Sheet Metal Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Sheet Metal Workers Career Video



Fabricates, assembles, installs and repairs 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; inspecting, assembling, and smoothing seams and joints of burred surfaces.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Converts blueprints into shop drawings to be followed in the construction or assembly of sheet metal products.
  • Determines project requirements, such as scope, assembly sequences, or required methods or materials, using blueprints, drawings, or written or verbal instructions.
  • Lays out, measures, and marks dimensions and reference lines on material such as roofing panels, using calculators, scribes, dividers, squares, or rulers.
  • Fastens 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.
  • Trims, files, grinds, deburrs, buffs, or smoothes surfaces, seams, or joints of assembled parts, using hand tools or portable power tools.
  • Fabricates ducts for high efficiency heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to maximize efficiency of systems.
  • Selects gauges or types of sheet metal or nonmetallic material, according to product specifications.
  • Finishes parts, using hacksaws or hand, rotary, or squaring shears.
  • Shapes metal material over anvils, blocks, or other forms, using hand tools.
  • Fabricates or alters parts at construction sites, using shears, hammers, punches, or drills.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupations requires climbing things such as ladders, scaffold, and poles more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Aviation Metalsmith -- Repairs and maintains airplanes and aircraft parts other than engines and ordnance.
  • Coppersmith -- Lays out, cuts, bends, and assembles pipe sections, pipefittings, and other parts from copper, brass, and other nonferrous metals.
  • Welder -- Operates welding equipment to weld ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
  • Whitesmith -- Works with white or light-colored metals such as tin and pewter.
  • Fairing Worker --
  • Gutter Installer --
  • HVAC Technician (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Technician) --
  • Sheet Metal Duct Installer --
  • Sheet Metal Fabricator --
  • Tinsmith --