Roughly 25% of the construction workforce is over the age of 55. With these professionals heading for retirement over the next few years, there’s a strong need for more skilled workers to enter the workforce.
If you’re interested in a job that blends outdoor work, technical skills, and job stability, why not consider a career in roofing?
Whether you’re looking to start a new career or shift gears within the construction industry, this guide will show you how to become a roofer. From learning the necessary skills to landing your first job, read on and explore one of the most rewarding careers in construction.
Understanding the Role of a Roofer
After the framers finish, roofers, the backbone of every construction project, enter the scene. Most roofers specialize in either residential or commercial roofing. While they share fundamental roofing skills, their areas of expertise and the scale of their projects, distinguish each within the roofing industry.
Residential roofers primarily work on homes and apartments. They deal with a variety of materials used for residential structures, such as asphalt shingles, tiles, or metal roofing.
Commercial roofers specialize in larger commercial and industrial structures. They typically install and repair roofs on office buildings, warehouses, and shopping centers. These roofers work with heavy-duty materials, such as modified bitumen, TPO, or EPDM roofing systems.
How to Become a Roofer By Going to School
There are several paths to becoming a roofer. One of them is through formal education and training.
First up, consider vocational schools, where structured programs offer in-depth learning on roofing materials, installation techniques, and safety protocols. These hands-on environments can provide a solid foundation for developing practical roofing skills.
Another excellent option is an apprenticeship. When you enter an apprenticeship, you pair up with experienced roofers. This type of on-the-job training, allows you to learn, first-hand, the nuances of the trade.
Maybe you prefer a more self-directed learning experience. Online courses and certifications offer that kind of flexibility. If you choose this route, make sure courses provide comprehensive modules specializing in roofing, not just general construction.
Mastering the Art of Roofing
Achieving success in roofing demands a multifaceted skill set beyond the basics. Vocational training is a great beginning, but it takes time to master the essential skills.
Here’s an overview of what a good roofer should know:
Roofers work with diverse materials. From asphalt shingles to metal roofing to TPO, each material has unique properties and installation requirements.
Perfecting installation techniques is at the core of roofing excellence. Nail down the techniques for laying shingles, securing tiles, and applying various roofing systems.
Roofing isn’t just about following a set process. Roofers often face challenges that require problem-solving abilities. They must know how to troubleshoot issues like leak repair, wear and tear, or structural concerns associated with an aging roof.
The ability to think on your feet is a valuable asset in this field.
All roofers must follow industry-standard safety protocols. There are protocols for nearly everything, including the proper use of tools, equipment, and personal protective gear (PPP). Safety isn’t just a personal preference, OSHA and other regulatory authorities require compliance.
Finally, clear and concise communication is key on the job site. If you develop effective communication skills, you can work well with your crew members, your general contractor, and your clients.
More About Apprenticeships
Securing a roofing apprenticeship is a pivotal milestone on your career path. Since most roofing contractors don’t advertise apprenticeships directly, you’ll need to do your own research.
Start by contacting a general contractor to see if they’re interested in working with you. Another way to find apprenticeships is to network within the roofing industry. That could mean attending events or it could simply mean networking with friends you already know who work in roofing.
Work on your resume. Even if you don’t have roofing experience, a compelling resume should showcase the skills mentioned earlier, especially problem-solving and communication skills. When you send your resume to roofing companies, make sure you include a personalized cover letter.
If you’ve worked on construction projects, you should create a portfolio. In the portfolio, include photos and descriptions of the projects you’ve completed.
During interviews, emphasize your eagerness to learn, work ethic, and commitment to safety standards.
Consider exploring union apprenticeships. They often offer structured programs and certification paths.
Understanding Licensing and Certifications
To solidify your standing as a skilled roofer, consider essential certifications and licenses. Begin by researching the specific requirements in your region.
Common certifications include those from organizations like the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). Most roofing material manufacturers offer training programs and certifications.
You may not need to pass exams at the beginning of your roofing career. General contractors, on the other hand, need to follow local licensing regulations. Those often involve passing exams and meeting experience criteria.
How to Land Your First Job in the Roofing Industry
Although we’ve discussed finding an apprenticeship, securing your first job as a roofer requires a little more work. First, it’s not only about your skillset, you need a strategic approach to landing that first job.
Work on your resume again. Make sure it’s a list of skills and a narrative of your hands-on accomplishments.
Prepare for interviews. Create talking points that highlight times you’ve put your problem-solving skills to work in past jobs. Talk about ways you’ve used innovation to meet challenges. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the construction field or fast food, bring your skills together to show that you’ll be an asset to any roofing contractor.
Tailor your job search by becoming involved in local roofing networks, attending industry-specific events, and leveraging digital platforms like LinkedIn for targeted outreach.
Excited About Working in the Roofing Industry?
Knowing how to become a roofer is the first step. Remember that continuous learning and hands-on experience are your greatest allies.
If you’re ready to take the next step, consider working with Eagle Rivet. We service clients all over New England, New York, and Florida. It’s possible you’ll find your first job on one of our crews.
If you need a roof installation, repairs, or help with maintenance, contact us today. We stand behind a portfolio of diverse projects and satisfied clients.