5 Steps To Becoming a Roofer
If you're interested in working in a physical job where you perform labor to build structures that keep homes and other buildings secure, you may consider a position as a roofer. Just like with other positions, becoming a roofer takes experience and a willingness to learn while on the job. To succeed in this career, it's important to know what an employer is looking for and what skills you'll need to be a viable candidate.
In this article, we describe what a roofer is and what responsibilities those in this position have, share steps to becoming a roofer and provide details on the national average salary for this role.
What is a roofer?
A roofer is a trade professional who installs, repairs and maintains the roofs of different structures, from single-family homes to office complexes. They may specialize in one kind of roof over the other and work with a variety of roofing materials such as metal, shingles, slate, tile, terracotta and asphalt. Roofers commonly work in all types of weather, from high heat to light rain, and must be comfortable working this physically demanding job from high heights to complete a roofing project.
Related: 12 High-Paying Trade Jobs
What does a roofer do?
Here are some tasks that roofers are responsible for:
Installing roofing on different structures
Inspecting roofs and determining what fix is necessary to help the roof continue to protect a home from the elements
Replacing roofing that's old or damaged by removing old roofing and laying down new material
Taking measurements of the roof on a structure to determine how much of each material is needed
Weatherproofing all seals to ensure rain, snow and other elements remain out of the home
Producing cost estimates of material and labor for customers and clients
Writing warranty paperwork and reviewing with customers
Adhering to safety standards and wearing safety equipment to remain protected while working
Performing regular maintenance on roofs
Scheduling the roofing job with other laborers and customers and clients
Supervising other roofers
Purchasing roofing materials
Working overtime or longer hours to complete a job on schedule
Keeping the work area clean and safe for everyone who comes on the job site
How to become a roofer
To become a roofer, you typically don't need any formal education and often get experience while on the job. Consider these steps if you want to pursue a career as a roofer:
1. Earn a high school diploma or equivalent
Many employers that hire roofers require at least a high school diploma or equivalent, like a GED. It's important to earn a high school diploma because it's likely that your peers applying for the same position have at least a high school equivalent too. You also learn a lot of fundamental skills in school that are appealing to employers, like basic math and reading. The courses you take while in high school can help prepare you for a career post-graduation, as a roofer or otherwise.
2. Attend a trade school
Attending a trade school may not be a necessity if you want to become a roofer, but completing some additional schooling can help you stand out from others applying for a position. While there may not be many trade schools specifically to help build a career in roofing, you can consider completing additional education in construction management or a related field.
3. Sign up for an apprenticeship
An apprenticeship is a program that prepares you for your chosen career field. If you want to become a roofer, explore the different apprenticeships available to you so you can learn more about the field and receive on-the-job training that will expand your knowledge and experience of the industry. During an apprenticeship, you'll work with a more experienced roofer to learn more about the trade and make a salary while doing so.
4. Complete training
Most companies that employ roofers value experience over education. With the right experience in roofing, a manager may be more open to hiring you as a roofer with their company. It's important to know how to be a good roofer and the best ways to stay safe while working from varying heights. Employers in the industry value having roofers on the team who will work to keep themselves and their team safe, and will complete the work on time and correctly to fulfill the requirements of the project.
5. Obtain licensure
Each state may have variations in what's required to have a license as a roofer, so it's important to check with your state to see what you need to get licensed to work as a roofer. Typically, you should have a certain number of hours of on-the-job training and experience and pass an exam with your state's licensing board. While an employer may not require that you have a roofing license, doing so can help you secure a position in the field.
The national average salary for roofers in the United States is $45,892 per year, however, this can vary depending on your years of experience and the city and state where you live. For instance, roofers in Chicago, Illinois, report making an average of $64,297 per year, while those in Knoxville, Tennessee, make an average of $42,315 per year.
Along with an annual salary, roofers report receiving these common benefits from their employer:
Health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance
Paid time off
401(k) with matching
Professional development assistance
Cell phone reimbursement
Access to a referral program
Roofer skills to develop
Explore this list of skills you may consider developing if you want to work as a roofer:
Flexibility: Many roofing professionals complete their projects during non-traditional hours, including early mornings, weekends and holidays, so the project continues to follow the predetermined schedule. It's important to be flexible so you can work longer hours if needed to complete the project before inclement weather affects your work.
Focus: Attention to detail and focus are necessary skills because you'll need to follow safety standards, purchase the correct materials for the job and supervise other roofers.
Cautiousness: Roofing can be a dangerous job if you aren't careful, so possessing some cautiousness can ensure that you keep yourself and others you work with safe while on a roof.
Computer: Some basic computer knowledge is helpful, so you can process invoices, bill customers and clients and communicate with others about the roofing project.
Communication: As a roofer, you'll be responsible for communicating with clients and customers and other roofing professionals, all to ensure that your team completes the job as needed. It's important that you be able to communicate verbally and in written form and actively listen to others.
Time management: Because many roofing professionals have to complete their project in a given timeframe, it's necessary that you be able to manage your time well. This skill will help you provide accurate time estimates to customers and keep your projects on schedule.
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