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Roofers - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Roofers may advance to become supervisors or estimators for a roofing contractor or become independent contractors themselves.

Roofers held about 148,900 jobs in 2008. About 70 percent of all salaried roofers worked for roofing contractors, while only 21 percent were self-employed. Many self-employed roofers specialized in residential work.

Job Outlook
Most job openings will occur from turnover because the work is hot, strenuous, and dirty, causing many people to switch to jobs in other construction trades. Employment is projected to grow slower than the average.

Job Growth
Employment of roofers is expected to grow 4 percent between 2008 and 2018, slower than the average for all occupations. Roofs deteriorate faster than most other parts of buildings and, as a result, they need to be repaired or replaced more often. In addition to repair work, the need to install roofs on new buildings may result in some job growth. So as building construction increases, some demand for roofers can be expected.

Employment growth, nonetheless, may be impeded because a greater proportion of roofing work may be completed by other construction workers as opposed to traditional roofing contractors.

Job opportunities for roofers will occur primarily because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. The proportion of roofers who leave the occupation each year is higher than in most construction tradesóroofing work is hot, strenuous, and dirty, and a considerable number of workers treat roofing as a temporary job until they find other work. Some roofers leave the occupation to go into other construction trades. Jobs should be easier to find during spring and summer.

Employment of roofers who install new roofs, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to fluctuations of the economy. Workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity. Nevertheless, roofing work is more heavily concentrated in repair and replacement rather than new installation, making demand for roofing less vulnerable to downturns than demand for some other construction trades.

In May 2008, median hourly wages of roofers were $16.17. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.97 and $21.98. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.63, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.46. Median hourly wages of roofers in the foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors industry were $16.26. Earnings may be less on occasions when poor weather limits the time roofers can work.

Apprentices usually begin earning about 40 percent to 50 percent of the rate paid to experienced roofers. They receive periodic raises as they master the skills of the trade.

Some roofers are members of United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers. Hourly wages and fringe benefits are generally higher for union workers.

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Academic Programs of Interest

The Roofing Program is designed to teach students how to build and repair flat roofs - using hot asphalt, gravel and waterproof sheet materials. Roofers will also be taught how to build and repair sloped roofs - using asphalt and wood shingles, shakes and masonry or baked clay roofing tiles and metal ...more