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Professional Roofer: Employment Info & Career Requirements

A roofer is a craftsperson who fixes and replaces roofs on homes and other structures, ensuring that they're safe and secure from inclement weather. Leaky roofs can cause damage to furnishings, walls and ceilings, making roofers an important part of the construction industry.

Career Definition of a Professional Roofer

Roofers specialize in the construction and weather proofing of roofs on homes and other buildings. Roofers are responsible for installing the frame of a roof, which includes the beams, rafters and trusses. After installing the frame, the roof can be covered with wood, aluminum, slate or asphalt and shingles. A roof is finished after a roofer sprays the top, sidings and walls with materials to seal, bind and insulate the roof and protect it from inclement weather.

Education 3-year apprenticeship including classroom and hands-on learning
Job Skills Carpentry abilities, good balance and physical fitness
Average Salary (2015)* $40,630
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 13% increase in employment opportunities

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roofers gain their education through 3-year apprentice programs, which are provided by local roofers' unions. Prospective roofers are required to complete at least 144 hours a year in classroom training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. While in the classroom, students will learn about tools, safety and construction. They will also work on job sites under the tutelage of more experience roofers.

Skills Required

It is essential that roofers are not scared of heights and have terrific balance, as well as good carpentry skills. Because of the physical labor involved in roofing, it's important to be in great physical condition. Any experience with metal-working can prove beneficial in helping prospective roofers install metal roofing and will give a competitive advantage over the competition.

Career and Economic Outlook for Roofing

The BLS reports that career opportunities for roofers are expected to increase 13% between 2014-2024, because of the rate in which roofs deteriorate and need to be replaced or fixed. In May 2015, the average yearly wage for roofers was $40,630, according to BLS figures.

Alternate Career Options

Other careers to consider that are similar to roofing include:

Carpenter

High school graduates can learn their carpentry skills through apprenticeship programs or while on the job. Carpenters build and repair structures like door frames, rafters and stairways, in addition to installing cupboards, drywall and siding. The BLS projected an average employment growth of 6% for these professionals from 2014-2024 and reported an annual median salary of $42,090 in 2015.

Construction Laborer and Helper

Usually learning their skills on the job, construction laborers fulfill a wide variety of tasks on construction sites, while helpers often work alongside and assist specific types of craftspeople, learning the skills of carpenters or electricians, for example. The median annual wage in 2015, according to the BLS, was $30,890, overall, with the construction laborers earning the top salaries. A faster-than-average job growth of 13% was forecast from 2014-2024, per the BLS.

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