Roofer Jobs, Careers, Apprenticeships

Roofer Jobs, Careers, Apprenticeships

Career Snapshot

People interested in a career in roofing need physical strength, an indifference to heights, skill and the ability to endure all weather conditions. Roofer careers include assessing roof damage and determining the most effective ways to fix it, replacing worn materials such as plywood and installing insulation layers as well as shingles or other materials to ensure the roof is watertight. Roofer careers also include cutting and aligning roofing materials to fit angles formed by vents or walls and covering screw heads to prevent leakage.

Some job titles include:  Commercial Roofer, Industrial Roofer, Metal Roofing Mechanic, Residential Roofer, Roof Mechanic, Roof Service Technician, Roofer, Roofing Foreman, Roofing Technician, Sheet Metal Roofer

Job Details

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
  • Remove existing roof systems
  • Install vapor barriers or layers of insulation
  • Install roof ventilation
  • 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


Education and Experience

Roofers typically receive on-the-job training to become competent in the occupation. In most on-the-job training programs, experienced roofers teach new workers how to use roofing tools, equipment, machines, and materials.  Roofers may obtain specific certification to qualify for additional work opportunities or greater pay.  Contractor associations often sponsor apprenticeship programs for roofers. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with technical instruction, usually requiring a predetermined number of hours for both.



National Roofing Contractors Association - NRCA University provides essential training opportunities for you and your employees that address leadership development, roof technology, safety and much more.

United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers - Apprentices learn their craft by training on the job under proper supervision and by studying technical subjects related to the roofing trade at the training center/apprenticeship school.


Career Outlook

  • Annual pay: The median annual wage for roofers was $42,100 in May 2019
  • Employment of roofers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028
  • Entry-level education: There are no specific education requirements for roofers. Although most learn on the job, some roofers enter the occupation through an apprenticeship.


Career Growth Opportunity

After gaining experience in the occupation, roofers may have opportunities to advance to become a supervisor, job superintendent, or estimator or to start their own business. Roofers working in a union may advance within their local union to become a business manager or apprenticeship instructor or to other positions of union leadership.


Professional Associations

National Roofing Contractors Association - The NRCA’s vision is the recognition of their members as professionals and to unite the industry to that purpose.

Roofing Alliance - This organization’s objectives are to conduct research and educational projects that support high-quality programs for roofing contractors; ensure timely and forward-thinking industry responses to major economic and technological issues, and enhance the long-term viability and attractiveness of the industry to roofing workers.

United Union of Roofers - The union represents members who apply all types of roofing and waterproofing systems.  Their work places an emphasis on training, safety and cooperation with a goal to provide the safest and best-trained roofers in the industry for their member contractors.

Foundation for Trades - The goal of the Foundation for Trades organization is to help a new generation see the value of working with their hands and appreciating a job well done by hard work and talent. We offer a foundation of knowledge in the areas of building trades that will help propel an ever-diminishing workforce toward a rewarding future.

Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association - RCMA is the national trade association representing the manufacturers of asphaltic and solar reflective roof coatings and the suppliers to the roof coatings industry.  RCMA is a leading industry voice, promoting the benefits of roof coatings and providing its membership with up-to-date information on building codes and standards, technical developments, and other industry topics of interest.

Trades Women - Founded in 1979 as a grassroots support organization, the mission of Trades Women is outreach, recruitment, retention and leadership development for women in blue-collar skilled craft.

Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association - ARMA is a trade association representing North America’s asphalt roofing manufacturing companies and their raw material suppliers.

TEACH Construction - TEACH Construction focuses on creating curriculum, and the related Instructional Resources, for the teaching of basic to intermediate skills in construction.

North America’s Building Trades Union - NABTU is dedicated to the stability of employment and economic security of organized construction workers in North America. Its purpose is to create more work opportunities, achieve living wages and protect benefit standards, not just for the members of its 14 national and international union affiliates, but for all construction workers.

National Skilled Trades Network - NSTN is a National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) Accredited Training Sponsor (ATS) and seeks to support youth and young adults in under-served communities in acquiring the skills needed to become certified skilled trades workers and employable in the lucrative skilled trades industry.

The Building Trades Alliance - BTA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the building trades and to the partnership between the various building trade unions and contractors that drives progress throughout our nation.

Construction Employers Association - This organization is committed to leading, learning and making a difference in the Ohio construction industry.  Members include construction companies, specialty contractors, suppliers, and associations – all of whom are among the best in the industry.

SkillsUSA - SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Its mission is to help each student excel. A non-profit national education association, SkillsUSA serves middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service (including health) occupations.

Construction Today - This online magazine is all about best practices – in the general building, heavy construction and associated specialty trade sectors. Its readers are leaders at major contractors, engineering and design firms, equipment manufacturers, and suppliers of construction materials and building products, as well as public and private project owners and regulators.

Builder Online - Articles, research, conferences, editorials, reports and so much more on all topics relative to the skilled construction trades businesses.

AEC Business - This website is a blog and podcast forum for construction innovations. It is a great resource for construction business owners looking to up their game with strategic insights. Filled with useful how-to's and a simple writing style, it’s a must-read for construction managers wanting to stay “in the know.”

Construction Executive - Construction Executive is a magazine specifically for individuals on the upper rungs of the construction management ladder. It offers insights into the industry’s latest technology and trends, as well as helpful tips for budgeting and building.

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. - ABC's mission is the advancement of the merit shop construction philosophy, which encourages open competition and a free enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.

EPDM Roofing Association -  EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) continues to be a top choice of architects, roof consultants and contractors for both new construction and replacement roofing projects.  The EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) represents the manufacturers of EPDM single-ply roofing products and their leading suppliers.

National Association of Home Builders  - NAHB represents the largest network of craftsmen, innovators and problem solvers dedicated to building and enriching communities operating at the local, state and national levels.

National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) - This mission of this organization is to build a safe, productive and sustainable workforce of craft professionals.  Their vision is to be universally recognized by industry and government as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for construction and maintenance craft professionals.

The Associated General Contractors of America - The Associated General Contractors of America works to ensure the continued success of the commercial construction industry by advocating for federal, state and local measures that support the industry.



Professional Roofing - subscribe, online profiles, past issues, media kits

Roofing Magazine - feature articles, columns, news, projects, products

Roofing Online - free to view, back issues available

Roofers are the people who literally keep a roof over our heads. These workers install and repair the roofs of buildings to keep interiors dry and safe. Roofers take detailed measurements to calculate materials needed. They lay down layers of materials to create a lasting roof cover– starting with a vapor barrier, and the roofing material a client chooses, such as asphalt, traditional— or newer solar shingles, or long-lasting metal. Weatherproofing the seals around chimneys, vents, or other rooftop elements requires precision and spatial perception. Roofer helpers set ladders and scaffolds in place, and hoist or carry materials to roofs. They remove old roofing material, and assist roofers with roof installation and repairs. They also clean the work area and equipment. Roofing work is physically demanding. It involves heavy lifting, as well as climbing, bending, and kneeling, often in very hot weather. Roofers work outdoors in all types of weather, and need to be comfortable working high above the ground. Most roofers work full time— although only seasonally in colder climates— and may work overtime to complete jobs quickly, especially when rain is expected. Most roofers and helpers work in crews for roofing contractors. Roofers and helpers usually learn on the job, though some roofers learn their trade through an apprenticeship— typically a 3-year program of technical training and paid on the job training.