Trade schools in the United States do not typically offer online programs specifically in roofing; however, many of these skills are included in an online construction management program. When choosing which school to attend, it is important to consider factors like forms of apprenticeship and program type.
How to Select an Online Roofing Trade School
In almost all cases, roofers either learn their trade from other workers or through three-year apprenticeship programs connected with schools or unions. Apprenticeships for roofers can be found at community colleges throughout the nation. These programs often partner with local roofer's unions to provide a combination of onsite and classroom education.
Route to Learning
There are few or no online training programs for roofers, with the vast majority of educational opportunities coming from hands-on apprenticeships. There are, however, online programs available for construction management that deal with theoretical aspects of roofing and other elements of building. Programs do not generally prepare students without a background in construction to begin working in the field, but they can offer additional depth of knowledge in planning and supervision to those already familiar with hands-on techniques. Students who wish to pursue roofing in particular or learn practical techniques must usually learn by means of an apprenticeship without online components.
School-Based Vs. Union-Based Apprenticeships
Like many construction professions, roofing is primarily learned through hands-on experience as an apprentice. Students generally initiate these apprenticeships through a school with a roofing program or directly with a local roofers' union. In many instances, unions will arrange coursework for students to complete as part of their apprenticeship; conversely, many school-based programs will work with local unions to coordinate apprenticeships. Students looking to work with a union should look up local builders' associations or the local chapter of United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers.
List of Construction Programs
These programs are not available online, requiring as much as 5,500 hours of on-the-job training. Some programs include approximately 144 hours of in-classroom training, depending upon the school. Most apprenticeships are paid, with some unions giving incremental raises in line with the completion of coursework or other milestones. Participants in apprenticeships learn about:
- Modified bitumens
- Math and blueprints
- Installing shingles, metal, and other roofing materials
- Steep roofing
- Single ply
Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that those seeking to enter the field of construction management need a minimum of a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Bachelor's programs in construction management are rare and offered predominantly by for-profit institutions. Online programs deliver instruction through e-mail, streaming video, and online discussion. Courses cover:
- Commercial construction methods
- Building codes
- Cost estimating and analysis
- Project management
Master of Science in Construction Management
Master's degrees are commonly available online for construction managers. These programs require roughly 30 credits and are commonly delivered wholly or partially online in order to accommodate working construction professionals. Courses are generally delivered with a simple combination of e-mail, online forums, and Internet chat tools. Online programs cover topics in:
- Research methods
- Decision making tools
- Lean construction
- Natural hazard resistance
- Dispute resolution
Trade Schools with Online Construction Management Programs
Indiana State University has an online Bachelor of Science in Construction Management degree, offering a comprehensive education in many aspects of construction along with management skills. A internship course is part of the program, allowing students to gain real world work experience to prepare them for future careers.
The online construction management master's degree as Louisiana State University teaches many core skills valuable in the industry, boasting a near 100% of students with continuous employment after graduation from their engineering programs. Taught by many skilled instructors, this program emphasizes critical leadership skills usual in construction, as well as practical skills related to things like project deliver, sustainability, and more.
While online roofing programs are not usually offered, online construction management programs are available that teach key concepts and skills needed by roofers. Students should consider their desired level of study, along with a program's in-person requirements and course topics when choosing where to study.