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Career and Education Opportunities for Sheet Metal Workers in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for sheet metal workers. There are currently 4,880 jobs for sheet metal workers in Washington and this is projected to grow 16% to about 5,640 jobs 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%. Sheet metal workers generally fabricate, assemble, and repair sheet metal products and equipment, such as ducts, control boxes, and furnace casings.

A person working as a sheet metal worker can expect to earn about $27 hourly or $57,610 annually on average in Washington and about $19 hourly or $40,290 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for sheet metal workers are better than in the overall category of Metal Working and Welding in Washington, and not quite as good as the overall Metal Working and Welding category nationally.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a sheet metal worker. 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 Seattle 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

Bates Technical College - Tacoma, WA

Bates Technical College, 1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405. Bates Technical College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,807 students. Bates Technical College has an associate's degree program in Sheet Metal Technology/Sheetworking which graduated one student in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.