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Roofer Career Guide

Overall, the roofing industry is easy to enter and offers many exciting opportunities to work for large or small business, or for yourself. There are no formal educational requirements to becoming a roofer. Roofers complete apprenticeships, and therefore gather all the skills and experience they need on the job. In order to progress and advance, roofers may complete additional certifications.

Roofer Career Ratings

Income

Career
Growth

Personal Growth

Contribution

Influence

Overview

What a roofer actually does

A roofer repairs, replaces and installs roofs on residential homes or commercial buildings. They may also repair roofs. For example, if there is a leak they will work to replace broken tiles or seal areas to make them watertight. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:

  • Building roofs using various materials, such as metal, aluminum, wood, shingles, tiles, slate, or steel
  • Smoothening finished roof surfaces and filling in edges with cement
  • Ensuring all projects are completed within a timeline
  • Inspecting damages to roofs and estimating the costs of repair
  • Repairing or replacing broken materials
  • Ensuring the roof is suitable for all weather conditions (e.g, rain or snow)
  • Using hand tools and other equipment (e.g. scaffold, ladder)
  • Setting up vapor barriers, vents, insulation and solar energy systems
  • Restock roofing materials, such as clay and cement

Why they are needed

Roofers are essential because they have the unique skills to help us build the places we use for work, rest and play. Without a roof, a building is not suitable for use. Due to the growing population, there is a growing demand for homes, work places and schools and all these building have roofs (yes, really!). Roofers contribute to this by transporting and loading/unloading roofing materials, laying new roofing materials, inspecting roofs for damage, clean roofs, installing solar panels and installing insulation materials under roofs. Roofers also help with the maintenance and repairing of roofs, which is essential to keeping our homes safe and liveable.

Pros and cons of a career as a roofer:

Pros:

    • There are lots of opportunities within the construction industry. For example, roofers can become self-employed, work in different sized organizations or progress to more senior and specialist roles with more responsibilities
    • Like many building trades, roofing offers a friendly and cohesive working environment
    • There is often high job satisfaction for roofers, as they produce high quality and aesthetically pleasing buildings. Furthermore, roofers get to work outside and do practical work, which increases job satisfaction
    • It is an easy career to access as roofers only need a high school diploma

Cons:

  • It can be a hazardous career as roofs are often high up and roofers use various hand and power tools, which can cause serious damage. However, health and safety regulations mean that there are many guidelines surrounding safe work
  • Roofers can work long hours, especially to meet a deadline or when bad weather conditions are predicted
  • Roofers have to work in all kinds of weather conditions, such as the freezing cold, heavy rain, extreme heat or high winds

Employability

Job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of roofers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is slower than the average for all occupations. This growth is expected as replacement and repair of roofs, as well as the installation of new roofs, will create demand for roofers. Similarly, roofs deteriorate more quickly than most other parts of buildings, and therefore need to be replaced or repaired more often.

Demand for roofers is less vulnerable to downturns than demand for other construction workers, because much roofing work consists of repair and reroofing, in addition to new construction. However, workers may still experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of new construction falls. Jobs for roofers are generally easier to find during spring and summer.

Furthermore, the slower increase in jobs that average is expected because aspiring roofers will take the jobs of those who transfer to different occupations (especially in other construction trades) or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Career paths

There are no formal educational requirements for roofers. Roofers tend to receive on-the-job training, which teaches them all the skills they need to become competent in the occupation. During this on-the-job training, aspiring roofers are taught by more experienced roofers on how to use roofing tools, equipment, machines, and materials. Aspiring roofers typically begin with tasks such as carrying equipment and material and erecting scaffolds and hoists. They then go onto to learn to measure, cut and fit roofing material and at a later date, they learn how to lay asphalt or fiberglass shingles.

A few groups, including the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers and some contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs for roofers. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with technical instruction, usually requiring a predetermined number of hours for both. Although roofers do not need a specific certification, they may choose to take one to have additional workplace opportunities. The National Roofing Contractors Association offers various certification for experienced roofers. Experienced roofers may become certified in various roofing systems, such as thermoplastic systems or asphalt shingles. Certification as a roofing foreman is also available for experienced roofers.

Furthermore, most employers require that roofers complete safety certification that meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, either before or after being hired.

Example Job Titles for Roofer

Below is a list of common job titles in the Roofer field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for roofers was $42,100 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,540, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,920. The top paying industries were roofing contractors, where the median annual salary was $42,320 and construction of buildings, where the average annual salary was $39,160.

It is important to note that although roofers work full time, their hours and thus their earning may vary by season. For example, in winter roofers may earn less due to cold and wet weather and less daylight hours. Whereas in the summer, roofers may work overtime. 

The starting pay for apprentices is usually 50 percent of what journey workers receive. Apprentices get pay increases as they advance through the apprenticeship program.

Autonomy and Flexibility

The level of autonomy and flexibility for a roofer will vary depending on the amount of experience they have. For instance, a roofer with 10 years experience will have more control over their decisions than an apprentice. Similarly, a self-employed/contractor roofer is likely to have more flexibility than those who work for a large company. However, the downside to this is that they will be responsible for forming and managing relationships with builders and suppliers to ensure materials are available at affordable prices and that ongoing work is available.

Locations and commute

According to Zippia, the best state to be a roofer, based on salary and number of job positions were:

  1. North Dakota, where the average annual salary was $41,681
  2. Idaho, where the average annual salary was $42,240
  3. Vermont, where the average annual salary was $46,542
  4. New York, where the average annual salary was $47,812
  5. Maine, where the average annual salary was $54,397

The worst states, according to Zippia, were Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas.

Work environment

73% of roofers in the United states were employed by roofing contractors. 19% were self-employed and 3% where hired for construction of building companies.

Roofers tend to work as part of a team, typically with other roofers and occasionally other construction workers. The work is physically demanding and may require them to work outside in unforgiving weather conditions.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in Roofer careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and Roofer career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in Roofer.

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

  • None

Big Five (OCEAN)

  • None

DiSC

  • None

Enneagram

  • None

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

  • None

Personality types

There has been no scientific exploration into exactly what personality types will make a successful roofer. However, the Myers Briggs personality type of ISTP, or otherwise known as ‘the craftsperson’, is likely to be a successful roofer. This is because these types are able to tackle problems in their immediate environment, with an innate mechanical ability and they enjoy building and fixing objects. ISTPs are typically very attentive to detail, independent, adaptable and self-directed, which are key skills for roofer.

Accomplishment and mastery

As roofers can learn advanced skills in a relatively short space of time, there is high skill accomplishment and mastery. After gaining experience in the occupation, roofers may then have opportunities to advance to become a supervisor, job superintendent, or estimator or to start their own business. This increases the amount of accomplishment and mastery.

Meaning and contribution

As roofers have a unique set of skills that help them to aid society by building safe roofs, there is a lot of meaning and contribution in their work. On top of this, roofers will also help people finish their dream residential homes or keep on top of the maintenance. This will have a huge impact on the lives of their clients, which is very meaningful.

Life fit

Roofers tend to work full time hours. This provides a good life fit, as roofers will have evenings and weekends free to spend with their family and friends. However, due to weather conditions, such as extreme rain, roofers may sometimes have to work longer hours in order to get roofs watertight in time.

Who will thrive in this career?

One of the most important things a roofer can be is physically fit and strong. A key part of their work requires them to stand, climb and lift heavy materials with precession and accuracy. Those who can work well as part of a team and communicate will with others are likely to thrive as roofers, as the work is often team focused and involves communicating with other construction workers and clients. Finally, the ability to pay attention to detail and work well under pressure will help you to thrive as a roofer. This is because roofers will need to follow specific planning and deadline instructions.

Who will struggle in this career?

Similarly to what is mentioned above, you are are likely to struggle with working as a roofer if you are physically unfit. If you don’t particularly enjoy working outside, especially in extreme and unpredictable weather conditions, you might struggle being a roofer. Finally, if you prefer to work alone or do less practical work, then you may struggle as a roofer due to the team environment and the hands-on nature of the work.

Requirements

Skills and talents

Aspiring roofers learn all the skills they need on the job. However, it is also important to have skills such as:

  • Physical fitness and stamina, as roofers will spend a lot of their working day climbing roofs, lifting heavy materials and kneeling
  • Mathematical skills, because roofers need to do calculate the roof space and, based on this, the time it will take and the amount of materials needed
  • Communication skills are key as roofers need to be able to communicate with clients and other construction workers
  • Dexterity, as roofers need to be able to carefully and accurately place roofing tiles and other materials
  • Detail orientation, as roofers must be very precise in their work and ensure they finish their work to the highest of standards
  • Critical thinking, as roofers must be able to problem-solve when issues arise in a project. This may be when roofs become faulty and roofers must figure out how to fix them, or when a project overruns.

Education

There are no formal educational requirements for roofers. Roofers tend to receive on-the-job training, which teaches them all the skills they need to become competent in the occupation. During this on-the-job training, aspiring roofers are taught by more experienced roofers on how to use roofing tools, equipment, machines, and materials. Aspiring roofers typically begin with tasks such as carrying equipment and material and erecting scaffolds and hoists. They then go onto to learn to measure, cut and fit roofing material and at a later date, they learn how to lay asphalt or fiberglass shingles.

A few groups, including the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers and some contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs for roofers. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with technical instruction, usually requiring a predetermined number of hours for both.

Certifications

Roofers do not need a specific certification. However, they may choose to take one to have additional workplace opportunities. The National Roofing Contractors Association offers various certification for experienced roofers. Experienced roofers may become certified in various roofing systems, such as thermoplastic systems or asphalt shingles. Certification as a roofing foreman is also available for experienced roofers.

Furthermore, most employers require that roofers complete safety certification that meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, either before or after being hired.

How to Become

Summary

Overall, the roofing industry is easy to enter and offers many exciting opportunities to work for large or small business, or for yourself.

Immediate action

Although not a necessity, roofers may have better employment opportunities if they have construction experience. Based on this, if you want to become a roofer, we recommend looking for some local construction labor/worker work.

Education and learning

There are no formal educational requirements to becoming a roofer. Roofers complete apprenticeships, and therefore gather all the skills and experience they need on the job. In order to progress and advance, roofers may complete additional certifications.

Skill development

Roofers will learn all their skills through their formal, technical and practical training. They will also continue to develop their skills throughout their career, which allows them to progress to more advanced positions (e.g., management, contractor).

FAQs

Ask a Question

Have a question about Roofer careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

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