgia Technical College

2.9%

Trident Technical College

2.9%

Universal Technical Institute

2.9%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

2.9%

Butler County Community College

2.6%

Houston Community College

2.6%

Kirkwood Community College

2.6%
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Majors

Business

15.8%

Precision Metal Working

9.7%

Fine Arts

8.0%

Heating And Air Conditioning

7.8%

Aviation

7.5%

Automotive Technology

6.6%

General Studies

6.2%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

4.2%

Electrical Engineering

3.9%

Criminal Justice

3.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.1%

Industrial Technology

3.1%

Drafting And Design

2.9%

Management

2.8%

Education

2.8%

Computer Science

2.7%

Mechanical Engineering

2.7%

Engineering

2.4%

Information Technology

2.1%

Civil Engineering

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

50.9%

Associate

16.2%

Bachelors

14.1%

Certificate

11.1%

Diploma

3.8%

Masters

2.8%

License

0.9%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Real Sheet Metal Mechanic Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sheet Metal Worker Toros Seamless Gutters Paterson, NJ Jan 13, 2010 $78,388
Sheet Metal Worker Toros Seamless Gutters Paterson, NJ Dec 18, 2009 $78,388
Sheet Metal Workers Kelly Roofing & Siding Co Inc. DBA F&F Roofing Comp Floral Park, NY Nov 18, 2009 $78,137
Sheet Metal Workers Bay Contracting Inc. MA Aug 24, 2012 $78,000
Sheet Metal Workers Northshore Sheet Metal Everett, WA Mar 24, 2010 $73,442
Sheet Metal Worker Toros Seamless Gutters Paterson, NJ Jun 03, 2008 $72,607
Sheet Metal Worker JB Aluminum Supply Inc. Paterson, NJ Jun 05, 2008 $72,607
Sheet Metal Workers Best Roofing of N. J. Inc. Clifton, NJ Mar 29, 2013 $72,607
Sheet Metal Worker Toros Seamless Gutters Paterson, NJ May 30, 2008 $72,607
Sheet Metal Worker Designed Heating & Cooling Corp. East Hanover, NJ Oct 17, 2007 $71,438
Sheet Metal Worker Designed Heating & Cooling Corp. East Hanover, NJ Sep 11, 2008 $71,438
Sheet Metal Worker Aeroduct, Inc. Mineola, NY Aug 24, 2012 $68,744
Sheet Metal Worker Toros Seamless Gutters Paterson, NJ Dec 19, 2008 $68,641
Sheet Metal Worker Empire Seamless Gutters Systems, Inc. Cedar Grove, NJ Jun 17, 2008 $66,742
Sheet Metal Workers Seaport Metals, Inc. Newark, NJ Feb 14, 2011 $48,481
Sheet Metal Worker Reeder Architectural Sheet Metal East Orange, NJ Dec 09, 2010 $48,210
Sheet Metal Worker Reeder Architectural Sheet Metal East Orange, NJ Oct 08, 2008 $48,210
Sheet Metal Worker Upton Sheet Metal Anaheim, CA Oct 26, 2009 $48,084
Sheet Metal Worker Upton Sheet Metal Anaheim, CA Mar 25, 2010 $48,084
Sheet Metal Workers Reeder Architectural Sheet Metal Works, LLC Hampton, NJ Jun 15, 2010 $48,022
Sheet Metal Mechanic Chillum Sheet Metal Inc. Bladensburg, MD Jan 11, 2010 $47,590
Sheet Metal Workers General Windows, LLC Lawrenceville, NJ Oct 15, 2010 $46,185
Sheet Metal Worker Rackley Company, Inc. Chico, CA May 02, 2012 $32,349
Sheet Metal Worker Lem COR Newark, NJ Mar 19, 2008 $32,098
Sheet Metal Worker Rackley Company, Inc. Chico, CA Nov 05, 2010 $31,305
Sheet Metal Worker Gallo Group, Inc. TX Mar 01, 2011 $30,554
Sheet Metal Colorado Metal Source Aurora, CO Sep 19, 2008 $29,218
Sheet Metal Mechanic Kogok Corporation Washington, DC Mar 07, 2011 $29,162
Sheet Metal Worker Falcon Consrtuction TX Mar 20, 2011 $28,696
Sheet Metal Worker P&C Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. AL Feb 15, 2015 $27,131

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Top Skills for A Sheet Metal Mechanic

ProductSpecificationsHvacSafetyProceduresLayoutHandToolsAluminumSupportiveFrameworksRemovalStainlessSteelMIGRivetGunsStructuralRepairDrillPressPressBrakeCustomCNCJobSitesPunchPressAircraftComponentsTIG

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  1. Product Specifications
  2. Hvac
  3. Safety Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Interpreted and detailed blue prints dictating product specifications and dimensional requirements.
  • Maintained and serviced HVAC systems and refrigeration equipment.
  • Follow all safety procedures and use appropriate personal protective equipment, checking protective devices to ensure proper operation.
  • Utilized knowledge of working characteristics of metallic and nonmetallic materials, machining and layout techniques.
  • Use power tools/ air tools: screw driver, air hammer, bucking bar, power drills, all basic hand tools

What is it like to work as a Sheet Metal Mechanic

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April 1, 2019 on Zippia

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What do you like the most about working as Sheet Metal Mechanic?

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing General Physical Activities Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Making Decisions and Solving Problems.. Show More

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waiting on delivery.. Show More

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Top Sheet Metal Mechanic Employers

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Sheet Metal Mechanic Videos

day in the life of a Porsche technician

Aviation Mechanic, Career Video from drkit.org

Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 104-Getting the Job Done Right