Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 J.A.T.C.
1181 Adams St., Dorchester, MA 02124

Becoming an Apprentice


What is a sheet metal worker?

Sheet metal workers are part of the buildings and construction trade. When working in our union shops they layout, fabricate and assemble sheet metal products. Field work consists of installation of sheet metal products in buildings and on construction projects.

The sheet metal trade is unique due to the fact that it is one of the few crafts that start with raw materials, creates a product, installs and maintains the product.

When working in a shop, sheet metal workers determine the quantity and type of material that is needed to correspond with blueprints and specifications of the job.

Utilizing a combination of mathematics, layout tools, hammers, drills, hacksaws, plasma and laser beam cutting systems, computers, cutting, forming, seaming or welding machines, workers craft the metal into the desired product.

The fabricated parts are shipped to the jobsite to be installed according to blueprints and coordinated by sheet metal workers.

The maintenance sector includes preventive maintenance, repair, testing and balancing of installed HVAC systems.

Items commonly fabricated and installed include HVAC systems, metal roofs, kitchen hoods and equipment, various flashings, gutters decorative architectural features.

Sheet metal workers constantly meet new challenges, using their hands, visualizing and analyzing how components can be installed or made, how mechanical systems work, it’s an interesting and evolving field with exciting growth potential.

The apprenticeship program is an “earn while you learn” program involving paid full time work and related classes.


Our apprenticeship program is jointly sponsored by Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 17 and Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Association of Boston.

As an employee and union member the program affords excellent medical, dental and optical coverage as well as annuity and pension plans.


The term of apprenticeship is five years consisting of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training per year with 200 hours of classroom instruction, which the apprentices attend school 40 hours/week for five weeks throughout the school year, starting in September. Classes are held Monday thru Friday from 6:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.

Outline of Apprentice Training

First Year

O.S.H.A. (30hr) safety, basic sheet metal layout, drafting, basic math and the proper use of the calculator and its functions, soldering, proper use of sheet metal tools and machinery, certificate in C.P.R. & First Aid plus training of A.E.D. (automatic external defibrillator).

Second Year

Advanced math which covers; algebra, trigonometry and problem solving with the use of a calculator, trade materials, blueprint reading, drafting, pattern development, sheet metal fabrication, field measurement and welding.

Third Year

Drafting, reading plans and specifications, oxy-fuel and SMAW (stick) welding, basic welding, AUTO CAD, basic architectural sheet metal, plasma machine, field measurement & installation.

Fourth Year

H.V.A.C. system design and controls/TAB, GMAW (MIG & TIG GTAW) welding, CAD (computer aided drafting), drafting/sketching, layout, fabrication of heavy metals and architectural.

Fifth Year

Welding, estimating, (includes the principles involved in estimating a duct system, ie., cost of labor, fringes, material, overhead, transportation and profit) architectural sheet metal and advanced Auto CAD (computer aided drafting), T.A.B. (testing adjusting and balancing and Foreman Training.

Application Instructions

All applications must be filled out in person at the Sheet Metal Workers’ Training Center.

Applications are accepted on Thursdays, from 9 am to 2 pm.

Application are accepted yearly. Applications completed by March 31st will be considered for the class to start in August.

The following are steps to be followed to complete the process:

  1. Contact your High School and ask that a copy of your High School transcripts and confirmation of your graduation be forwarded to the above address. If you have a G.E.D, an official copy with scores is required.
  2. Forward three letters of recommendation to this office as soon as possible. Please no family members.
  3. Provide a copy of your Social Security card, a valid Driver’s License and upon hire you will be required to provide a copy of your Birth Certificate.
  4. Please provide your DD-214 (Military Discharge) if applicable.

These steps should be completed within thirty (30) days of filing your application. Subsequently, you will be notified to appear for an orientation. You will be scheduled for an oral interview shortly thereafter. Upon completion of the above steps, you are eligible for an apprenticeship for two (2) years. If you have not been selected, you will be required to fill out a new application and obtain three new recommendation letters.

Failure to comply with the above instructions will automatically disqualify your application.

It is your responsibility to contact this office for any address changes.