Sheet Metal Contractor (General/Commercial)

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing


License required in 28 states
14th most burdensome licensing requirements
32nd most heavily regulated occupation

(Last updated April 24, 2012)


Sheet metal workers fabricate, assemble, install and repair sheet metal products and equipment, such as ducts, control boxes, drainpipes and furnace casings. Work may involve any of the following: setting up and operating fabricating machines to cut, bend and straighten sheet metal; shaping metal over anvils, blocks or forms using a hammer; operating soldering and welding equipment to join sheet metal parts; and inspecting, assembling and smoothing seams and joints of burred surfaces.

Typically, only contractors require licenses, not sheet metal workers who work for them. Licensing requirements differ based on the scope of the work. Those with a residential license may work only on residential properties, while those with a commercial license may work on commercial properties. In some states, work on commercial properties requires a general contractor's license that is not specific to sheet metal working; the requirements are generally the same as a commercial license, and they are treated the same here.


Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia require a general contractor or commercial license for sheet metal work at commercial sites, making the occupation the 32nd most widely and onerously licensed of those studied. Twelve states require at least two years of education and training -- led by Arkansas, which requires five years. States also charge hefty fees averaging $292, led by Nevada, which charges $1,030. Other states, like Idaho, Nebraska and Iowa, only require would-be contractors to pay a minimal fee. Commercial sheet metal contractors face the 14th most burdensome licensing requirements.

(Last updated May 2, 2012)

State Licensing Requirements

Burden RankStateFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age

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