If you desire a career where you will work with your hands and develop special skills that can be used in a variety of industries, you will enjoy working as a sheet metal worker. You will design, fabricate, assemble, install, and repair the sheet metal products required in a wide variety of industries and settings.
During your career, you will lay out, measure and mark dimensions and reference lines on sheet metal according to drawings or templates; use laser or plasma cutting equipment, numerically-controlled or computerized equipment, hand and power shears and snips and light metal-working equipment to cut, drill or punch, bend and shape sheet metal; fasten with bolts, screws, cement, rivets, adhesives, solder or by welding; install and repair sheet metal products and ensure installations conform to specifications and building codes; do metal cladding of insulated piping and equipment on industrial sites; manufacture and install flashing, coping for roofing applications, and supply, install, service and repair air handling equipment, furnaces, fans, air terminal devices and split system air conditioners.
You will use many types of metal including black and galvanized steel, copper, brass, nickel, stainless steel and aluminum to make products such as:
- Pollution control systems, dust collecting and control systems, air-slide, grain spouting material blowing, air-veyor and other air systems
- Heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems
- Solar heating and cooling systems and all integral equipment
- Metal showcases, display neon and metal sign equipment
- Metal cabinets, custom built tables, counters and fixtures for hospitals, kitchen equipment and items for the food service and beverage industry
- Electrical panels and related equipment
- Dairy, brewery and laboratory equipment
- Metal shelving, lockers, window frames, metal doors and frames, toilet partitions
- Flashing, coping, troughing and roof drainage systems
- Custom or small run fabrication of a variety of sheet metal items
This is a compulsory trade - to work in this trade you need to hold a recognized trade certificate or be a registered apprentice.
Start your career by finding an employer who is willing to indenture you as an apprentice or gain experience with our Pre-Employment Sheet Metal program.
As a sheet metal worker, you will be employed by sheet metal, air-conditioning and heating contractors involved in residential, commercial and industrial construction. You will do a lot of custom fabrication to match job requirements. Depending on the project requirements, you may work indoors or outdoors. You will do some of the production in a shop environment and install them at a construction site. Other projects, such as roofing and siding, will be measured and cut on site.
As a journeyperson, you will likely make a wage between $25 - $40 an hour depending on your employer.
After becoming a journeyperson, you may advance to specialists in design and layout work or in estimating the cost of installations or supervisory positions. Some journeypersons go on to run their own businesses – we can help you build your business with our Blue Seal business certificate.
Students who have the following characteristics see greater success in the sheet metal trade:
- Mechanical aptitude
- Good eye-hand coordination, spatial and form perception, good eyesight, strength and stamina to carry heavy tools and manual dexterity
- The ability to visualize a finished product from a document
- A good understanding in practical mathematics, geometry, and document reading
- The ability to stand for long periods
- Patience, dependability and accuracy
- The ability to work in a construction or shop environment
- Good communication skills
- The ability to work alone or as a team
- A commitment to safe working conditions
Upon successfully completing the required working hours and technical training periods, graduates will be awarded journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Sheet metal workers are a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across Canada.
Admission and Completion
To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.
Entrance Requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Successful completion of the following courses:
- English 20-2
- Math 20-3
- Science 10
A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam
Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:
- English 30-2
- Math 30-3
- Physics 20 OR Chemistry 20 OR Science 20
- Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses
How to register
Registration for technical training is run through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. Learn how you can register for your next intake.
After you register
Email is the primary source of communication after you have registered for your intake. Please ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.
Apprentices in the cabinetmaking trade will spend 4 years (four 12-month periods) of on-the-job training and technical training at SAIT. Technical training will be 10 weeks each year.
|Find an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice|
|Apply as an apprentice with AIT and your employer|
|Sign contract and recieve record book|
|Written entrance examination or get approved for previous transcripts|
|Complete first period of on-the-job-training (1500 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend first period of technical training for 10 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass first period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete second period of on-the-job training (1500 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend second period of technical training for 10 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass second period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete third period of on-the-job training (1500 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend third period of technical training for 10 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass third period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Complete fourth period of on-the-job training (1500 hours)|
|Register at SAIT|
|Attend fourth period of technical training for 10 weeks at SAIT|
|Pass fourth period Trade Qualification Exam|
|Become a Journeyperson|
|Write and pass the Interprovincial Qualification Exam|
Technical Training Performance
To be successful in technical training, an apprentice must pass each section of the course and pass the AIT exam. The passing grade for each section in the course is a 65%. A passing mark on each Trade Qualification Exam and the Interprovincial Qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.
Domestic tuition and fees*
|Period||Tuition fees||SAIT fees||Saitsa fees||Lab & Material Fees||2020/21 total|
Lab and material fee: $72
Student support fee: $25.00
Student technology fee: $25.00
Books and supplies*
- Books or modules along with other items for class average out to $600 per period.
- It is recommended that you do not purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes and they cannot be returned to the bookstore.
- Personal Protective Equipment will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.
*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
Membership to the SAIT Wellness centre - including an ice arena, swimming/diving pool, gymnasium, squash and racquetteball courts and eight room is available to apprentices at a discounted rate.
Financial planning tool
Our apprenticeship cost calculator can help you make a financial plan by identifying and adding up your expected expenses while attending SAIT — find out exactly how much money you need to save, seek or borrow to get you through your studies.