What Does a Sheet Metal Worker Do?

Sheet metal is a highly desirable trade both for its unique skill sets and its earning potential. Sheet Metal Workers are the only trade that takes raw materials and fabricates what they install. 

From the HVAC systems that make the temperature in your homes comfortable, to safe healthcare, commercial and industry ventilation systems, to the striking exteriors of hospitals, schools and commercial buildings, the finished products produced and installed by career Sheet Metal Workers touch everyone, every day.

Sheet Metal Workers design, cut, roll, bend, shape, and weld forming various metals into products for the HVAC, Industrial and Architectural Industries. They use hand and power tools and equipment including shears, breaks, punches, edging, and crimping machines.

Sheet metal workers install and service all types of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems as well as fabricate the majority of their components including duct-work.

Sheet metal workers fabricate and install: coping and flashing, lockers and bathroom partitions, coolers, freezers, kitchen equipment, metal roofs, metal wall panel systems, siding, rain gutters, downspouts, skylights, customized precision equipment, and many other products made from sheet metal. The process of sheet metal work involves shearing, forming, fabricating, welding, soldering and assembling a host of items made from galvanized steel, iron, steel, copper, stainless steel, aluminum and sometimes plastic.

Where Do Sheet Metal Workers Work?

Sheet metal work takes place at industrial, commercial, residential and institutional construction sites, industrial plants, and in the electrical power systems sector of the construction industry. We also work in residential homes.

A Sheet Metal Worker performs work in all temperatures, most weather conditions, and in all space conditions. For example, you may work inside or outside, in confined spaces, underneath houses in crawl spaces, in attics, in high spaces like off of ladders, scaffolding, lifts or on a rooftop, in dirty, smelly environments, in clean rooms, etc. 

What Skills Do Sheet Metal Workers Learn and Use? 

As a union Sheet Metal Worker, you will belong to a skilled technical craft. Sheet Metal Workers work in a shop and in the field. They use mathematics and pattern development methods to fabricate. They also are skilled in:

  • Installation of HVAC systems and their components
  • Installation and fabrication of architectural items for building construction
  • Indoor air quality, energy management testing adjusting and balancing of mechanical systems
  • All types of welding
  • Blueprint reading and creating computerized drawings

Is a Sheet Metal Worker a Good Career?

There are multiple career paths within the sheet metal industry, all with varied skill sets and opportunities for advancement. There's a unique career within the industry that is a perfect match for your interests and skills. From estimating the costs of a project to designing how it gets built to handling project management, to fabrication and installation, there's something for everyone.

According to Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, sheet metal fabrication is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.  

What Skills Make a Good Sheet Metal Worker?

  • Do you enjoy working with your hands?
  • Do you have interest in mechanics and math?
  • Do you have a strong work ethic?
  • Are you interested in avoiding the price tag of a college degree and student loans?

Then a career in the sheet metal trade may be for you.

Do Sheet Metal Workers Make Good Money?

The  Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual income for Sheet Metal Workers was $55,320 in 2020. In Illinois, Sheet Metal Workers made an average off $62,770 plus benefits. See Wage Rates (10/4/21)

Where Would I Work in Springfield? 

See a list of our partners and learn more about the industry. 

Sheet Metal Worker Benefits

  • International Pension
  • Local Pension
  • 401k
  • Health Insurance
  • SASMI (underemployment insurance)
  • "Earn While You Learn" training

Ready to Get Started? 

Learn about our apprenticeship program and apply today!