Sheet Metal Workers: Salary Overview
Sheet metal workers fabricate or install ducts in heating and air conditioning systems and other products that are made of metal sheets.
A sheet metal worker’s job description includes selecting types of sheet metal according to design plans, measuring and marking reference lines on metal sheets, installing metal sheets, using screws and other tools to drill holes in metal, fabricating or altering metal parts at construction sites, anchoring large sheets of metal, and welding, bolting, riveting, or soldering metal sheets.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for sheet metal workers was $50,400 in May 2019 which means that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary depending on a wide range of factors, including the level of experience, additional certifications, education, industry, and region of employment.
The top 10 percent of all sheet metal workers earned more than $88,070 per year while the lowest 10 percent made less than $29,260 per year.
Metal Sheet Worker Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sheet metal workers held about 143,000 jobs in the United States in 2018, most of them being employed by specialty trade contractors.
The average annual wage reported by metal sheet workers employed by building equipment contractors was $57,120 as of May 2018.
Metal sheet workers who worked for fabricated metal product manufacturers reported an average annual wage of $44,850 while those who worked for foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors reportedly earned $48,330 per year, on average.
The average annual wage was $57,560 for metal sheet workers who worked for the federal executive branch and $51,680 for those who worked for nonresidential building contractors.
The report shows that the top-paying industry for this profession was the field of highway, street, and bridge construction.
Metal sheet workers employed in this field reportedly earned $99,440 per year, about double the median for this profession across all industries.
A higher-than-average wage was also reported by metal sheet workers who were employed by local governments.
In this sector, the average annual wage reported by workers in this occupation was $82,000.
Salaries for this profession also vary depending on the region and the state of employment.
The average annual wage reported by metal sheet workers in Hawaii was $76,900 which makes it the highest-paying state for this profession.
Other top-paying states where the average annual wage for this profession was above $65,000 are New York, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington.
Metal sheet workers in Alabama, North Carolina, and Arkansas, on the other hand, reportedly earned less than $40,000 per year, on average.
Other factors that determine a metal sheet worker’s salary are his/her level of skills and certifications.
Although certification is not required, becoming certified in a trade that is useful for this profession can make you a more valuable employee and is likely to increase your earnings.
Some credentials that can help you in this profession are the welding certification offered by the American Welding Society, the testing and balancing certification by the International Certification Board, or the certification in precision sheet metal work offered by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International.
Experience plays an important part in this profession.
Most construction metal sheet workers typically start their careers with a 4-5 year-long apprenticeship.
During this time they learn how to read blueprints, how to follow building code requirements, first-aid practices, and a variety of other skills that are essential in this occupation.
Apprenticeships are typically sponsored by unions or businesses and apprentices earn a salary that is usually close to the minimum for this profession.
After completing the apprenticeship, sheet metal workers are considered journey workers and are qualified to perform tasks without supervision.
This usually also comes with a pay-raise.
According to a report published by payscale.com sheet metal workers with less than 1 year of experience reportedly earned 14.79 on average per hour while those who had between 5-9 years of experience earned $21.68 per hour on average.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Sheet Metal Workers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.