Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings.

Work Environment: Roofing work can be physically demanding because it involves heavy lifting, as well as climbing, bending, and kneeling, frequently in very hot weather. Roofers may work overtime in order to finish a particular job, especially during busier summer months.

How to Become One: Although most roofers learn on the job, some may enter the occupation through an apprenticeship program. There are no specific education requirements for roofers.

Salary: The median annual wage for roofers is $42,100.

Job Outlook: Employment of roofers is projected to grow 2 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations. In addition, openings are projected to arise from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of roofers with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a roofer with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Roofer Jobs

  • Commercial Roofer - Dynamic National - Provo, UT

    As a Commercial Roofer , you will primarily execute all service calls, warranty repairs and lead generation service requests at Dynamic National. The ideal candidate must have commercial roofing ...

  • Roofer Construction - $32 - $36 - Xemplar Tradesmen Recruiting - Marina, CA

    Job sites are located all over Monterey County Benefits for the Roofer / Construction Worker position Include: * Starting Wage: $32.00 - $36.00 an hour DOE with an annual bonus * Schedule: Monday ...

  • Roofer- TRAVEL POSITION - Simon Roofing - Kansas City, MO

    Commercial Roofer - TRAVEL POSITION TOP Of the Industry PAY-RATES, great benefits & lots of work! We are looking skilled and experienced flat-slope roofers , who are hard-working, and dedicated to ...

See all Roofer jobs

What Roofers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings, using a variety of materials, including shingles, bitumen, and metal.

Duties of Roofers

Roofers typically do the following:

  • Inspect problem roofs to determine the best way to repair them
  • Measure roofs to calculate the quantities of materials needed
  • Replace damaged or rotting joists or plywood
  • Install vapor barriers or layers of insulation
  • Install ventilation systems
  • Install shingles, asphalt, metal, or other materials to make the roof weatherproof
  • Align roofing materials with edges of the roof
  • Cut roofing materials to fit around walls or vents
  • Cover exposed nail or screw heads with roofing cement or caulk to prevent leakage

Properly installed roofs keep water from leaking into buildings and damaging the interior, equipment, or furnishings. There are two basic types of roofs: low-slope roofs and steep-slope roofs.

Low-slope roofs rise less than 3 inches per horizontal foot and are installed in layers. Most commercial, industrial, and apartment buildings have low-slope roofs, making them the most common roofing type. The complexity of low-slope roof installations varies with the type of building. When installing low-slope roofs, roofers typically install a single-ply membrane of a waterproof rubber or thermoplastic compound.

Steep-slope roofs rise more than 3 inches per horizontal foot and are typically covered with asphalt shingles, which often cost less than other materials. Most single-family homes have roofs with asphalt shingles. Although less common, roofers can also lay tile, solar shingles, metal shingles, or shakes (rough wooden shingles) on steep-slope roofs.

Roofing systems may also incorporate plants and landscape materials. A vegetative roof, for example, is typically a waterproof low-slope roof covered by a root barrier and harboring soil, plants, and landscaping materials.

It is becoming increasingly popular to take advantage of solar energy on rooftops. Roofs may incorporate solar reflective systems, which prevent the absorption of energy; solar thermal systems, which absorb energy to heat water; and solar photovoltaic systems, which convert sunlight into electricity. Roofers install some photovoltaic products, such as solar shingles and solar tiles, but solar photovoltaic (PV) installers typically install PV panels. Plumbers and heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics also may install solar thermal systems.

Roofers use a variety of tools when working on roofs, depending on the type of roof being installed. They may use roofing shovels and pry bars to remove old roofing systems. They may use hammers, nail guns, drills, knives, pavers, tape measures, chalk lines, and framing squares to install new roofing systems.

Work Environment for Roofers[About this section] [To Top]

Roofers hold about 161,600 jobs. The largest employers of roofers are as follows:

Roofing contractors 73%
Self-employed workers 19%
Construction of buildings 3%

Roofing work is physically demanding because it involves climbing, bending, kneeling, and heavy lifting. Roofers work outdoors in extreme temperatures, but they usually do not work during inclement weather.

Although some roofers work alone, many work as part of a crew.

Injuries and Illnesses for Roofers

Roofers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, as well as one of the highest rates of occupational fatalities.

Workers may slip or fall from scaffolds, ladders, or roofs. They may also be burned by hot bitumen. Roofs can become extremely hot during the summer, causing heat-related illnesses. Roofers must wear proper safety equipment to reduce the risk of injuries.

Roofer Work Schedules

Most roofers work full time. In northern states, roofing work may be limited during the winter months. During the busy summer months, roofers may work overtime to complete jobs.

How to Become a Roofer[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Roofers near you!

Although most roofers learn on the job, some may enter the occupation through an apprenticeship program. There are no specific education requirements for roofers.

Education for Roofers

There are no specific education requirements for roofers.

Roofer Training

Most on-the-job training programs consist of instruction in which experienced workers teach new workers how to use roofing tools, equipment, machines, and materials. Trainees begin with tasks such as carrying equipment and material and erecting scaffolds and hoists. Within 2 or 3 months, they are taught to measure, cut, and fit roofing materials. Later they are shown how to lay asphalt or fiberglass shingles. Because some roofing materials, such as solar tiles, are used infrequently, it can take several years to gain experience on all types of roofing. As training progresses, new workers are able to learn more complex roofing techniques.

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 classroom instruction.

Important Qualities for Roofers

Balance. Roofers should have excellent balance to avoid falling, because the work is often done on steep slopes at significant heights.

Manual dexterity. Roofers need to be precise when installing roofing materials and handling roofing tools, in order to prevent damage to the roof and building.

Physical stamina. Roofers must have the endurance to perform strenuous duties throughout the day. They may spend hours on their feet, bending and stooping—often in hot temperatures.

Physical strength. Roofers often lift and carry heavy materials. Some roofers, for example, must carry bundles of shingles that weigh 60 pounds or more.

Unafraid of heights. Roofers must not fear working far above the ground, because the work is often done at significant heights.

Roofer Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for roofers is $42,100. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,540, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,920.

The median annual wages for roofers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Roofing contractors $42,320
Construction of buildings $39,160

Like many construction workers, most roofers work full time. In northern states, roofing work is limited during the winter months. During the summer, roofers may work overtime to complete jobs quickly, especially before rainfall.

Job Outlook for Roofers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of roofers is projected to grow 2 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations. Replacement and repair of roofs, as well as the installation of new roofs, will create demand for roofers.

Roofs deteriorate more quickly than most other parts of buildings, and as a result, they need to be replaced or repaired more often. Demand for roofers will be driven by the need to repair and replace roofs on existing buildings. In addition to replacement and repair work, the need to install roofs on new buildings is expected to result in job growth. Some demand for roofers may come from the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on building rooftops.

Job Prospects for Roofers

Despite slow growth, about 14,700 openings for roofers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations (especially in other construction trades) or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Jobs for roofers are generally easier to find during spring and summer.

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. Still, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of new construction falls, and shortages of workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.

Employment projections data for Roofers, 2019-29
Occupational Title Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29
Percent Numeric
Roofers 161,600 165,400 2 3,800

A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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