To become a sheet metal worker, it is first necessary to successfully complete an apprenticeship program. This program typically takes between four and six years to complete. The sheet metal worker apprentice learns the basics of sheet metal fabrication and installation through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training under certified workers. Apprentices learn how to properly work sheet metal according to the needs and standards of their industry. This instruction usually involves learning how to use tools of the trade, effectively plan for various tasks, make precise measurements, and perform installations that meet standards and regulations.
Being a sheet metal worker apprentice is a physically demanding job that requires a fair degree of fitness. The apprentice must be an attentive learner who is driven to master the skills of the profession. Vital skills for the position include strong mathematical aptitude and the ability to visually measure spatial dimensions with a high degree of accuracy. Teamwork is also an important skill, as most sheet metal workers are attached to construction teams. Above all, sheet metal work can be dangerous, so the apprentice must adhere to all safety protocols to avoid injury or death to themselves or others.
There are generally no formal educational requirements for this position beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition to job training, apprenticeship programs involve classroom training totaling about 1,000 hours over the course of the program. Many sheet metal worker apprentices opt to pursue welding certification as well to add to their skillsets and enhance employment prospects.
Sheet Metal Worker Apprentice Tasks
Assist with fabrication of sheet metal to meet specifications.
Measure and cut materials.
Assist with installations, including getting tools and supplies, cleaning up, and carrying items.