How to Become a Roofer:
The Definitive Guide


If you are afraid of heights, then you better not keep scrolling.

Those who aren’t afraid to climb should be excited to work as a Roofer, however, if you’re not, this career isn’t for you.

Having a career as a Roofer means that you will build roofs of houses and other buildings in neighborhoods and cities.

Roofers have a hard and intricate job to complete, and sometimes that requires a bit of education and planning.


What is a Roofer?

In order to become a Roofer, you should have some type of education about construction.

This can come through working as a Roofer and gaining hands-on experience, or earning a degree in construction.

Both of these paths are great if you want to become a Roofer because this career requires math and physics knowledge, as well as an understanding of power tools and construction.

There are two types of roofs that you may need to learn how to construct as a Roofer, sloped and flat.

Having the necessary credentials for both roof types could be extremely helpful in this career.

Duties

Working as a Roofer means that you’ll need to climb up high and attach shingles or other materials to the tops of homes and buildings.

Some of the daily duties of a Roofer include:

  • Removing and repairing shingles
  • Measuring and cutting materials
  • Moving materials up and down 
  • Laying roof shingles
  • Cutting and fitting
  • Sealing joints and other issues
  • Leadwork, which is a specialized career
  • Thatching, which is also specialized

Salary

Having a career as a Roofer can be lucrative, with most Roofers making around $45,000 a year in the United States.

Of course, those who are just beginning their careers as a Roofer can expect to make closer to $26,000.

With years of experience and education, a Roofer can make close to $70,000 in some states.

Roofers with credentials like certifications and specializations will likely have higher salaries than those without.

Those working in larger populations and big cities will likely make more money as well.

For example, Roofers in California make over $52,000 a year, while Roofers in Idaho make closer to $35,000 annually.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $45,820

$26K
$33K
$45K
$55K
$70K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$35,440
Alaska$60,510
Arizona$36,290
Arkansas$33,590
California$52,980
Colorado$44,460
Connecticut$60,850
Delaware$42,930
District of Columbia$50,160
Florida$37,140
Georgia$36,940
Hawaii$64,590
Idaho$36,650
Illinois$60,490
Indiana$43,550
Iowa$43,420
Kansas$42,280
Kentucky$43,010
Louisiana$37,370
Maine$38,740
Maryland$50,880
Massachusetts$57,640
Michigan$45,920
Minnesota$56,680
Mississippi$32,900
Missouri$51,040
Montana$41,390
Nebraska$34,290
Nevada$42,810
New Hampshire$39,990
New Jersey$63,450
New Mexico$33,830
New York$67,250
North Carolina$36,670
North Dakota$47,480
Ohio$42,340
Oklahoma$36,790
Oregon$45,200
Pennsylvania$49,850
Rhode Island$53,920
South Carolina$38,510
South Dakota$31,360
Tennessee$34,930
Texas$35,670
Utah$42,590
Vermont$38,310
Virginia$47,150
Washington$59,540
West Virginia$36,770
Wisconsin$47,210
Wyoming$40,030
Puerto Rico$26,800

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $67,250.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $67,250
Hawaii - $64,590
New Jersey - $63,450
Connecticut - $60,850
Alaska - $60,510
*Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Roofer

Step 1Enter a Program

There are a couple of different ways that you can enter the construction field, especially as a Roofer.

First, you can become an apprentice to a senior Foreman on a construction crew.

During an apprenticeship, you will learn hands-on how to work on a roof, and you will also be required to take classes.

Most apprenticeships are paid, so that means you’ll make money while going to school.

An apprenticeship can take anywhere from one to four years to complete.

If you choose to enter into an Associate’s degree program, you should expect it to take around two years.

An Associate’s degree program will have the same types of classes as an apprenticeship, however, there won’t be one-on-one time with a Foreman.

Through an Associates degree program, you will likely take classes that include:

  • Roof Safety
  • Support and Standards
  • Design and Specifications
  • Tendering and Procurement
  • Project Management
  • Conservation and Sustainability

Step 2Gain Experience

If you have already gone through an apprenticeship, skip this step, because that’s what you’ve been doing this whole time.

Now, for Roofers who have just finished an Associate’s degree program, you may have gotten the chance to work an internship or work on a project.

This can count toward experience, but to gain more, you’ll need to get hired at a construction company.

There are many construction companies that work with programs to allow students to work through internships.

This gives experience, but often doesn’t result in pay, it can work toward school credit at times.

Step 3Become Certified

You don’t have to become certified in order to work as a Roofer in the United States, but many employers and clients will appreciate the extra effort.

This is because the certification can show both customers and future construction managers that you know what you are doing in the field, and will do the job the correct way.

In order to become certified, each state has its own requirements.

It’s important to make sure that you follow your state’s laws when it comes to certification, but most states will require:

  • At least four years of education, whether on the job or in the classroom
  • Passing an exam
  • Background check
  • A credit score of over 660
  • Roofing liability insurance
  • Pay the $150-$250 fee

This may seem like a lot, but roofing is a dangerous job that requires a lot of codes and standards.

Many states require that construction companies gain licensure to work on roofs, and individuals in that company will then be certified as well.

Check your state’s requirements before starting any roofing construction.

Step 4Further Your Career

Once you become a skilled Roofer with several years of experience, you can think about gaining promotions or starting your own roofing business in order to further your career.

Roofers who stick with construction companies can become a Foreman or a Journeyman on a construction crew.

It’s also possible to become a Project Manager, where you will be tasked with creating and implementing all roofing projects.

Others choose to go out on their own and start a business roofing for themselves.

If this is something you would like to do, there are many laws and regulations that must be done beforehand.

Each state is different, so you will need to contact your local licensing board for more information.


Education

To become a successful Roofer, you will either need to gain some sort of further education, such as an Associate’s degree or begin an apprenticeship with a roofing construction company.

There are Associate’s degree programs available around the United States, some are available at community colleges, and others can be found at specific trade schools.

These should take around two years to finish, and require classroom time, labs, and often an internship or other experience credit.

Associates degrees in Construction Management or another construction subject will work just fine for this career.

The types of classes that you should expect to take in these types of areas include:

  • Commercial construction methods
  • Building codes
  • Research methods
  • Decision making

Once you gain an Associate’s degree, you will be able to earn a Bachelor’s degree in many cases.

A Bachelor’s degree can take another two years to complete and can be found at many universities across the United States.

Along with the typical information you’ll learn in an Associates degree program, a Bachelors degree will offer information in areas like:

  • Lean construction
  • Project management
  • Dispute resolution
  • Natural hazard resistance
  • Contracts

Oftentimes, Roofers will enter an apprenticeship right out of high school in order to gain hands-on construction experience.

An apprenticeship program will allow new Roofers to work with experienced construction workers to learn the tricks of the trade.

Most apprenticeships do pay their workers, and you will also be required to sit in on some classroom time as well.

Most apprenticeship programs teach Roofers about:

  • Modified bitumens
  • Math
  • Blueprint creation
  • Installing shingles, metal, and other types of roofing
  • Working on steep roofing
  • Working with power and hand tools
  • Safety and structure on a construction site

Unlike an Associate’s or any other type of degree, an apprenticeship cannot be done online.

If you do choose to earn a degree online, make sure you are still getting the proper experience through in-person work as well.

Most employers won’t hire people who have a degree but no experience in the field.

Video About The Career


Certification and Licensing

If you are interested in becoming a Roofer, then you should consider looking into your state’s requirements to become certified.

Some states require only construction companies to be certified, and other states require that individual Roofers obtain certification.

Both individual and company licensing and certification will likely require roofing insurance as well.

Insurance is important because accidents can happen on the job site, especially so high above the ground.

Most insurance companies require that a project costs between $10,000 or $50,000, depending on if you are an individual or working with a construction company before you can obtain insurance.

Some states, like Georgia, require certification and insurance when a project costs more than $2,500.

There are even some states, like Michigan and Minnesota, where you will need to take an exam in order to become a certified Roofer.

This is only required for construction companies, but the owner must pay the $120 fee and pass the exam.

A background check, tax information, and much more information is required in order to sit for this exam.

The Roofer License exam consists of about 100 questions, depending on where you take the test.

Most of the topics covered on this exam include:

  • Business law
  • Maintenance and alteration
  • Residential/Builder trades

Even if you live in a state that doesn’t require licensure or certification, it should be something that is on your mind.

Another path to take for Roofers is to gain the Roof Inspection Certification from the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association.

This will allow you to certify that roofs are safe and that all tools and repairs are properly maintained.

In order to become a member of the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association, you’ll need to pay the membership fee, which can be anywhere from $200 to $5,000.

Average Training Program Duration: 3-4 Years

Any certification programs that a Roofer can enroll in will take about 6 weeks to finish.

Most certification programs can be done online or in person, however, those that are online may require in-person experience as well.

Some certifications only require Roofers to take an exam in order to become certified.

These types of certifications can take about two years to gain because you need to have hands-on experience and knowledge to apply for most of them.

Popular Degree Programs


Job Outlook

If you are looking to start a career as a Roofer, you may want to know that over the next ten years, this career will only grow about two percent.

That’s not a lot compared to other careers, however, Roofers are becoming necessary across the United States more every day.

This is due to the increase in population, as well as technological advancements that allow for easier construction.

Even though construction may be easier, that could call for fewer job opportunities for Roofers.

Roofers who have an education will likely find higher career outlooks in the future, due to the necessity to understand computers, math, and technology for this career.

Employment Growth Projection: 2%

161,600
2018
165,400
2028

That's a higher than average projected growth of 3,800 jobs.

Roofer: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Roofer?

Overall Satisfaction: Low

Overall Satisfaction

It seems that roofing isn’t the most satisfactory job out there today.

Roofers were ranked in the bottom six percent of best construction jobs in the United States.

Those with certifications, degrees, and other credentials will often find more satisfaction in their career as a Roofer.

When you are just beginning your career, it may be tough, but sticking it out could create a wonderful life-long career.

If you enjoy using your hands and working up high, then you may find this career is perfect for you.

Average Salary: Medium

Average Salary

Expect to make about $45,000 on average in the United States as a Roofer.

Having credentials such as a certificate or an Associate’s degree can provide higher salaries.

Those who just started their career as a roofer will likely make closer to $26,000 a year.

However, after several years of experience, it’s possible to make up to $80,000 annually as a Roofer.

The job of a Roofer can be a great start in the construction business or a lifelong career.

Job Growth Outlook: Low

Job Growth Outlook

Over the next decade, this career will see an increase of around 2 percent.

This is much less than many other career fields, but still a good percent in the construction field.

Those who are looking to work as a Roofer should expect to find more job opportunities in larger cities or with industrial construction.

With advancements in technology and tools for construction, many Roofers are required to earn some type of education, which can increase job outlook for those with certificates or degrees.

Education Duration: 3-4 Years

Education Duration

Some Roofers can get a job right out of high school with no experience, but that is very rare nowadays.

Most of the time, if you want to become a Roofer, you can either work an apprenticeship or earn an Associates degree.

An apprenticeship can take anywhere from 1-4 years, depending on the depth of education you want.

An Associate’s degree can take about two years to complete, and will likely offer hands-on experience as well.

If you want to become a Roofer, you should expect to spend anywhere from 1 to 4 years in school.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

In order to be a great Roofer, you will need to have some construction skills and an understanding of math and measurements.

Some of the other traits that work great for a Roofer include:

  • Be physically fit
  • Have mental and physical stamina
  • Ability to work at great heights
  • Knowledge of blueprints and technical plans
  • Manual dexterity
  • Ability to work alone and with a team
  • Time management skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Attention to detail

Roofers often work in hot weather and sometimes in the rain or snow, so being aware of surroundings and adapting is a great skill to have as a Roofer.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the average salary of a Roofer?

If you are just starting your career as a Roofer, you should expect a salary of $26,000 a year to start.

With a couple of years of experience, many Roofers can expect to make more, about $46,000 a year in some areas.

Those who have many years of experience and have certifications in the field can expect to make close to $80,000 annually.

Working in areas with large populations or that have higher socio-economic statuses can provide higher wages as well.

Q. How long does it take to become a Roofer?

It can take no time at all to become a Roofer.

In fact, most Roofers join an apprenticeship program right out of high school in order to gain hands-on experience.

An apprenticeship program takes anywhere from 1-4 years to complete.

There are some Roofers that decide they want to gain a degree, so they enroll in an Associates degree program.

This type of degree can take two years to finish.

Q. What does a Roofer do?

The name says it all, a Roofer is someone who fixes, maintains, and installs roofs on homes and buildings.

These brave men and women spend their time above ground, so having a fear of heights won’t do you well in this career.

You can find Roofers placing shingles, repairing holes, fixing gutters, and many other tasks on top of roofs.

Q. What is the demand for Roofers?

Roofing will grow around two percent over the next ten years, which is not very high compared to other career fields.

The construction field will grow throughout the next decade, but will likely be slower than in years past.

Also, the increase in technological advancements has made it easier for computers to do jobs for humans, which can lead to fewer career openings.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Roofer?

Typically, if you enter into an apprenticeship, you won’t have to pay anything at all to become a Roofer.

In fact, most construction companies pay apprentices while they go to school.

If you decide you want to earn an Associate’s degree, that can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 in the United States, depending on the school.

Having a career as a Roofer doesn’t have to break the bank.


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