When you consider a house, one of the most critical components is the roof—it protects us from the elements, insulates our homes, and ultimately contributes to our comfort and safety. The professionals behind these indispensable structures are Roofers. But what does a Roofer do, and how do you become one? Let’s explore this career path in depth, from the qualifications, training required, earning potential, job outlook, to the benefits and drawbacks of this profession.
What is a Roofer?
A Roofer is a skilled tradesperson who specializes in roof construction. They inspect, repair, and install roofs on residential homes, commercial buildings, or other structures using a variety of materials, including shingles, bitumen, and metal. Their work can be physically demanding as it often involves heavy lifting, climbing, bending, and kneeling, frequently in extreme weather conditions.
Steps to Become a Roofer
Generally, a high school diploma or equivalent is required to start a career as a Roofer. Courses in mechanical drawing, algebra, physics, and general shop could be beneficial as they provide some of the skills needed in the profession.
Most Roofers learn their trade on the job through apprenticeships. An apprenticeship program usually lasts 3 years, including at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of related technical instruction each year. Apprentices learn roofing and construction basics, safety practices, and blueprint reading, among other things.
While not always mandatory, certifications can offer Roofers a competitive edge. Various manufacturers of roofing materials have training programs leading to certification in the installation of their products. Additionally, The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) provides multiple certification programs, enhancing credibility and demonstrating the commitment to professional standards.
How much do Roofers make an Hour?
The median annual hourly wage for Roofers is around $22.65 or $47,110 annually according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $66,700.
The employment of Roofers is projected to grow 1 percent from 2021 to 2031, much slower than the average for all occupations.However, replacement and repair of roofs, as well as the installation of new roofs, will continue to create demand for highly skilled Roofers. Remember, though, that the number could be significantly influenced by the state of the economy. A thriving economy means more construction, which drives demand for skilled Roofers.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Roofer
There are many reasons why you might consider becoming a Roofer. Here are some benefits:
- Constant Demand: Buildings always need maintenance, and this includes roofs. This constant demand can offer a level of job security.
- Outdoors Work: For those who love being outside and working with their hands, roofing can be an excellent fit.
- Physical Fitness: Roofing is a physically demanding job. If you like being active, this career could keep you in good shape.
- Career Progression: Many Roofers can move into positions such as roofing project manager, estimator, or even start their own roofing business.
On the flip side, there are also drawbacks:
- Physically Demanding: The job can be tough on the body, leading to wear and tear over the years.
- Dangerous: Roofers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Falling from roofs is a risk, as is potential injury from tools or materials.
- Seasonal Work: The job can be seasonal in many parts of the country, with limited work during rainy or snowy seasons.
- Weather Conditions: Roofers often have to work in extreme heat or cold and long hours during the busy summer season.
A career as a Roofer can be both challenging and rewarding. It’s not for everyone—prospective Roofers must be prepared for the physical demands and safety risks. However, for those who enjoy practical, outdoor work and have a strong work ethic, it can offer an excellent career path. With construction and home renovation markets growing, now could be a great time to consider a career as a roofer.