Sheet Metal MechanicJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

An aviation sheet metal mechanic installs, repairs, and replaces the sheet metal components of an aircraft, including various structural assemblies and sub-assemblies. Sheet metal mechanics perform complex structural repairs to keep aircraft up to specifications. Also, sheet metal mechanics fabricate replacement parts for aircraft as needed.

Repairing the structural assemblies of an aircraft is complicated work, so sheet metal mechanics must understand aircraft repair manuals, blueprints, and engineering documents. Also, a sheet metal mechanic needs to know how to properly use, handle, and dispose of hazardous materials during their work. A sheet metal mechanic should also have a knowledge of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) quality specifications, to collaborate with inspectors and ensure all work complies with guidelines and regulations.

Sample job description

A sheet metal mechanic is a skilled tradesman that deals with creating, installing, and repairing sheet metal. These workers specialize in heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in order to fabricate and repair metal products. [Your Company Name] is hiring an experienced sheet metal mechanic to be responsible for creating metal products for our clients. We’re looking for someone who is passionate and precise in their craft. If you have previous training and experience with sheet metal, our sheet metal mechanic position may be the right for you. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Install, repair, inspect, and replace sheet metal components on aircraft and spacecraft, including structural assemblies and sub-assemblies
  • Analyze and understand aircraft blueprints, specifications, and maintenance manuals to make repairs
  • Conduct maintenance operations
  • Fabricate replacement parts as needed
  • Ensure all repairs are up to FAA and manufacturer specifications
  • Safely operate various tools used for sheet metal applications
  • Order supplies, equipment, materials, and parts for repairs and general maintenance
  • Keep detailed records of inspections, maintenance, repairs, and parts inventor

Education and experience

This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
  • Mechanical aptitude and ability to understand engineering documents and schematics
  • Knowledge of metal, alloys, aircraft adhesives, and sealants
  • Strong hand-eye coordination and proficiency in using tools
  • Sufficient physical strength and dexterity to climb on aircraft and manipulate replacement parts
  • Knowledge of the use, handling, and disposal of hazardous materials
  • High-level organization skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Prior experience with sheet metal work in the mechanical/HVAC industry
  • Understand basic math
  • Ability to work alone without much oversight needed

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an aviation sheet metal mechanic is $51,250 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$54,650$74,000
Los Angeles, California$61,700$83,450
Denver, Colorado$51,450$69,550
Washington, DC$62,650$84,750
Miami, Florida$51,150$69,250
Orlando, Florida$47,200$63,850
Tampa, Florida$47,650$64,500
Atlanta, Georgia$50,000$67,650
Chicago, Illinois$57,500$77,750
Boston, Massachusetts$62,150$84,150
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$49,550$67,000
New York City, New York$65,450$88,550
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$53,250$72,100
Dallas, Texas$51,850$70,200
Houston, Texas$51,650$69,850
Seattle, Washington$59,850$80,950
National Average$46,750$63,250

Typical work environment

Sheet metal mechanics typically work at construction sites, manufacturing plants, and in metal shops. Sheet metal mechanics in construction are expected to work long and unusual hours and can be exposed to harsh weather and unwavering great heights. While other sheet metal mechanics work in aviation dealing with various plane parts. The aviation industry offers more consistent hours and less dangerous conditions compared to other industries.

Typical hours

Typical hours for this position are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in a factory setting. 

Available certifications

There are several certifications available to aspiring sheet metal mechanics that are interested in developing critical skills in this field. Check out the following: 

  • Safety Fundamentals for Metal Manufacturing Certificate. Making sure your workplace offers a safe environment, it is important to have fundamental safety habits. This certificate is essential to you learning the metal manufacturing safety procedures that will help empower you to establish a safe work environment. Developed by national safety experts and industry leaders, this training will provide you with the best safety practices that will protect you as you navigate this on-hands job. 
  • Precision Sheet Metal Operator Certification (PSMO). The FMA’s Precision Sheet Metal Operator Certification (PSMO) is designed to increase a candidate’s knowledge of fundamental precision sheet metal operations. Students learn various processes, including shearing, sawing, press brake, turret punch press, laser cutting, and mechanical finishing. Earning this certification will open a door to many different opportunities since you are able to demonstrate your competence to many potential employers.

Career path

The path to becoming a sheet metal mechanic starts by earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. Successful sheet metal mechanics can advance into leadership roles such as foreman, lead mechanic, shop superintendent, or shop supervisor.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 47-2211

2020 Employment135,400
Projected Employment in 2030140,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 4% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift4,800 increase

According to the trade publication Industry Week, one major trend impacting the aviation industry in the years to come is the continual advancements in aviation technology. Specifically, the conversions to new, more efficient electronics systems in aircraft will mean sheet metal mechanics will have to stay educated on the latest technological improvements.

Another trend in the aviation and aerospace industry is the need for new aircraft. Whether it’s mature markets looking to replace aging airplanes or companies seeking more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, many companies are looking to replace their fleets. That could mean an increase in job opportunities on the design and manufacturing side, rather than an increase in opportunities for repair and maintenance professionals.

Sample interview questions

  • Why do you want to work at this company?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • What skills do you possess that helps you excel in this position?
  • Describe your work ethic.
  • What sheet metal equipment are you experienced with?
  • Tell me about the recent projects that you have worked on.
  • What is the most challenging project you have worked on as a sheet metal mechanic?
  • Tell me something interesting about you that isn’t on your resume. How will that bring value to our company?
  • How well do you work under pressure?
  • What is the most difficult aspect of being a metal mechanic?
  • What type of training would help you better succeed in your role?
  • Walk me through a time you had taken charge of a project where you had to manage time effectively.
  • What is one of your biggest accomplishments?
  • How experienced are you with reading and creating blueprints and schematic drawings?
  • How did you become interested in becoming a sheet metal mechanic?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Do you have any problems with working overtime?

Sheet Metal Mechanic Jobs in Ashburn

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