Sheet Metal Institute


Understanding the Union Sheet Metal Worker Apprenticeship Program

We offer two STATE-REGISTERED apprenticeship programs

  • Sheet Metal Worker: Fabricate and install architectural sheet metal, industrial ductwork, HVAC systems and other custom products. They work in shops, on construction sites and in factories and plants. Communication and coordination with other trades is essential. Much of the work is performed outdoors and is accessed using scaffolding, ladders and aerial work platforms.
  • Service Systems Technician (HVAC-R with Limited Energy Technician Class B license): Perform maintenance on HVAC equipment such as package units, split systems, VRF, chillers and air movers. This includes cleaning coils, inspecting for electrical deficiencies, verifying proper operations of all systems, inspecting all mechanical devices including bearings and dampers. Complete repairs on equipment such as replacing motors, bearings, compressors and electrical circuitry. Perform new equipment installation including controls, refrigerant piping, gas piping, filter systems. Some aspects of the trade will include energy management work, such as building management controls, HVAC controls, and building schedules.

“On-the-Job Training” (OJT) = “Earn While You Learn”

Apprentices work full-time and attend class part-time.

Our apprentices get high-quality on-the-job training while working under a journeyperson’s supervision and receive hands-on classroom and lab/shop instruction from experienced sheet metal workers.

Not all “apprenticeships” are alike. Our programs are registered with the state. Programs not registered with the state may, or may not, include journeyperson supervision and instruction. They may, or may not, include classroom and lab/shop instruction. “State-registered apprenticeship programs require a minimum of 144 classroom hours and lab/shop training per year plus 4,000 to 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.” – Multnomah County website

Our five-year programs entail more than 8000 OJT hours and 1000 hours of hands-on classroom and lab/shop instruction.

Apprentices start at 50% of journey rate. As of July 1st, 2020, the journeyperson gross taxable hourly wage for Area 1 is $43.55 per hour. Apprentices receive incremental raises every six months. Annually, those raises amount to 20%, 17%, 14%, 13%, and 11% when you become a journeyperson.

All apprentices and journeypersons receive full-family health care, in addition to their hourly wage.

All apprentices and journeypersons receive pension and other benefits, in addition to their hourly wage.

Our apprentices and journeypersons work for approximately 70 employers in Oregon and SW Washington.

“Most construction projects require compliance with BOLI rules for payment of prevailing wage rates.” – Multnomah County website


Education (Instruction)

Topics of instruction include:

  • HVAC (installation and theory)
  • HVAC Service
  • Brazing
  • Welding (SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, OAW, PAC, CAC, OAC) and Welding Symbols
  • Architectural Sheet Metal
  • Industrial Sheet Metal
  • Testing and Balancing
  • Detailing (3D CAD)
  • Blueprints and Construction Specifications

Our typical class size is 12 students, ensuring support for all participants.


Our apprentices are members of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) – Local 16.


SMART has training centers in all 50 states and Canada. There is a standard CORE curriculum that is molded to fit each geographic industry need.

Apprentices graduate with a Certification of Completion from the state Oregon and a journey card that is recognized by every SMART local in North America.

Our apprentices also receive college credits for their hours spent in the classroom and can earn their Associates of Applied Science degree from Mt. Hood Community College by taking 15 additional credits.

Veterans with GI benefits may use them in this program.