Careers in Roofing: How to Be a Roofer

Some people see roofing as a satisfying career. Being a roofer means you get to help homeowners solve stressful problems that they can’t solve on their own, mostly around roofing details. Working as a roofer means you get to enjoy working outdoors instead of sitting in a cubicle and staring at the screen all day.

Being a roofer has its benefits. Sure, it’s a tough job, but it can be rewarding for those who see it as an opportunity for skill development and growth. 

Are you interested in being a roofer? How about becoming a licensed roofing contractor? In this article, we’ll give you all the necessary information you need on how to become a roofer and how to be a licensed roofing contractor.

What Is a Roofer?

The term roofer is a general term for someone who works on the roofs. A roofer is technically a skilled laborer who mainly deals with the roof itself, while a roofing contractor is an expert in roofing and has a license officiated by the state. Roofers work on small-scale jobs like maintenance and repairs; roofing contractors deal with large-scale projects such as full roof replacements and massive scale roof damages.

This article will use the terms roofer and roofing contractor hand-in-hand because of their stark similarities.

Roofer Do

What Does a Roofer Do?

A roofer’s job is to repair, replace, and install roofs for residential or commercial establishments. They usually work with materials such as roofing cement, asphalt shingles, bitumen, tiles, and slates. Roofing is a physically-intensive job that involves the roofer climbing up and down the roof while working on heavy roofing tools such as roofing shovels, not to mention handling roofing materials.

The job also involves kneeling and bending, so a roofer must be physically fit. The roofers must have the stamina to handle all the roofing materials and tools while being capable of performing some forms with their bodies. Roofers also typically install PV panels and other integrations to roofing systems such as

Roofers are also multi-taskers. Aside from working on the roof, they must know properly use said tools, equipment, and materials. They must be detail-oriented and can communicate effectively with other roofers in their team.

Responsibilities

Below is a list of some of a roofer’s responsibilities.

  • Build, repair, install and maintain roofing systems
  • Remove old roofing systems and replace them with new roofing systems
  • Inspect different types of roofs to identify their problems and the best way to fix them
  • Install ventilation systems
  • Install solar thermal systems
  • Install insulation and vapor barrier if necessary
  • Install roofing materials such as underlayment, and ensure the roof is weatherproof
  • Incorporate solar reflective systems, solar thermal systems, solar photovoltaic systems into the homeowner’s roofing systems
  • Measure and cut roofing materials properly to fit and align with different parts of the roof
  • Alter materials to work around roof obstructions such as chimneys, vents, and walls.
  • Ensure the project is in strict alignment with the deadline.
  • Be knowledgeable enough to handle roofing tools and equipment well
  • Follow strict safety protocols
  • Ensure the roofing materials are in stock

How Much Does a Roofer Earn?

Average Roofer Income

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook suggests that a roofer’s median annual salary is around $47,110, approximately $22.65 per hour. Licensed contractors earn more, with a median salary of about $84,856. 

The roofer and a licensed roofing contractor’s wages may differ in their respective salary ranges. Such variations may happen due to many important factors such as education, licenses and certifications, skills, and how long they have been in the trade.

Starting roofers typically earn $22,480 per year, while senior-level roofers can earn $53,190 per year. A roofer’s salary range will also depend on what they specialize in or what type of clients they’re dealing with. Commercial roofing tends to be more lucrative than residential roofing, but it requires more upfront investment, greater responsibilities, and tons of paperwork.

Average Income of a Roofer in Florida

As for the roofers who reside in Florida, their average salary is about $34,640 annually. This annual wage can go up, of course, depending on how good the roofer is and their level of seniority.

How to Become a Roofing Contractor?

Roof Career

Plenty of roofers learns the skills of the trade through working on the job itself. The beauty of being a roofer is unlike other careers that require upfront experience in related fields, working as a roofer doesn’t require a lot of formal education and experience. The knowledge you can get from training on the job and working around seasoned roofers is enough to get you to a certain level of expertise.

Additional skills like being good with numbers, reading and understanding blueprints, and mechanical drawing can also benefit a prospective roofer. You can acquire these complementary skills either by working with experienced tradespeople in your on-the-job training or by learning them through education. By learning from the job as much as possible, you will eventually learn how to properly use tools and equipment, handle materials, and communicate with your coworkers.

However, if you want to be a licensed roofing contractor, you must go through those stages in a roofer’s career mentioned above – only with a few extra steps.

Education and Training

Roofer Education and Training

The first step in becoming a licensed roofing contractor is to ensure that you have all the necessary skills. As mentioned earlier, most roofers take the path of on-the-job training or practice. 

However, others prefer to take vocational classes at a technical school or community college. Either route works, as long as you come out as a competent roofer who knows how to do their job well.

During your education, you need to understand how to lay tiles and

At the end of getting your education or training, you must ensure that you’re well-versed in using the tools and equipment typically used in roofing. You must also be able to confer with your clients well. 

They must understand that you’re reliable, and they should be comfortable with coming up to you and asking any questions or concerns they may have about their roofing project.

During this time, you must acquire the know-how of roofing. You must adequately understand how to use tools and equipment and understand how important properly installing roofing materials such as asphalt shingles is. 

Don’t forget about your physical condition if you want to be a licensed roofer. Strength and balance are critical since you’ll be working directly on the roof during most career stages.

Lastly, you must conquer your fear of heights if you have one. What’s the point of working on the roofs if you’re scared of heights?

License

While having a license is not mandatory, it’s still recommended for any career-oriented roofer to get one. The process of licensing and training differs from state to state. Some states will allow a roofer to work with no license, while others will require you to get either a contractor’s license or a roofer’s license before working on a roof. 

If you want to work with commercial establishments, you’ll only need a state license. However, if you’re going to delve into the lucrative world of commercial roofing, you need to acquire both licenses mentioned above.

If you want to be a licensed roofing contractor, you must be aware of the requirements to have a license. The requirements will vary by state, but the ones below are some proofs a state typically requires of a prospective licensed roofing contractor:

  • Worker’s compensation insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Liability and property damage insurance
  • Passage of examinations carried out (residential, commercial, or industrial)
  • Surety bond
  • Construction supervisor license

It’s still best for you to go to your local state’s website so you can confirm for yourself what documents you need to collect and organize. For roofers in Florida, you can go to the licensing portal of the Department of Business & Professional Regulation – Florida.

Is Roofing a Good Career?

Roofing is undeniably a tough job. A roofing career will require an individual to be physically fit to handle arduous roofing duties properly. Roof maintenance, installation, and replacement are no joke, and they will take a toll on your body if you’re not prepared enough for the job. And there are times when you have to work under weather extremes to finish a roofing project.

Occupational hazard is regular when it comes to roofing. Aside from working under non-ideal weather conditions, how well you perform on unstable surfaces like roofs with damaged or rotting joists is also a factor.

But is it a promising career?

Indeed it is – for the right people and the right reasons. Those who seek a quick buck and prestige will not go far in this job. Roofing is a demanding profession for hardened people, and it will require arduous labor and skills like being a team player and conferring with your clients.

But if you’re someone who enjoys performing at high levels under less desirable conditions, has an eye for detail, can work alongside other roofers, and enjoys the outdoors, then this profession is for you.

Career Advancement

Roofers who are excellent in their field may advance to higher positions such as supervisors or estimators. Those with a roofing contractor’s license and the right combination of people skills, planning, and sound judgment can even establish their own business as independent roofing contractors.

Other Careers in the Roofing Industry

If you don’t think you’re not a good fit to be a roofer or a roofing contractor, but you still want to work in the roofing industry, you shouldn’t worry. According to Careers in Roofing, opportunities are waiting for individuals who are good with their hands, want to work an office job, or have other skills necessary to run the business.

Here are some of the other roofing careers you’ll find these days:

  • Sheet metal fabricator
  • Yard Manager
  • Bookkeeper
  • Safety Director
  • Salesperson
  • Roofing Estimator
  • Delivery Service Manager
  • Marketing
  • Engineering

Conclusion

Being a roofer can be rewarding to many people. Working on the roofs provides a different sense of pride, especially once you see the results of a finished roofing project. Before you become a roofer, you must gain the necessary skills first. 

If you want to become a licensed roofing contractor, you must go through being a roofer and then get a state-officiated license. There are also other non-field jobs for individuals who prefer working an office job but still be involved with roofing.

If you reside in Orlando, Florida, and want to try out your luck as a roofer and work with roofing systems, contact us for an exciting roofing career position in Century Roofing Specialists.