Sheet Metal Workers
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.
Sample of reported job titles: Field Installer; HVAC Sheet Metal Installer (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Sheet Metal Installer); Sheet Metal Fabricator; Sheet Metal Installer; Sheet Metal Layout Mechanic; Sheet Metal Mechanic; Sheet Metal Worker
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Convert blueprints into shop drawings to be followed in the construction or assembly of sheet metal products.
- Determine project requirements, such as scope, assembly sequences, or required methods or materials, using blueprints, drawings, or written or verbal instructions.
- Lay out, measure, and mark dimensions and reference lines on material, such as roofing panels, using calculators, scribes, dividers, squares, or rulers.
- Fasten seams or joints together with welds, bolts, cement, rivets, solder, caulks, metal drive clips, or bonds to assemble components into products or to repair sheet metal items.
- Trim, file, grind, deburr, buff, or smooth surfaces, seams, or joints of assembled parts, using hand tools or portable power tools.
- Fabricate ducts for high efficiency heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to maximize efficiency of systems.
- Select gauges or types of sheet metal or nonmetallic material, according to product specifications.
- Finish parts, using hacksaws or hand, rotary, or squaring shears.
- Shape metal material over anvils, blocks, or other forms, using hand tools.
- Fabricate or alter parts at construction sites, using shears, hammers, punches, or drills.
- Transport prefabricated parts to construction sites for assembly and installation.
- Install assemblies, such as flashing, pipes, tubes, heating and air conditioning ducts, furnace casings, rain gutters, or downspouts in supportive frameworks.
- Hire, train, or supervise new employees or apprentices.
- Maintain equipment, making repairs or modifications when necessary.
- Develop or lay out patterns, using computerized metalworking equipment.
- Maneuver completed roofing units into position for installation.
- Inspect individual parts, assemblies, or installations, using measuring instruments, such as calipers, scales, or micrometers.
- Verify that heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are designed, installed, and calibrated in accordance with green certification standards, such as those of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
- Secure metal roof panels in place by interlocking and fastening grooved panel edges.
- Perform building commissioning activities by completing mechanical inspections of a building’s water, lighting, or heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
- Fasten roof panel edges or machine-made moldings to structures by nailing or welding.
- Perform sheet metal work necessary for solar panel installations.
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- Computer aided design CAD software — Applied Production ProFold; Autodesk AutoCAD ; PTC Creo Parametric; XY Soft Sheet Cutting Suite (see all 9 examples)
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — Applied Production ProFab; JETCAM Expert; Striker Systems SS-Profile; WiCAM PN4000 (see all 5 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Create construction or installation diagrams.
- Review blueprints or specifications to determine work requirements.
- Mark reference points on construction materials.
- Measure materials or objects for installation or assembly.
- Assemble products or production equipment.
- Weld metal components.
- Plan layout of construction, installation, or repairs.
- Smooth surfaces with abrasive materials or tools.
- Fabricate parts or components.
- Select construction materials.
- Position structural components.
- Inspect completed work to ensure proper installation.
- Move construction or extraction materials to locations where they are needed.
- Evaluate construction projects to determine compliance with external standards or regulations.
- Install building fixtures.
- Install plumbing or piping.
- Direct construction or extraction personnel.
- Train construction or extraction personnel.
- Maintain construction tools or equipment.
- Install roofing materials.
- Inspect industrial or commercial equipment to ensure proper operation.
- Install green structural components, equipment or systems.
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- Spend Time Standing — 89% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 81% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 64% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 67% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Time Pressure — 23% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 37% responded “More than half the time.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 42% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 45% responded “Very important results.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 32% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 35% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Physical Proximity — 45% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 48% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 25% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 60% responded “Some freedom.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 51% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 21% responded “Important.”
- Telephone — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 34% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Deal With External Customers — 41% responded “Extremely important.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 39% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 25% responded “Limited responsibility.”
- Level of Competition — 44% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 24% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 32% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Exposed to High Places — 40% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 45% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
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|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|60||High school diploma or equivalent
|18||Less than high school diploma|
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Interest code: R Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$24.70 hourly, $51,370 annual|
|Employment (2020)||135,400 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Slower than average (1% to 5%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||13,100|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Welding Society
- Associated Builders and Contractors
- Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International
- International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers
- International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry
- National Center for Construction Education and Research
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Sheet metal workers
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