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Sheet Metal Workers' International Association

The following information is provided as a general overview/guideline and it subject to change. Information as to earnings and benefits should be verified with the trade office in your geographical area as it can vary from province to province.

Sheet Metal Workers' International Association



1750 New York Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20006

Top Officer:
Joseph J. Nigro, General President

SMWIA members work in several industries. Sheet metal workers fabricate, install and service heating, venting, and air conditioning systems; blowpipe and industrial systems; metal roofing; coping and flashing; and stainless steel work for restaurants, kitchens and hospitals. They prepare shop and field drawings manually and with computer programs. Members also provide HVAC/R service.

What do Sheet Metal Workers Do?

Fabricate, Install and Service:

  • Heating, Venting, and Air Conditioning Systems
  • Blowpipe and Industrial Systems
  • Metal Roofing
  • Coping and Flashing
  • Stainless Steel Work for Restaurants, Kitchens and Hospitals

What is a Sheet Metal Workers' Apprenticeship Program?

The apprenticeship program for sheet metal workers combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction, which takes place at state-of-the art JATC owned facilities or in the vocational training departments of local school and/or community colleges. Each JATC program has its own computers, which allows the JATC to deliver training, monitor progress, and communicate with other apprenticeship programs through the International Training Institute (ITI) home page.

The apprenticeship program lasts four years, during which apprentices receive wages and benefits as well as top-of-the-line instruction at no cost! In the first and second year, apprentices learn about drafting, sheet metal tools, safety procedures, pattern layout and development as well as how mathematics applies to the trade. In the third year, apprentices work more on their own, and will learn how to install HVAC equipment, welding, hoisting and rigging, and retrofitting environmental systems. Finally, in the fourth year, apprentices learn about fine tuning HVAC systems and welding techniques. Of course, by the end of the fourth year apprentices attain journeyperson status!

How much will I earn?

You earn while you learn the trade. Union journeymen Sheet Metal Workers' wages and fringe benefits are negotiated on their behalf by the union through collective bargaining with signatory contractors. Some apprenticeship programs partner with community colleges to offer college credit for apprenticeship classes.

Wages vary according to the geographic location of the local union. The average starting wage for 1st year apprentices is 40 - 50% of the Journeyman's wage rate plus fringe benefits. Your earnings are adjusted annually to reflect your advancing skills and increasing knowledge of the trade.

What Type Of Work Will I Do?

Sheet metal workers perform all types of tasks using metal. They design, fabricate and install heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. When an air conditioning system breaks or has problems, it is the sheet metal workers who use computers to troubleshoot the problem and then perform the service work to correct it. Sheet metal workers are responsible for the stainless steel cabinets and countertops you see in restaurants and cafeterias. They also perform work on skylights, signs, metal ceilings and downspouts.