Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Summary

Please enable javascript to play this video.

Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMCdHzpmy1I.
Quick Facts: Roofers
2019 Median Pay $42,100 per year
$20.24 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, 2019 161,600
Job Outlook, 2019-29 2% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 3,800

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 $42,100 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of roofers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations. In addition, openings are projected to arise from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.

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 About this section

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 About this section

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

Roofers held about 161,600 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of roofers were as follows:

Roofing contractors 73%
Self-employed workers 19
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 About this section

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 About this section

Roofers

Median annual wages, May 2019

Construction trades workers

$46,340

Roofers

$42,100

Total, all occupations

$39,810

 

The median annual wage for roofers was $42,100 in May 2019. 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 $26,540, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,920.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for roofers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Roofing contractors $42,320
Construction of buildings 39,160

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 About this section

Roofers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Construction trades workers

3%

Roofers

2%

 

Employment of roofers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations. Replacement and repair of roofs, as well as the installation of new roofs, will create demand for roofers.

Roofs deteriorate more quickly than most other parts of buildings, and as a result, they need to be replaced or repaired more often. Demand for roofers will be driven by the need to repair and replace roofs on existing buildings. In addition to replacement and repair work, the need to install roofs on new buildings is expected to result in job growth. Some demand for roofers may come from the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on building rooftops.

Job Prospects

Despite slow growth, about 14,700 openings for roofers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations (especially in other construction trades) or exit the labor force, such as to retire. Jobs for roofers are generally easier to find during spring and summer.

Demand for roofers is less vulnerable to downturns than demand for other construction workers, because much roofing work consists of repair and reroofing, in addition to new construction. Still, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of new construction falls, and shortages of workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.

Employment projections data for roofers, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Roofers

47-2181 161,600 165,400 2 3,800 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) 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 About this section

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

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2019 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Carpenters

Carpenters

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

High school diploma or equivalent $48,330
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 $36,000
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 $47,360
Tile and marble setters

Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile.

No formal educational credential $42,050
Insulation workers

Insulation Workers

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

See How to Become One $44,180
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 $46,500
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 $50,400
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 $44,890

Contacts for More Information About this section

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

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 December 04, 2020).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2019 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2019, the median annual wage for all workers was $39,810.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2019

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2019, which is the base year of the 2019-29 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2019-29

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029. The average growth rate for all occupations is 4 percent.

Employment Change, 2019-29

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2019-29

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2019 to 2029.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

2019 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2019, the median annual wage for all workers was $39,810.