Sheet Metal Workers


Employment Prospects


Approximately 137,700 sheet metal workers are employed in the United States. Most workers in this field are employed by sheet metal contractors; some workers with a great deal of experience go into business for themselves. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that about 60 percent of all sheet metal workers work for specialty trade contractors, while 21 percent work in manufacturing. 

Starting Out

People who would like to enter an apprentice program in this field can seek information about apprenticeships from local employers of sheet metal workers, such as sheet metal contractors or heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration contractors; from the local office of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association; or from the local Sheet Metal Apprentice Training office, the joint union-management apprenticeship committee. Information on apprenticeship programs can also be obtained from the local office of the state employment service or the state apprenticeship agency.

People who would rather enter this field as on-the-job trainees can contact contractors directly about possibilities for jobs as helpers. Leads for specific jobs may be located through the state employment service or newspaper classified ads. Graduates of vocational or technical training programs may get assistance from the placement office at their schools.

Advancement Prospects

Skilled and experienced sheet metal workers who work for contractors may be promoted to positions as supervisors and eventually job superintendents. Those who develop their skills through further training may move into related fields, such as welding. Some sheet metal workers become specialists in particular activities, such as design and layout work or estimating costs of installations. Some workers eventually go into business for themselves as independent sheet metal contractors.

Tips for Entry

Visit for job listings.

Read Practical Welding Today ( and Eye on Sheet Metal ( to learn more about the field.

Talk to sheet metal workers about their careers. Ask them for advice on breaking into the field.