What does a Sheet Metal Worker do?
|Citation||Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org|
Sheet metal workers install or fabricate products that are made from thin metal sheets like ducts in air conditioning systems, heating systems, metal roofs, siding, and gutters. They also may fabricate nonmetallic materials for plastic board or fiberglass.
Sheet Metal Workers have a physically demanding job often standing for long periods of time, squatting, and bending. They may lift heavy materials and need to climb. They typically work on a full time basis.
How to Become a Sheet Metal Worker
Sheet metal workers typically require a high school diploma and then enter into an apprenticeship program after graduation. Apprenticeship programs are offered by businesses and unions. Some offer preferred entry for military veterans. An apprenticeship program requires 1,700-2000 hours of on-the-job training that is paid and another 144-320 hours of technical instruction.
Apprentices learn blueprint reading, building code requirements, math, and first aid and safety practices. Some training may include welding. It may be helpful for one interested in this career to take classes in high school in classes such as mathematics, welding, blueprint reading, and mechanical drawing if possible
Some technical schools offer programs with instructions in metal working and welding. Also some manufacturers partner with local technical schools to provide training programs that are specific to their factories. It is not required for an apprentice to be licensed or certified, however it may be advantageous to prove one’s competency. Check with your state to see how to get certified.
Job Description of a Sheet Metal Worker
The duties of a sheet metal worker typically include selecting the appropriate type of sheet metal. However they also use nonmetallic products as well such as fiberglass or plastic boards for some jobs. They mark dimensions, measure, and reference lines. They drill holes to fit rivets, bolts, and screws. He or she has the job of installing metal sheets with supportive frameworks. They may need to fabricate or alter parts at the work site.
A sheet metal worker maneuvers and anchors large sheet metal parts and fasten joints or seams by soldering, welding, riveting, or bolting. There are a few types of sheet metal workers so each job may have different requirements and job performances. Specialities include but are not limited to fabrication, installation, maintenance, balancing, and testing.
Sheet metal workers often work in small assembly shops, manufacturing plants, or at construction sites. Some even work outdoors and are exposed to all types of weather. There is a high risk of injury due to the nature of the job duties included in this career field. Injuries include cuts, burns, falls, and strained muscles, however many companies have safety procedures and protocols to avoid these injuries as much as possible.
The increase of industrial, commercial, and residential structures will provide good employment opportunities for sheet metal workers. Those with welding experience and certification will have the best prospects.