Sheet Metal Worker Salary

Do you want to become a skilled worker with metal? A career as a Sheet Metal Worker isn’t a bad choice. These workers fabricate or install various products made of thin metal sheets. They design objects such as air ducts to be used for heating or air conditioning. The advantage of this line of work is that it doesn’t require a very long training time. A Sheet Metal Worker’s salary can still reach comfortable levels despite not having to attain much higher education. Also, this trade holds a promising outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the Sheet Metal Worker position to grow by 15% between the years 2012 through 2022.* This rate sits slightly higher than the average growth of all other occupations over the same time period. The Bureau credits these increased numbers to an increase in industrial building constructions over the ensuing decade. They also believe that older buildings will require installation and maintenance of newer, energy-efficient systems.

Overview of a Sheet Metal Worker Salary

A Sheet Metal Worker in the United States definitely earns a comfortable salary. The BLS data for 2012 indicates that the median yearly wage for a Sheet Metal Worker stands at $43,290. The top paid 10 percent of these workers earn over $74,740. The bottom 10 percent earn less than $25,310. The Bureau explains that this low amount stems from apprenticeship periods during the beginning of a career as a Sheet Metal Worker. Apprentices in this trade typically only earn between 40 to 50 percent of the yearly wage a full time Sheet Metal Worker. Those who worked in manufacturing industries likely receive bonuses, profit shares, paid work overtime, or other incentives that add considerable amounts to their salary.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Earnings Factors of a Sheet Metal Worker

  • Job prospects. The industry employed approximately 142,300 Sheet Metal Workers in 2012. Experts predict that this rate will rise to a total of 164,300 in 2012. These figures alone are not cause enough for undiscriminating enthusiasm: as most other trades, fluctuations of the economy severely impact this trade and its presence in the job market. The Bureau expects the numbers to rise due to the fact that more buildings will be commissioned over time. If the overall level of construction should fall, Sheet Metal Workers will most likely experience periods of unemployment. A Sheet Metal Worker should boost his or her level of employability by completing apprenticeships, learning how to program software for equipment, and by obtaining multiple welding certifications.
  • Formal education and accumulated experience. The only educational factor that truly affects a Sheet Metal Worker’s salary is whether they completed the apprenticeship period or not. As mentioned previously, those who do not complete their apprenticeship period will generally earn about 40 to 50 percent of the wage of a fully qualified Sheet Metal Worker. A number of workers, mainly in manufacturing, obtain training at a technical college rather than through apprenticeships. These workers possess a more formal education. The education gap may explain why Sheet Metal Workers typically earn higher salaries in manufacturing than in constructions.
  • The type of job they have. Most of the Sheet Metal Worker positions exist either in construction or in manufacturing. We can separate the overall workers in both industries into four main specialty groups: fabrication, installation, maintenance, or testing/balancing. Sometimes, specializations can affect the overall salary.

Job Description and Outlook of a Sheet Metal Worker

A Sheet Metal Worker’s job isn’t easy. They must be able to lift large objects which occasionally weigh as much as 50 pounds. These Workers must also be able to stand for long periods of time. A Sheet Metal Worker on a construction site will often bend or squat while working in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. Those who work outdoors must prepare themselves to face all kinds of weather.

Like in most other lines of manual labor, the position carries a risk of injury or illness. Both the employers and the employees must remain conscious of this at all times. Safety training and protective equipment must be taken very seriously. Common injuries include falling from ladders, superficial burns from welding, and assorted injury from improper use of the high speed machines involved in the work. Sheet metal workers must remain vigilant when working with these machines.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Educational Requirements of a Sheet Metal Worker

Sheet Metal Worker typically must acquire a high school diploma. The position requires educational courses in English, algebra, geometry, physics. They may also need educational experience in mechanical drawing, blueprint reading and general shop. After completing their high school education, those interested in becoming sheet metal workers should complete an apprenticeship which lasts 4 to 5 years. During the apprenticeship, a worker earns a small salary which is lower than a regular Worker’s wages. A Sheet Metal Worker may bypass the apprenticeship program by learning the trade from a technical college. Many such colleges provide training programs specifically for sheet metal workers.

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

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