Skilled Trade

Sheet Metal Worker

 Average Hourly Wage


What You Need

  • 18 years old
  • Highschool Diploma or GED
  • 144 classroom training hours per year
  • 7,200 to 10,000 on-the-job training hours

Job description

Sheet metal workers fabricate and install fittings and duct work used in construction or industry for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. They set up and operate shears, press brakes, hand brakes, bending rolls, welding machines, and other equipment to cut, form, and attach metal together for applications such as metal roofing and stainless steel work for restaurants, kitchens, and hospitals. They prepare shop and field drawings manually and with computer programs. Computer skills are becoming increasingly important for controlling industrial equipment.

Working conditions

The work is performed both indoors and out, using scaffolding, ladders, and high lifts, and in awkward positions and cramped spaces. Sheet metal workers may work in shops performing fabrication work, or on construction sites doing installation.

Length of apprenticeship

This apprenticeship lasts three to five years. Apprentices must complete a minimum of 144 related classroom hours per year and between 7,200 and 10,000 on-the-job training hours.

Minimum qualifications

Apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, they must provide proof of high school graduation or general education development (GED) equivalent. Local apprenticeship committees may require additional qualifications.


Beginning apprentices start at approximately 50 percent of the journey-level wage. Upon successful completion of required class work and on-the-job hours, wages increase usually every six months, until the journey-level rate is achieved.

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