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What is an Apprenticeship

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What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a form of training for a skilled trade or craft that combines classroom instruction with on-the-job experience. It involves working under the guidance and supervision of a master tradesperson or experienced professional to learn the practical skills and knowledge necessary for a particular occupation. Apprenticeships can last from one to five years, depending on the field and the program, and often lead to certification or journey-level status in the chosen trade.

A sheet metal apprenticeship is a training program for individuals interested in becoming skilled tradespeople in the field of sheet metal work. This apprenticeship involves both on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

In our program, you get to learn how to weld, measure, cut, bend, and shape sheet metal into various forms for use in construction projects such as HVAC systems, ductwork, roofing, and building facades. We are the only trade that designs and fabricates what we install from raw materials. We also teach you how to operate and maintain machinery and equipment used in sheet metal work.

Our apprenticeship typically takes three to five years to complete. Each class typically has 12-15 students. You will remain with this same class throughout the program, forming strong bonds with your fellow classmates that last a lifetime. During your time as an apprentice, you’ll receive supervised training from sheet metal experienced professionals in the field. Once you complete our program, you become a journey-level sheet metal worker and can pursue a career in this field, either as an employee of a company or as a self-employed contractor.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Who Becomes An Apprentice?

Sheet Metal Workers Come From all Walks of Life

Who Becomes an Apprentice?

Why Become A Sheet Metal Apprentice

Benefits of Working in the Sheet Metal Trade

When it comes to trades apprenticeships, there are many options to choose from. One of those options is sheet metal work. But what sets us apart from other trades?

  • Versatility: Sheet metal is used in a variety of industries and applications, including construction, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC), industrial applications, architectural metal work, and more. This means that as a sheet metal worker, you’ll have the opportunity to work on diverse projects and gain a wide range of skills including computer-aided drafting, fabrication and installation, along with vast professional growth opportunities.
  • Diverse number of occupations: The Sheet Metal Industry has multiple job opportunities in the following categories:  Commercial and Residential Sheet Metal, HVAC Service and Refrigeration, Testing, Adjusting and Balancing, and HVAC Controls.
  • Strong job outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of sheet metal workers is projected to grow 1 percent from 2021 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This indicates job stability and good opportunities for growth in the field.
  • Higher earning potential: Because of the specialized skills and knowledge required sheet metal workers are often paid more than other trades. This can help you build a financially stable future for yourself and your family.
  • Hands-on training: Sheet metal apprenticeships are designed to give you practical, hands-on experience, supplemented with related classroom instruction. You’ll learn from our experienced industry professionals and get the chance to put your skills to the test in real-world situations.


program starts

$28.35 Hourly Wage
$51,030 Annual Wage
+ Annual Benefits


over halfway

$37.81 Hourly Wage
$68,058 Annual Wage
+ Annual Benefits



$63.01 Hourly Wage
$113,418 Annual Wage
+ Annual Benefits

Why Become A Sheet Metal Apprentice?

Top Reasons to Choose a Sheet Metal Apprenticeship over College

It Pays to be a Sheet Metal Apprentice

When it comes to career options, you’ve probably heard people say to achieve success you must earn a college degree. But did you know that a sheet metal apprenticeship can offer even more advantages than traditional higher education? A sheet metal apprenticeship provides the opportunity to get paid while you learn, with raises every six months. There are no tuition or out-of-pocket expenses involved. On-the-job training and mentorship are integral parts of the apprenticeship, and you can even earn college credits toward an AAS Degree. Moreover, the apprenticeship offers medical and retirement benefits.  When you complete our five-year program, you will graduate without any debt and have earned a six-figure income. Once you complete your apprenticeship, a world of possibilities for professional growth opens up. You can pursue a career as a journey-level worker, foreman, project manager, or even venture into starting your own company. The opportunities in this field are truly endless.

How do I become an Apprentice?

It's Easy

Applicants must be 18 years old and physically capable of performing the demanding manual labor required by our trade.  Work experience is not required.  To join our program, you’ll simply upload your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and high school transcripts or GED on our website. Then, complete our online application. With the exception of Residential apprenticeship, passing a math and reading assessment test is required in order to be accepted into our program. If you meet the minimum qualifications, we’ll reach out to schedule an interview. Your test scores and interview performance will determine your placement on our ranked eligibility list. We evaluate acceptance into our program based on your rank, geographic availability, and timely response. Once accepted, all applicants must pass a pre-employment drug test.

Learn about the details of our apprenticeship program here.

How do I become an Apprentice?

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Cory Caulfield

5th Year Apprentice

“I pursued a college education in automotive and industrial technology. However, I decided to shift gears and venture into a career in the union sheet metal trade because of the higher pay and better benefits.  With the prospect of a higher income, I can provide for my family and give my kids an even brighter future.”

Phil Howard

Phil started his journey in sheet metal while working in a nonunion business in 1998. Working with his uncle, he learned to install metal roofs. This experience of forming and installation was something he found he enjoyed at an early age. This led him to seek a career in the sheet metal industry where he worked for 12 years as an architectural sheet metal foreman for John Lupo Construction. In 2012, Phil joined the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 66 and was accepted into the Western Washington JATC apprenticeship program, graduating as a journey-level worker in 2015. From 2012 until 2023, Phil worked for Delta Tech as a commercial HVAC fabrication foreman. He joined the staff at WWSM JATC in the summer of 2023.

One of Phil’s most memorable projects in his career was the Transit-Community Center in Shelton, WA. The project was extremely challenging due to the numerous siding panels and roof panels. The entire job was full of a multitude of angles. Phil’s expertise in instruction includes both HVAC and Architectural fabrication and installation.

Darryl DeFilippo

Darryl was born in 1975 in Seattle and was raised in Bothell, Washington. His early education consisted of a combination of private schools as well as homeschooling.

Darryl began his career in the sheet metal industry as a material handler/driver for a nonunion company in 1998.  As he became more acquainted with the industry, he realized he felt at home on job sites as well as the type of work that is done. He decided to apply for the Sheet Metal Worker Union Local 66 apprenticeship and started in 2000 as a building trades apprentice.  He received his journey card in 2004. After completing the apprenticeship, he worked for the special projects department at McKinstry and was there until 2012.   It was then he applied for and received entry into the service apprenticeship at Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC in DuPont.  He turned out in 2017 and began working in service, maintenance, and repair at TCMS.

Darryl has more than 23 years of experience in the mechanical industry, working with companies like Airflow Mechanical, McKinstry, TCMS, and MacDonald-Miller. He has a wide range of skills, from installing duct and mechanical systems to leading design build projects and overseeing projects as a foreman. In July 2023, Darryl joined the team at WWSM JATC as a full-time instructor.

The TransAlta Steam Plant project is Darryl’s most memorable of his career. On a scorching hot day, with temperatures reaching 103 degrees, he was tasked with replacing a compressor on a 12.5-ton AAON unit while the second circuit was still operational. This unit played a crucial role in keeping a relay room online, preventing a complete shutdown of the massive 1,340 MW plant. The room had sensors that would trigger at 97 degrees, and the unit managed to maintain a temperature of 95 on one circuit. Despite the intense conditions, Darryl persevered and successfully completed the challenging task. He found it gratifying to know that he was capable of handling such a demanding job.

Areas of instruction, expertise and certification include Building Trades journey-level worker, Service Tech journey-level worker, 06A – Electrical license, First aid/CPR card, Certified Rigger/Signalperson, Forklift/Scissor lift/boom lift certified.

In his free time, Darryl enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys.  He plays guitar, is starting to restore an old 1970 Ford pickup, and enjoys going to the local racetrack.

Rachelle Lynch

Rachelle joined Hermanson in 1991 to assist with administrative and payroll tasks at the Boeing 777 site. Over time, she developed friendships with colleagues and gained a deeper understanding of the trade. Inspired by her years of experience in shop classes focusing on wood, metal, and auto shop, Rachelle decided to apply for the apprenticeship program at Clover Park College in 1994. She successfully completed the program ahead of schedule in January 1999 and was assigned to a foreman/detailing swing shift position for Seattle Children’s Hospital project.

During her apprenticeship, Hermanson supported Rachelle by covering the costs of her engineering/AutoCad computer courses (through grade reimbursement), which she had started before joining the union. In the final year of her apprenticeship, she was chosen to participate in the University of Washington Project Manager Beta program, sparking her interest in the engineering/detailing aspect of the field. Rachelle continued to enhance her skills by attending foreman and detailing classes through the union, as well as pursuing additional continuing education opportunities. She obtained all the necessary certifications at that time, including some SMACNA courses. Throughout her apprenticeship, Rachelle remained exclusively with Hermanson, as employer rotation was not yet implemented.

Rachelle has gained valuable work experience at several companies, including Hermanson, CDI & Wood Harbinger Engineering, UMC, and Holiday Parks. In addition, Rachelle volunteered as a Stem Mentor for IHS.  She has primarily worked as a detailer/foreman, handling various tasks ranging from shop fabrication to field installation. Her responsibilities have included, fitting input/ticketing, welding, detailing, managing projects, and assisting with design and engineering, using software for 3d modeling like Cad and Revit.  In 2022, Rachelle switched gears and began her career as an instructor at Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC.

Two of Rachelle’s most memorable projects in her career were with Microsoft and Paul Allen’s home. She served as the foreman for a 10-man crew, overseeing the detailing and installation. Both projects were located in fantastic places and were enjoyable to work on. As a bonus, she also met her future husband during this time. Rachelle found it fascinating to witness the behind-the-scenes process of constructing homes for the affluent, including the various impressive room designs. Additionally, she was amazed by the collection of cars housed in Allen’s expansive multiple-car garage.

 During her free time, Rachelle enjoys spending time with her kids at their baseball games and tournaments.   She also enjoys movies, target practice/shooting, camping/fishing, going to theme parks, traveling, river rafting, music concerts, baking and welding.

Jason Gilbreath


Tommy Mumma Jr

SMART Heroes Instructor

Tommy’s father, being a union sheet metal worker, led him in the direction of the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 66. Following a term in the United States Air Force, he became an apprentice through the Helmets to Hardhats program. Tommy spent his apprenticeship working in the Puget Sound area, soaking up as much knowledge of the trade as he could.  He earned his journey card from Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC in 2016.

After years of working in the trade, an opportunity was presented to him to not only support his fellow veterans seeking a transition into the civilian workforce, but to give back to the union that has made it possible for him to comfortably support himself over the years. In 2021, Tommy received the position of SMART Heroes Instructor for the WWSM JATC in Dupont, WA.

Most of Tommy’s career has been with Hermanson Company as a journey-level sheet metal worker installing ductwork on major projects. The most memorable project in Tommy’s career was the F5 Tower in Seattle. Attached to one of the oldest churches in the city, the project had a lot of unique characteristics that made it challenging in a good way.

Tommy’s areas of expertise in instruction include duct layout and installation, industrial sheet metal, welding, and Building Information Modeling.

In Tommy’s spare time he enjoys working on and restoring cars, participating in offroad motorsports, and creating and playing music.

Michael Kirk

Michael enlisted in the USAF as an HVAC service apprentice in 2010 and achieved journey-level worker status in 2013. After completing his term, Michael continued working as a service technician until joining the Sheet Metal Workers Local 66 in 2015 as a TAB apprentice. He served his entire apprenticeship at MacDonald-Miller, beginning in tenant improvements and new construction, eventually moving into the healthcare TAB group. He achieved journey-level worker status in 2020 and continued working in the healthcare TAB.  In 2021, Michael accepted a full-time HVAC instructor position with Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC.

Kevin A. Nations


Kevin worked as a timber faller until he turned 25. However, due to changes that occurred in the industry due to the spotted owl controversy, Kevin was compelled to undergo retraining. Since his older brother was already an apprentice in sheet metal work, Kevin decided to pursue the same trade.

In 1984, Kevin graduated from Hoquiam High School. He then obtained an associate degree in sheet metal technology from Bates Technical College in 1992. That same year, he commenced his apprenticeship at Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC and successfully completed the program in 1996.

Throughout the initial three years of his apprenticeship, Kevin was employed by Capital Sheet Metal. Following that, he spent 23 years working as an industrial sheet metal worker for Miller’s Smith and Losli, and an additional four years at Sunset Air. In 2019, he began his career as an instructor at Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC.

One of the most notable projects Kevin undertook during his career was the construction of a stainless-steel spiral staircase.

Kevin’s expertise in instruction includes welding, layout, fabrication, and installation of HVAC and industrial sheet metal.

During his free time, Kevin enjoys activities such as golfing, working on hot rods, spending time in the woods, and being with his family and friends.

David A. Scott

David began his career in Sheet Metal at Thrifty Supply in Everett, Washington. After several years there, he transitioned to working for different non-union shops, specializing in light commercial and residential projects. However, he eventually felt it was time to pursue an opportunity at a union shop. From 1994 to 2014, David worked for Eckstrom Industries, Inc. as a shop and field fabricator. During his time at Eckstrom, he was accepted into the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC apprenticeship in 1995 and became a journey-level worker in 2001.

In 2015, David joined Hermanson Company and spent five years working in the shop, out in the field, and even served as a Project Manager for their Specialty Metals Department. Then, in 2020, he became part of the teaching staff at Western Washington Sheet Metal.

One of David’s most memorable projects was Two Union Square in Seattle. The challenging nature and diverse range of work made it an unforgettable experience.

David’s educational background includes Marysville Pilchuck High School and Everett Community College, the Western Washington Sheet Metal apprenticeship program, and multiple continuing education classes through the sheet metal training center.

Areas of instruction expertise include kitchen work, industrial work, and architectural work.

In his spare time, David enjoys attending concerts, collecting and restoring old cars, and spending quality time with his family.

Dar Seymour

Administrative Assistant

Dar has extensive experience as an administrative assistant in various industries, including gaming, medical, non-profit office management, and trades such as electrical apprenticeship and drywall/framing/painting. Having had a positive experience working with an apprenticeship before, Dar was thrilled when the opportunity to join the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC team came up in 2019. Additionally, Dar is a Notary Public.

In her free time, Dar enjoys spending quality time with her family, attending live music events, engaging in beadwork, and indulging in (not-so-great) Reality TV shows.

Angela Chavez

Bookkeeper/Administrative Assistant

Angela joined the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC in 2017 after transferring from the SM JATC in Las Vegas, where she had been employed since 2008. Her introduction to the sheet metal industry came through a friend who worked at the JATC and recommended it as a promising career path.

Before joining the JATC, Angela had worked at Circus Circus Hotel and Barker Health Care. She holds an associate degree in business management.

In her free time, Angela finds joy in activities such as kayaking, biking, and yoga.

Allison Ostenberg (Camper)

Training Coordinator

Allison began working as the Training Coordinator for the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC in 2020, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field of construction technology.

While working as a Material Handler for McKinstry in 2008, Allison joined the Sheet Metal Workers Local 66. Later that year, Allison enrolled in the Sheet Metal apprenticeship program and served her entire apprenticeship working for McKinstry.  She achieved journey-level status in 2013. Having a passion for construction technology, Allison was promoted to the RTS Superintendent for McKinstry, managing the Robotic Total Station, 3D Scanners, GPS units and concrete scanners for the Seattle, Portland, Spokane, and Tr-Cities offices.

Eric Peterson

Administrative Coordinator

Eric has had diverse work experience, starting as an apprentice at Superior Air Handling and Delta Technologies. After becoming a journey-level worker, he took on the role of foreman at Superior Air Handling. In 1998, he joined Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC as the Assistant Coordinator, eventually being promoted to Administrative Coordinator in 2002.One of Eric’s most memorable projects was the Everett Navy Pier. This project involved installing large, heavy gauge stainless steel fittings and louvers on the waterfront, which was quite unusual. The unique location and challenging work made it a truly enjoyable project for him.

In terms of education, Eric graduated from Edmonds High School in 1983, followed by Shoreline Community College in 1986, and Central Washington University in 1988. He then registered as an apprentice in 1990 and successfully completed the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC apprenticeship in 1995.

Outside of work, Eric enjoys fishing, hunting, playing golf, and spending time with his family.

Jeff Reinhardt

Executive Administrator

Jeff became interested in the trades when he met a trade school recruiter who was on the campus for career day. The recruiter came to Jeff’s electronics class and talked to him and his fellow classmates about becoming an HVAC/R service technician. Jeff thought the trade was a good combination of electrical and mechanical so after high school, he decided to enroll at the Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, AZ.

While attending UTI in 1995, Jeff started his sheet metal career in 1996 at Olympia Sheet Metal.  He was accepted into the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC’s HVAC Service Technician apprenticeship the same year. Jeff completed his apprenticeship in 2000.

Jeff started his apprenticeship at Olympia Sheet Metal and finished it at Emerald Aire. While at Emerald Aire he worked his way from apprentice to journey-level worker, foreman and then superintendent. In 2010 Jeff joined Hermanson and helped them build their mechanical service department. Jeff became an instructor at Western Washington Sheet Metal in 2016 and two years later was promoted to Executive Administrator.

The most memorable project in Jeff’s career was the Bank of America Check Processing Center.  It included a control upgrade and retrofitting multiple floors of a critical environment from a pneumatic control system to a DDC system. Another favorite project was the Krispy Kreme on Maui because it was in Hawaii!

In Jeff’s spare time, he enjoys participating in offroad sports with his family.

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