Sheet Metal Workers
Sign In
OverviewSalaryAboutEducationWhere are the jobsEmploymentGenderRace/Origin
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.
Explore Pathways
Titles for this career often contain these words
Fewer details
Responsibilities and activities

Sheet metal workers typically do the following:

  • Select types of sheet metal according to building or design plans
  • Measure and mark dimensions and reference lines on metal sheets
  • Drill holes in metal for screws, bolts, and rivets
  • Install metal sheets with supportive frameworks
  • Fabricate or alter parts at construction sites
  • Maneuver and anchor large sheet metal parts
  • Fasten seams or joints by welding, bolting, riveting, or soldering

Sheet metal workers use pieces of thin steel, aluminum, or other alloyed metal in both manufacturing and construction. Sheet metal products include heating and air conditioning ducts, rain gutters, outdoor signs, and siding.

The following are examples of types of sheet metal workers:

Fabrication sheet metal workers, sometimes called precision sheet metal workers, make precision sheet metal parts for a variety of industries, including power generation and medical device manufacturing. They often work in shops and factories, operating tools and equipment. In large-scale manufacturing, their tasks may be highly automated and repetitive. Some fabrication shops have automated machinery, such as computer-controlled saws, lasers, shears, and presses, which measure, cut, bend, and fasten pieces of sheet metal. Workers may use computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) systems to make products. Some of these workers are responsible for limited programming of the computers controlling their equipment. Workers who primarily program computerized equipment are called metal and plastic machine workers.

Installation sheet metal workers put in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts. They also install other sheet metal products, such as metal roofs, siding, and gutters. They typically work on new construction and on renovation projects. In addition to installing sheet metal, some workers install nonmetallic materials such as fiberglass and plastic board. Information about workers who install or repair roofing systems is in the profile on roofers.

Maintenance sheet metal workers repair and clean ventilation systems so the systems use less energy. Workers remove dust and moisture and fix leaks or breaks in the sheet metal that makes up the ductwork.

Testing and balancing sheet metal specialists ensure that HVAC systems heat and cool rooms properly by adjusting sheet metal ducts to achieve proper airflow. Information on workers who install or repair HVAC systems is in the profile on heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers.

Median salary: $51,370 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $37,980 and $67,380.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
Fewer details
Salary growth for sheet metal workers
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Sheet Metal Workers
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of sheet metal workers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Contaminants (86%)
  • Time Pressure (75%)
  • Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites (63%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health (62%)
  • Hazardous Equipment (61%)
  • Consequence of Error (47%)
  • Exposed to Whole Body Vibration (43%)
  • High Places (32%)
Fewer details
Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Sheet Metal Workers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
Detail oriented
Sheet metal workers must precisely measure and cut, follow detailed directions, and monitor their surroundings for safety risks.
Sheet metal workers need good hand–eye coordination and motor control to make precise cuts and bends in metal pieces.
Math skills
Sheet metal workers must calculate the proper sizes and angles of fabricated sheet metal to ensure the alignment and fit of ductwork.
Mechanical skills
Sheet metal workers use saws, lasers, shears, and presses. They should have good mechanical skills in order to operate and maintain equipment.
Physical stamina
Sheet metal workers in factories may spend many hours standing at their workstation.
Physical strength
Sheet metal workers must be able to lift and move ductwork that is heavy and cumbersome. Some jobs require workers to push, pull, or lift 50 pounds or more.
Injury and Illness
About 160 sheet metal workers become injured or ill for every 10,000 workers, making this job more dangerous than 90% of other careers. The most common specific illnesses or injuries are detailed following.
All cuts, lacerations, punctures
All multiple traumatic injuries
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by sheet metal workers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sheet metal workers typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as sheet metal workers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for sheet metal workers

Sheet metal workers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Those interested in becoming a sheet metal worker should take high school classes in algebra and geometry. Vocational-education courses such as blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, and welding are also helpful.

Technical schools may have programs that teach welding and metalworking. These programs help provide the basic welding and sheet metal fabrication knowledge that sheet metal workers need to do their job.

Some manufacturers have partnerships with local technical schools to develop training programs specific to their factories.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for sheet metal workers

Some states require licenses for sheet metal workers. Check with your state for more information.

Although not required, sheet metal workers may earn certifications for several tasks that they perform. For example, some sheet metal workers become certified in welding from the American Welding Society. In addition, the International Certification Board offers certification in testing and balancing, HVAC fire life safety, and other related activities for eligible sheet metal workers. The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, offers a certification in precision sheet metal work.

Education level of Sheet Metal Workers
Only 4% of sheet metal workers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by sheet metal workers
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Fewer details
Programs recommended by the Department of Education
The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.
Number of degrees awarded in 2018
Education level of awarded degrees
Gender of graduates
Race/origin of graduates
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Sheet Metal Workers per 1,000 workers (ACS)
Fewer details
Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most sheet metal workers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as sheet metal workers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where sheet metal workers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for sheet metal workers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for sheet metal workers.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which sheet metal workers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Sheet Metal Workers (ACS)
5% of Sheet metal workers are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 5% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 77% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
Fewer details
Distribution: Salaries of sheet metal workers by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$42K$42K$27K$42K$52K$53K$42K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Sheet metal workers and gender
With 4% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 89% of careers.
Gender of Sheet metal workers
Men (96%)
Women (4%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
Fewer details
Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for sheet metal workers tops that, with the median salary for men 30% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Sheet metal workers
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Sheet metal workers.
Race/origin of sheet metal workers
White (82% )
Black (7% )
Other (5% )
Asian (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
$33K$39K$40K$40K$41K$41K$42K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KOtherMultiracialBlackAmerican IndianHispanicAsianWhite
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.