how to become a roofer

How To Become a Roofing Contractor

Becoming a licensed roofer can be an amazing way to make a stable living, and so much more.

By launching your career as a professional roofer, you become part of a profession that serves the area where they work by literally putting a roof over their heads — and so much more.

As a licensed professional roofer, you can work on residential, commercial, and industry roofing installations, repairs, and maintenance (depending on your license type), and accomplish goals launching your own business, being your own boss, and most importantly, supporting your family and community.

illinois roofing license

What is a Roofer?

According to the dictionary, a roofer is a skilled tradesperson who is a builder or construction professional who specializes in installing and repairing residential, commercial, or industrial roofs.

In more detail, roofers are skilled tradespeople who specialize in the construction, repair, and maintenance of roofs.

The primary responsibility of a roofer is to install roofing materials, such as shingles, tiles, or metal sheets, on the framework of a building to create a protective covering. 

Roofers work on both residential and commercial structures, ensuring that roofs are watertight, durable, and capable of withstanding various weather conditions.

However, a licensed roofing contractor can be so much more than that.

Roofing requires physical stamina and strength combined with mental dexterity to build enduring structures that protect the people that live and work in them. 

Roofers may specialize in specific types of roofing, such as residential or commercial roofing, and they may work independently or as part of a roofing company.

Their skills and expertise contribute to the overall integrity and functionality of buildings by providing protection against the elements.

From houses to businesses to schools and hospitals, every building needs a sturdy roof, offering a limitless supply of projects and therefore a secure career for roofing professionals.

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licencia de roofing

What Do Roofers Do?

Roofers build, install, repair, and otherwise protect the integrity and health of a building’s roof. 

How Much Do Roofers Make? 

Roofing compensation tends to start at $25 per hour or approximately $50,000+ annually, but the sky’s the limit (or should we say “roof”?) from there.

Perhaps more importantly, there are many opportunities for advancement in the roofing field based on skill level, years of experience, and level of expertise.

Higher cost of living areas are also more likely to be more lucrative for roofers — but other expenses or operating costs may be steeper in those areas as well. 

What’s more, roofers can partner with other types of contractors or builders on various types of projects or learn to specialize in different types of roofing in order to develop broader income streams.

how to become a roof contractor

How to Become a Roofer or Roofing Contractor

Becoming a licensed roofer in most U.S. states involves passing at least one licensing exam. 

While roofing can be tough physical work (and it often is), math skills and your general education are just as important.

Your success on the roofing license exam or as a professional roofer depends on your ability to measure and calculate, as well as your grasp of various building codes and regulations. 

As a licensed roofer, you’ll also need to carry insurance (the amounts depend on the type of roofing work you do and the requirements in your state) along with any costs you may incur operating as an independent contractor or running your own business. 

Read on to learn more about roofing trade schools and Roofing Academy X and the path to becoming a licensed roofing professional in the United States. 

What is a Roofing Trade School?

A roofing trade school is a specialized school or program that offers training specific to the roofing industry.

Our roofing academy prepares you to pass the roofing licensing exam(s) necessary to become a licensed roofing contractor in your area. 

Roofing trade schools can offer in-person or online classes (or a mix of both), and provide education for roofing contractors, estimators, and inspectors.

This includes courses that cover current roofing installation techniques and best practices, commonly used materials, safety practices, local building codes, and business management skills.

Practical training or real-world experience with actual roofing materials and tools may be provided, and our classes are taught by experienced roofing professionals who can provide real life insights and even help their students with future job placements or career assistance.

Flexible scheduling and short, focused programs enable students to enter the roofing industry workforce relatively quickly once they pass their exam and become licensed roofing contractors.

Roofing Academy X prepares students to pass both the Residential Roofing license exam and the Unlimited Roofing license exam (which covers Residential, Commercial, and Industrial roofing).

illinois roofing license

How to Get Into Roofing?

If you are already involved in construction or general contracting (or similar professions), you likely have thought about getting your roofing license already.

However, even if you do not have relevant experience, it’s possible to become a roofer in the United States through a combination of proper education and training as well as earning the necessary licenses.

First, if you do not have a building or construction background, consider gaining hands-on experience by working as an apprentice or helper with an experienced roofing contractor.

This allows you to learn the practical aspects of the trade beyond just being handy around the house! 

Next might be a more formal training program that familiarizes you with local building codes and regulations specific to your area or whichever state(s) you want to work in.

This knowledge is crucial for ensuring that you are licensed and your roofing work meets the legal requirements.

While not mandatory, enrolling in a roofing training program or trade school like Roofing Academy X can provide you with a structured education in roofing techniques, safety practices, and local regulations. 

You will need a roofing license and this requires you to pass an exam as well as acquire liability insurance and perhaps bonding, which can protect you and your customers in the event of accidents or other unforeseen issues.

Some projects may require bonding and you’ll need proof of insurance to operate.  

Once licensed and insured, you can either work for an established roofing company or start your own roofing business.

Make sure to adhere to ethical and professional standards, and continue to stay informed about industry updates.

Remember to regularly check in with relevant local authorities for any changes in licensing requirements or regulations specific to the roofing industry in your location.

Each state may have variations in their processes and prerequisites.

Roofer Education — What is Required?

Learning how to become a roofer involves studying for and passing a licensing exam. 

This applies to many U.S. states, so regardless of where you plan to work, you’ll need to pass the test and supply other credentials and funds or fees as required by your specific state.

For example, becoming a roofing contractor in many areas requires a state roofing license issued by the Department of Professional Regulation in that particular state.

Depending on the type of roofing work you want to do, you need one of these three types of licenses:

  • Residential (limited license)
  • Residential, commercial, and industrial (unlimited license)
  • Commercial/Industrial (the residential license exam is also a prerequisite to earn this type of license).

Note that if your roofing business has employees, you must have proof of business insurance in your state and post a surety bond (amounts vary but $10,000 is a good basis).

Roofing qualifications or license requirements for different states vary but most are similar to the above.

In addition, some states only require a more general contracting license for roofing work; however, roofing-specific knowledge is invaluable no matter where you intend to offer your services.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Roofing Contractor License?

roofing contractor license

The time it takes to become a roofer can vary depending on several factors, including your chosen path, the level of education and training you pursue, and your prior experience.

If you already have a high school diploma or equivalent plus some hands-on experience, becoming a licensed roofer is a fairly speedy process.

If you don’t already have practical or real-world construction experience, then consider taking some time to work with a general contractor or similar. 

That’s because gaining hands-on experience in the roofing field is crucial.

This can be achieved through apprenticeships or working as a helper with an experienced roofing contractor.

The duration of this experience can vary but might range from several months to a few years.

It’s important to note that gaining hands-on experience is invaluable in the roofing profession, and the duration of this experience can significantly impact your skills and readiness for the field.

Additionally, ongoing learning is essential in an industry where materials, techniques, and safety standards can evolve.

Once you have some practical roofing experience under your belt, it’s time to take your exam.

If you attend Roofing Academy X, from your first classes to passing your roofing license exam, it takes less than one month, on average (assuming you pass the exam on your first try. 

The programs at Roofing Academy X and Contractor Academy X are 2 or 3 days long and students typically pass their licensing exams soon afterwards. 

Once you become a licensed roofer and handle any other paperwork and insurance matters, then you can start advertising your business and most importantly, doing the work for your clients. 

Therefore, the total time it takes to become a professional roofer can range from a few months to several years, depending on your background. 

If you have specific goals or requirements in mind, such as becoming a licensed roofer or roofing contractor, it’s advisable to check the licensing regulations in your specific location, as they can vary from one place to another.

Always consider your local industry standards and regulations when embarking on your path to becoming a roofer.

How Much Do Roofers Make?

Roofing industry professionals earn $25 an hour on average, or just over $50,000 per year at the beginning of their career journey.

Starting your own business, working with other types of contractors on larger projects, and even hiring employees and building a team can all increase your roofing income. 

Roofers in areas with a higher cost of living tend to be able to charge more and therefore earn more, but keep in mind the cost of doing business in these areas may be steeper as well. 

illinois roofing license

How Do I Succeed as a Licensed Roofing Contractor?

Succeeding as a roofing professional involves a combination of skills, knowledge, professionalism, and business acumen.

Some ways to thrive in the roofing industry include:

  • Grow your experience. Start by gaining hands-on experience in the roofing field. Work as an apprentice or with an experienced roofing contractor to learn the ropes and develop practical skills.
  • Invest in your education: Enroll in a proven roofing trade school or certification program like the Roofing Academy. What’s more, continuous learning will keep you updated on the latest techniques, materials, and safety practices in the industry.
  • Be an expert on local building codes: Familiarize yourself with the building codes and regulations in your area. Complying with these codes is essential for the legality and safety of your roofing projects. Your roofing school instructor can help you learn and understand how these codes work and how you can stay up to date.
  • Value safety on the job. Safety is paramount in the roofing profession. Always use the proper safety equipment, follow industry safety guidelines like OSHA, and stay informed about the latest safety practices.
  • Earn proper licensing and consider more certifications. To do roofing work in most states, you will need to obtain a roofing license. Additionally, consider obtaining certifications that showcase your expertise, such as those related to specific roofing materials or techniques.
  • Build a strong network. Networking is key in the roofing and construction industry. Build relationships with suppliers, contractors, and other professionals in your area. A strong network can lead to valuable referrals and partnerships.
  • Provide excellent customer service: Succeeding in any business involves satisfying customers. Communicate effectively, be responsive to client needs, and ensure the quality of your work. Happy customers are more likely to refer you to others.
  • Estimate projects accurately: Develop strong estimation skills to provide accurate project quotes. This involves assessing material costs, labor, and any additional expenses. Honesty and transparency in your estimates build trust with clients. You can learn more about developing accurate estimates from your roofing school teacher and throughout your roofing industry education process.
  • Stay updated on industry trends. The roofing industry is constantly evolving with new materials and technologies. Stay informed about the latest trends, products, and techniques to remain competitive.
  • Market yourself: Create a professional online presence, including a website and social media profiles. Showcase your completed projects, customer testimonials, and certifications. Effective marketing can help attract new clients.
  • Manage your finances effectively. Keep your business financially healthy by managing expenses, budgeting for projects, and ensuring timely invoicing and payments. Consider working with a licensed accountant to keep your financial records in order.
  • Invest in quality tools and equipment/ Quality tools and equipment can improve the efficiency and quality of your work. Invest in reliable gear that meets industry standards.
  • Stay flexible. Be adaptable to changing market conditions, client preferences, and industry advancements. Flexibility allows you to navigate challenges and seize new opportunities.

By combining technical skills with business sense and a commitment to ongoing education professionalism, you can position yourself for success in the roofing industry.

 Keep learning, stay updated, and consistently deliver high-quality work to build a thriving roofing career.

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As a recent attendee in the Roofing Academy X prep course, I can wholeheartedly say it was an enriching experience. The class not only allowed me to be able to pass my Illinois Roofing exam that I felt was going to be impossible to pass, not having taken an exam in 20 years but also informative and engaging, providing practical insights into the roofing industry.

Peter M.

Licensed Roofing Contractor
illinois roofing license

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