Bureau of Labor Statistics

Roofers

roofers image
Roofers use a variety of tools when working on roofs depending on the type of roof being installed.
Quick Facts: Roofers
2020 Median Pay $43,580 per year
$20.95 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education No formal educational credential
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2020 153,700
Job Outlook, 2020-30 5% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 7,100

Summary

What Roofers Do

Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings.

Work Environment

Roofing work is physically demanding because it involves climbing, bending, kneeling, and heavy lifting. Roofers may work overtime in order to finish a particular job, especially during busy summer months.

How to Become a Roofer

There are typically no formal education requirements for roofers. Although most roofers learn on the job, some enter the occupation through an apprenticeship.

Pay

The median annual wage for roofers was $43,580 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of roofers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 15,600 openings for roofers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for roofers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of roofers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about roofers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Roofers Do

Roofers
Roofers install shingles, asphalt, metal, or other materials to make the roof weatherproof.

Roofers replace, repair, and install the roofs of buildings, using a variety of materials, including shingles, bitumen, and metal.

Duties

Roofers typically do the following:

  • Inspect problem roofs to determine the best way to repair them
  • Measure roofs to calculate the quantities of materials needed
  • Replace damaged or rotting joists or plywood
  • Remove existing roof systems
  • Install vapor barriers or layers of insulation
  • Install roof ventilation
  • Install shingles, asphalt, metal, or other materials to make the roof weatherproof
  • Align roofing materials with edges of the roof
  • Cut roofing materials to fit around walls or vents
  • Cover exposed nail or screw heads with roofing cement or caulk to prevent leakage

Properly installing and repairing roofs keeps water from leaking into buildings and damaging the interior, including equipment and furnishings. Roofers install or repair two basic types of roofs: low slope and steep slope.

Low-slope roofs are the most common, as they are typical on commercial, industrial, and apartment buildings. The complexity of installing low-slope roofs varies with the type of building. Roofers may install these roofs in layers, building up piles of felt set in hot bitumen over insulation boards to form a waterproof membrane. They also may install a single-ply membrane of waterproof rubber or thermoplastic compound over roof insulation boards.

Steep-slope roofs are typical on single-family homes. Roofers commonly install asphalt shingles, although they may also lay tile, solar shingles, metal shingles, slate, or shakes (rough wooden shingles) on steep-slope roofs.

Roofers also install green technology rooftop applications. These include vegetative roofs, rainwater harvesting systems, and photovoltaic products, such as solar shingles and solar tiles; however, solar photovoltaic (PV) installers typically install PV panels. Plumbers and heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics also may install solar thermal systems.

Roofers use a variety of tools when installing or repairing roofs. Their tools include roofing shovels, roof cutters, and pry bars to remove old roofing systems and hammers, nail guns, and framing squares to install new ones.

Work Environment

Roofers
Roofing work can be physically demanding since it involves heavy lifting, climbing, bending, and kneeling.

Roofers held about 153,700 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of roofers were as follows:

Roofing contractors 73%
Self-employed workers 18
Construction of buildings 3

Roofing work is physically demanding because it involves climbing, bending, kneeling, and heavy lifting. Roofers work outdoors in extreme temperatures, but they usually do not work during inclement weather.

Although some roofers work alone, many work as part of a crew.

Injuries and Illnesses

Roofers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, as well as one of the highest rates of occupational fatalities.

Workers may slip or fall from scaffolds, ladders, or roofs. They may also be burned by hot bitumen. Roofs can become extremely hot during the summer, causing heat-related illnesses. Roofers must wear proper safety equipment to reduce the risk of injuries.

Work Schedules

Most roofers work full time. In northern states, roofing work may be limited during the winter months. During the busy summer months, roofers may work overtime to complete jobs.

How to Become a Roofer

Roofers
Most roofers learn their trade on the job working with experienced coworkers.

There are no specific education requirements for roofers. Although most learn on the job, some roofers enter the occupation through an apprenticeship.

Education

No formal educational credential is typically required for roofers.

Training

Roofers typically receive on-the-job training to become competent in the occupation. In most on-the-job training programs, experienced roofers teach new workers how to use roofing tools, equipment, machines, and materials. Trainees begin with tasks such as carrying equipment and material and erecting scaffolds and hoists. Within a few months, they learn to measure, cut, and fit roofing materials. Later, they lay asphalt or fiberglass shingles. Because some roofing materials, such as solar tiles, are used infrequently, it may take several years to gain experience for all types of roofing.

A few groups, including the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers and some contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs for roofers. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with technical instruction, usually requiring a predetermined number of hours for both.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Roofers may obtain specific certification to qualify for additional work opportunities or greater pay.

The National Roofing Contractors Association offers certification for experienced roofers. Experienced roofers may become certified in various roofing systems, such as thermoplastic systems or asphalt shingles. Certification as a roofing foreman is also available for experienced roofers.

Most employers require that roofers complete safety certification that meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, either before or after being hired.

Some employers require roofers to have a driver’s license to enable commuting to different jobsites.

Advancement

After gaining experience in the occupation, roofers may have opportunities to advance to become a supervisor, job superintendent, or estimator or to start their own business. Roofers working in a union may advance within their local union to become a business manager or apprenticeship instructor or to other positions of union leadership.

Important Qualities

Ability to work at heights. Roofers must be comfortable working at great heights.

Attention to detail. Roofing materials must be installed to precisely match design patterns and to ensure that the roof is waterproof. 

Balance. Roofers should have excellent balance to avoid falling, because they often work on steep slopes at great heights.

Manual dexterity. Roofers need to be precise in handling and installing roofing materials in order to prevent damage to the roof and building.

Math skills. Roofers use math to measure and calculate roofing areas. 

Physical stamina. Roofers must be able to endure spending hours on their feet or bending and stooping, often in hot weather.

Physical strength. Roofers often lift and carry heavy materials, such as bundles of shingles that weigh 60 pounds or more.

Pay

Roofers

Median annual wages, May 2020

Construction trades workers

$47,480

Roofers

$43,580

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for roofers was $43,580 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $72,100.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for roofers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Roofing contractors $43,810
Construction of buildings 40,320

Most roofers work full time. In northern states, roofing work may be limited during the winter months. During the busy summer months, roofers may work overtime to complete jobs.

The starting pay for apprentices is usually 50 percent of what journey workers receive. Apprentices get pay increases as they advance through the apprenticeship program.

Job Outlook

Roofers

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Total, all occupations

8%

Roofers

5%

Construction trades workers

5%

 

Employment of roofers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 15,600 openings for roofers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Much of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020.

Replacement and repair of roofs, as well as the installation of new roofs, will create demand for roofers. Some demand for roofers may come from the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on building rooftops.

Employment projections data for roofers, 2020-30

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Roofers

SOC Code47-2181
Employment, 2020153,700
Projected Employment, 2030160,800
Percent Change, 2020-305
Numeric Change, 2020-307,100
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of roofers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Carpenters Carpenters

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

High school diploma or equivalent $49,520
Construction laborers and helpers Construction Laborers and Helpers

Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.

See How to Become One $37,080
Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboard and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboard for painting.

No formal educational credential $48,830
Tile and marble setters Flooring Installers and Tile and Stone Setters

Flooring installers and tile and stone setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, tile, and other materials.

No formal educational credential $43,210
Insulation workers Insulation Workers

Insulation workers install and replace the materials used to insulate buildings or mechanical systems.

See How to Become One $45,820
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons Masonry Workers

Masonry workers use bricks, concrete and concrete blocks, and natural and manmade stones to build structures.

See How to Become One $47,710
Sheet metal workers Sheet Metal Workers

Sheet metal workers fabricate or install products that are made from thin metal sheets.

High school diploma or equivalent $51,370
solar photovoltaic installers image Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers assemble, set up, and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy.

High school diploma or equivalent $46,470

Contacts for More Info

For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities for roofers, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local contractors or firms that employ roofers, or local union–management apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online, or by phone at 877-872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.

For more information about the work of roofers, visit

National Roofing Contractors Association

United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers

For more information about OSHA training, visit

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

O*NET

Roofers

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Roofers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/roofers.htm (visited October 09, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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