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Sheet Metal Workers
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Description: what do 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.
Also known as:
Field Installer, Sheet Metal Worker, Sheet Metal Mechanic, Sheet Metal Layout Mechanic, Sheet Metal Installer, Sheet Metal Foreman, Sheet Metal Fabricator, Sheet Metal Apprentice, Journeyman Sheet Metal Worker, HVAC Sheet Metal Installer (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Sheet Metal Installer)

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: 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.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations, 2019. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Oregon
2,480
2016 Employment
2,940
2026 Employment
18%
Percent change
330
Annual projected job openings
United States
143,000
2018 Employment
154,400
2028 Employment
8%
Percent change
17,300
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016 (for states) or 2018 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2026 (for states) or 2028 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2016-26.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2018-28.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Sheet Metal Workers in Oregon
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationOregonUnited States
10%$32,030$27,780
25%$38,680$35,390
Median$51,720$48,460
75%$72,890$64,970
90%$91,760$86,290


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • Apprenticeship

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Create construction or installation diagrams.
  • Review blueprints or specifications to determine work requirements.
  • Measure materials or objects for installation or assembly.
  • Mark reference points on construction materials.
  • Assemble products or production equipment.
  • Weld metal components.
  • Plan layout of construction, installation, or repairs.
  • Smooth surfaces with abrasive materials or tools.
  • Fabricate parts or components.
  • Select construction materials.
  • Position structural components.
  • Inspect completed work to ensure proper installation.
  • Move construction or extraction materials to locations where they are needed.
  • Evaluate construction projects to determine compliance with external standards or regulations.
  • Install plumbing or piping.
  • Install building fixtures.
  • Train construction or extraction personnel.
  • Direct construction or extraction personnel.
  • Maintain construction tools or equipment.
  • Install roofing materials.
  • Inspect industrial or commercial equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Install green structural components, equipment or systems.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Visualization - Imagining how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • 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.
  • Fasten seams or joints together with welds, bolts, cement, rivets, solder, caulks, metal drive clips, or bonds to assemble components into products or to repair sheet metal items.
  • Develop or lay out patterns, using computerized metalworking equipment.
  • Trim, file, grind, deburr, buff, or smooth surfaces, seams, or joints of assembled parts, using hand tools or portable power tools.
  • Fabricate ducts for high efficiency heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to maximize efficiency of systems.
  • Select gauges or types of sheet metal or nonmetallic material, according to product specifications.
  • Maneuver completed roofing units into position for installation.
  • Finish parts, using hacksaws or hand, rotary, or squaring shears.
  • Shape metal material over anvils, blocks, or other forms, using hand tools.
  • Fabricate or alter parts at construction sites, using shears, hammers, punches, or drills.
  • Inspect individual parts, assemblies, or installations, using measuring instruments, such as calipers, scales, or micrometers.
  • Transport prefabricated parts to construction sites for assembly and installation.
  • Verify that heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are designed, installed, and calibrated in accordance with green certification standards, such as those of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
  • Install assemblies, such as flashing, pipes, tubes, heating and air conditioning ducts, furnace casings, rain gutters, or downspouts in supportive frameworks.
  • Hire, train, or supervise new employees or apprentices.
  • Maintain equipment, making repairs or modifications when necessary.
  • Secure metal roof panels in place by interlocking and fastening grooved panel edges.
  • Perform building commissioning activities by completing mechanical inspections of a building's water, lighting, or heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • Fasten roof panel edges or machine-made moldings to structures by nailing or welding.
  • Perform sheet metal work necessary for solar panel installations.
  • Install green architectural sheet metal components, such as cool roofs or hot or cold walls.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.