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Occupational Profile
Apprenticeship

Sheet Metal Worker

Sheet metal workers design, fabricate, assemble, install and repair sheet metal products.

  • Avg. Salary $67,843.00
  • Avg. Wage $31.94
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook Down
Also Known As

Sheet Metal Fabricator, Sheet Metal Mechanic, Tinsmith

NOC & Interest Codes
The Sheet Metal Worker is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Sheet Metal Workers
NOC code: 7261
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to measure and mark sheet metal, and to operate computerized laser and plasma cutting equipment to cut sheet metal; and in developing patterns for sheet metal using computer assisted design and drafting (CAD) software

METHODICAL

Interest in grinding and buffing seams, joints and rough surfaces

INNOVATIVE

Interest in compiling information to inspect product quality and installation to ensure products conform to specifications and building codes

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Sheet metal workers use many types of metal including black and galvanized steel, copper, brass, nickel, stainless steel, and aluminum to make products such as:

  • pollution control systems, dust collection and control systems, air-slides, grain spouts, material blowers, air-veyors and other air systems
  • heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems
  • solar heating and cooling systems and all integral equipment
  • metal showcases, display neon and metal signs
  • metal cabinets, custom built tables, counters and fixtures for hospitals, kitchen equipment and items for the food service and beverage industry
  • electrical panels and related equipment
  • dairy, brewery and laboratory equipment
  • metal shelving, lockers, window frames, metal doors and frames, toilet partitions
  • flashing, coping, troughing and roof drainage systems
  • custom or small fabrication runs of sheet metal items.

On occasion, sheet metal workers substitute fibreglass or plastic for metals.

In general, sheet metal workers:

  • lay out, measure and mark dimensions and reference lines on sheet metal according to drawings or templates
  • use laser or plasma cutting equipment, numerically-controlled or computerized equipment, hand and power shears and snips, and light metal-working equipment to cut, drill, punch, bend and shape sheet metal
  • fasten components together with bolts, screws, cement, rivets, adhesives or solder, or by welding
  • install and repair sheet metal products and ensure installations conform to specifications and building codes
  • do metal cladding of insulated piping and equipment on industrial sites
  • manufacture and install flashing, coping for roofing applications
  • supply, install, service and repair air handling equipment, furnaces, fans, air terminal devices and split system air conditioners.

Sheet metal workers may work from verbal instructions or blueprints, or design small jobs themselves.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Sheet metal workers work indoors and outdoors in all types of weather. They make some products in a shop and install them at construction sites. Other products such as roofing and siding have to be measured and cut at the construction site. 

A 40 hour work week is normal, but overtime may be required to meet construction deadlines.

Considerable bending, reaching, working at heights or in cramped spaces may be required. Lifting and moving items that weigh over 25 kilograms also may be required.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Sheet metal workers need the following characteristics:

  • good physical condition
  • mechanical aptitude
  • hand-eye co-ordination, spatial and form perception and manual dexterity
  • the ability to visualize a finished product from a drawing
  • good background in practical mathematics, geometry and document reading
  • the ability to stand for long periods, do some heavy lifting and carrying, and work in high, awkward and noisy places
  • patience, dependability and accuracy
  • good communication skills.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

To work in Alberta, a sheet metal workers must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 10-2 and Math 10-3, or equivalent, or a pass mark in all 5 GED tests, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. A good background in practical math, geometry and blueprint reading is important.

The term of apprenticeship is 4 years (four 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,425 hours of on-the-job training and 10 weeks of technical training each year. High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Sheet metal worker apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at:

  • Grande Prairie Regional College in Fairview
  • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton
  • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades

Grande Prairie Regional College

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

This is an Apprenticeship trade. For full details, see the related certification profile

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Most sheet metal workers are employed by sheet metal, air conditioning and heating contractors involved in residential, commercial and industrial construction. A few are self-employed or work in shops with related trades. Some are employed by roofing contractors to install flashing and coping.

Since most sheet metal workers employed in Alberta work in the construction industry, employment prospects change with changing economic conditions.

Experienced sheet metal workers may become specialists in design and layout work, or in estimating the cost of installations. They may advance to supervisory positions or go into business for themselves. Alberta certified journeyperson sheet metal workers who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

In Alberta, 85% of people employed as sheet metal workers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 3,000 Albertans are employed in the Sheet metal workers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.7% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 21 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $25 to $40 an hour plus benefits (2014 estimates). Apprentice sheet metal workers earn at least 50% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 65% in the second, 75% in the third and 85% in the fourth.

Sheet metal workers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7233: Sheet metal workers. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Sheet metal workers occupational group earned on average from $25.14 to $37.62 an hour. The overall average wage was $31.94 an hour. For more information, see the Sheet metal workers wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Construction
    • Fabrication
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

Calgary Construction Association website: www.cca.cc

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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