Sheet Metal Workers Career Video
Description: 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.
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.