This guide will show you how to become a roofer, the necessary training and certification, the pros and cons of working in this industry, average salaries, and other information you might need to make an informed decision.
What Does A Roofer Do?
As their name suggests, roofers are construction professionals who specialize in roof installation for residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
They also inspect roofs for damages, leaks, and signs of deterioration. When necessary, they remove old roofing materials to get to the damaged area. Then, they replace or repair the sections with new material that matches the style of the existing structure.
Other common duties of a roofer include:
- Applying special coatings to roofs to protect and enhance performance
- Installing heating and ventilation equipment
- Adding roofing accessories such as piping, vents, flues, and skylights
- Cleaning gutters and downspouts
- Roofers must be able to work on roofs
- Repairing, replacing, and installing gutters and downspouts
- Using different types of fasteners that attach the roofing materials to the structure
- Assessing the output of other roofers
- Buying the right roofing materials
How To Become A Roofer
Roofing is considered an entry-level trade, so be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. To work as a roofer, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, be at least 18 years old, and pass a drug test.
Once you meet these requirements, you can complete a training course approved by the United States Department of Labor. Many trade schools offer this type of program, which typically takes around nine months to complete.
Another route you can take is joining a roofer apprenticeship. This form of training allows you to experience the job while receiving compensation for your work.
Here is a more comprehensive breakdown of how to become a roofer.
- Must be physically fit
- Valid driver’s license
- Must be at least 18 years of age*
*16 and 17 year olds can work in roofing if they are part of a learning program or valid apprenticeship.
Some states require you to have a high school diploma or GED, but many journeymen roofers today can enter the profession without one. It’s possible to bypass these requirements when you have the training, experience, and references from previous employers.
If you want a solid head start on your roofing career, you can attend a vocational school. These institutions are usually two-year programs that give students the technical skills they need to work in the roofing trade.
Internship or Apprenticeship
People who want to take up roofing as a career can seek out apprenticeships offered by construction companies, unions, and other organizations. These programs combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, and they usually take 4 to 5 years.
For example, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America offers apprenticeship opportunities to teach you how to be a roofer. They also teach subjects such as the history of carpenters, tools and equipment, blueprint reading, building codes, safety procedures, and basic math.
Roofers can earn different certifications to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. The most valuable ones include:
- Certified Master Inspector. This certification shows that you have advanced knowledge in roofing inspections.
- Master Roofer. This is a certification given to roofers who have mastered the trade through on-the-job training and at least two years of experience working with roofs.
- Certified Professional Roofing Contractor (CRPC). This certification is for independent roofing contractors with at least three years of experience as a contractor and at least one year as CRPC.
- Certified Master Installer of Metal and Shingle Roof Products. This certification indicates that the roofer has learned to install metal and shingle roof products safely.
- Certified Specialized Roofing Contractor (CSRC). This certification shows that you have demonstrated knowledge in specialized roofing construction such as steep-slope roofs, flat roofs, and built-up roofing systems.
While not a necessity, these programs can help you gain new employers, earn higher salaries, and acquire better positions.
Recommended Skills For Roofer
Learning how to become a roofer is a great start, but it is also crucial to develop the right skills and qualities that will help you excel in this profession. Some of the most important traits include:
People who want to learn should be able to communicate clearly with their crew and client. Being able to give good directions will help you get the job done well.
Roofing is a fast-paced profession, so it takes people who can handle working in high-stress environments. You’ll have tight deadlines to meet and weather conditions that could make the job more difficult. Applying your skills at solving problems can help you get it done.
Attention To Detail
Being able to identify potential issues and troubleshoot them before they get worse can save money in the long run.
Roofers need to make calls about how to deal with challenging scenarios on-the-job. These decisions could affect the outcome of a project, so having good judgment skills is essential.
Roofer Job Outlook
The BLS indicates that the job outlook will be 5% or slower than average in the next decade, but not as much as other construction occupations.
This is because fewer buildings are being built today than in recent years. If you’re considering becoming a roofer, begin learning now rather than later.
Pros & Cons Of Being A Roofer
When looking for potential careers, you should always think about the good and bad parts of each job. Some of the pros and cons of becoming a roofer include:
- Great for people who love the outdoors
- Plenty of opportunities for advancements or switching to other construction careers
- Roofing jobs are relatively plentiful
- Great for people who like to be active and work hard
- Learn a variety of skills such as problem-solving, math, blueprint reading, etc.
- Working in extreme weather conditions can damage your health if you’re not careful
- Some roofing jobs are only seasonal
- Unpredictable schedule
- Repetitive tasks can lead to boredom and burnout
How Much Do Roofers Make?
The highest-paid 10% make at least $73,210 while the lowest-paid 10% make $27,430 or less.
The amount of money you make relies heavily on your location and years of experience. So, learning how to become a roofer in New York, for example, will yield different results than learning in Texas.