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Career and Education Opportunities for Sheet Metal Workers in Chicago, Illinois

Sheet metal workers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Chicago, Illinois area. Currently, 6,740 people work as sheet metal workers in Illinois. This is expected to grow 7% to about 7,210 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for sheet metal workers are expected to grow by about 6.5%. In general, sheet metal workers fabricate, assemble, and repair sheet metal products and equipment, such as ducts, control boxes, and furnace casings.

Sheet metal workers earn approximately $29 hourly or $60,530 annually on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $19 hourly or $40,290 per year. Incomes for sheet metal workers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Metal Working and Welding in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Metal Working and Welding category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a sheet metal worker, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. The most common level of education for sheet metal workers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a sheet metal worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Sheet Metal Worker

Sheet Metal Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, sheet metal workers fabricate, assemble, and repair sheet metal products and equipment, such as ducts, control boxes, and furnace casings. They also work may involve any of the following: setting up and operating fabricating machines to cut, bend, and straighten sheet metal; shaping metal over anvils, blocks, or forms using hammer; operating soldering and welding equipment to join sheet metal parts; inspecting, assembling, and smoothing seams and joints of burred surfaces.

Sheet metal workers drill and punch holes in metal for screws, bolts, and rivets. They also lay out and mark dimensions and reference lines on material, such as roofing panels, in line with drawings or templates, using calculators, scribes, dividers, squares, and rulers. Equally important, sheet metal workers have to fasten seams and joints together with welds, bolts, cement, rivets, solder, caulks, metal drive clips, and bonds to assemble components into products or to repair sheet metal items. They are often called upon to decide on project requirements and required methods and materials, in line with blueprints and written or verbal instructions. They are expected to set up assemblies, such as flashing, pipes, tubes, heating and air conditioning ducts and down spouts, in supportive frameworks. Finally, sheet metal workers fabricate or alter parts at construction sites, using shears, hammers, punches, and drills.

Every day, sheet metal workers are expected to be able to visualize how things come together and can be organized. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they prioritize information for further consideration.

It is important for sheet metal workers to maneuver completed units into position for installation, and anchor the units. They are often called upon to shape metal material over anvils or other forms, using hand tools. They also finish parts, using hacksaws, and hand, rotary, or squaring shears. They are sometimes expected to transport prefabricated parts to construction sites for assembly and installation. Somewhat less frequently, sheet metal workers are also expected to lay out and mark dimensions and reference lines on material, such as roofing panels, in line with drawings or templates, using calculators, scribes, dividers, squares, and rulers.

Sheet metal workers sometimes are asked to convert blueprints into shop drawings to be followed in the construction and assembly of sheet metal products. They also have to be able to fasten roof panel edges and machine-made molding to structures, nailing or welding pieces into position And finally, they sometimes have to fabricate or alter parts at construction sites, using shears, hammers, punches, and drills.

Like many other jobs, sheet metal workers must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Steel Worker. Raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks. May erect metal storage tanks and assemble prefabricated metal buildings.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Sheet Metal Worker Training

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has an associate's degree program in Sheet Metal Technology/Sheetworking which graduated nine students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.