Sheet metal workers fabricate, assemble, install and repair sheet metal products.
Sheet metal workers lay out, measure and mark sheet metal. They work with computerized equipment to bend, straighten or cut sheet metal. They also weld sheet metal parts and polish seams, joints and rough surfaces. People in this career often work on heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and roofing for restaurants, kitchens, marine installations, hospital equipment as well as other fields. They may build and install eavestroughs, air and heat ducts, roof decking and more. Sheet metal workers may specialize in on-site or in-shop manufacturing of sheet metal products or they may focus on servicing and maintaining installed systems and equipment.
Sheet metal workers are employed by sheet metal fabrication shops, sheet metal products manufacturing companies, sheet metal work contractors and areas in this industry. People in this career work with their hands and with a range of tools. They need to have good math skills, spatial perception and pay attention to detail. They must also be able to read and interpret drawings as well as specification sheets.
Watch the video below to learn what a typical day is like for a sheet metal worker.
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 940
In general, sheet metal workers:
In addition, they may:
Sheet metal workers typically work 40 hours per week, but may need to work overtime to meet deadlines.
Work is done indoors and outdoors. It can take place in shops, homes, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. Indoor work includes installing duct systems and kitchen equipment. Outdoor work includes installing siding, roofing and gutters in all kinds of weather.
Sheet metal workers who do installation work have to bend, lift, stand, climb and squat, sometimes in small spaces or in uncomfortable positions. Often, people in this job lift heavy materials and equipment. Workers often use ladders and scaffolding and must be comfortable working from heights.
Sheet metal workers are trained to follow safety regulations and wear safety equipment to prevent injuries such as cuts from metal and burns from soldering and welding.
Parts of the job have been computerized and this technology has reduced the physical demands for workers. There is a growing need for sheet metal workers to have a good understanding of technology and computer skills since more companies have CNC (computer numerical control) cutting machines.
Source: 2016 Census
Completion of Grade 10 is required, and completion of Grade 12 is preferred. Other training and requirements may include:
Work experience and in-class instruction are part of apprenticeship programs. Some part-time and online programs may be available. To apprentice, workers must be sponsored by an employer. A person who successfully completes an apprenticeship program and the final certification exam earns a Certificate of Qualification. Workers with significant experience in the trade may be able to challenge the certification exam to earn the Certificate of Qualification without completing a formal apprenticeship. For more information on earning a Certificate of Qualification, visit SkilledTradesBC.
To work in other provinces
Sheet metal workers may need Red Seal certification to work in other provinces. This can be earned by passing an exam and proving significant work experience.
Workers coming to B.C.
Sheet metal workers who are certified by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information, such as a letter of good standing, references or a criminal record check.
Workers who trained outside of Canada
Sheet metal workers who trained outside of Canada and have never received certification from a Canadian jurisdiction will likely need a full assessment. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants. Contact SkilledTradesBC for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
Some sheet metal workers rely on high-rise residential building activity to generate business. Government funding for capital projects has also been an important source of construction employment.
There is a growing demand for sheet metal workers, especially in large urban areas. Sheet metal workers with specialized skills in welding are expected to have an advantage in finding work. Also, those who continue to upgrade their knowledge and skills—especially with technology and new techniques—are often more in demand.
While this field has historically been male-dominated, there are now a growing number of sheet metal workers who identify as female.
With experience and additional training, sheet metal workers can move into senior or supervisory positions.
Some experienced sheet metal workers may choose to start their own businesses.