Career Profile: Roofer

Career Profile: Roofer

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Imagine what it would be like to live in a place with no roof. Rain and snow would come in, and it would be impossible to keep the house warm in winter or cool in summer. Roofers are some of the people who help to keep buildings safe and warm in all kinds of weather.

Building a house is a complicated process that involves many people.  Usually, the basement and walls go in first, and then the ceiling and roof go last. Roofers have to wait until almost everything else is done on a building before they can do their work, which can make it difficult to plan a schedule. A few days of bad weather can delay a construction project, and roofers might have to work very quickly to get a project finished.

In many parts of Canada, construction is basically a summer activity, when it is warm enough to be outside for long periods of time and the concrete and other materials will not freeze. Depending on where they live, roofers might do most of their work between about April and October, although the season varies from one area to another. However, they can still find some work even in the middle of winter if they are able to do repairs to buildings that have been damaged by storms, frost, or other issues.

Requirements for roofers depend on the part of Canada where they live. Generally, a high school education and on-the-job training are necessary, and some people also choose to do apprenticeships. Certification is required in Quebec and British Columbia but optional in other parts of the country. Shinglers require at least a year of training on the job, and individual employers might want their workers to take other courses and training before they start to work.

Many trades, including roofing, are part of the Interprovincial Red Seal Program. This program helps maintain standards across Canada to make sure that buildings are well built and safe for people to be in. Salaries for roofers vary in different parts of the country, but wages are generally between about $15 and $34 per hour, or $33,000 to $75,000 per year.

Roofing can be dangerous work, because people can easily fall off roofs or injure themselves or others with heavy equipment. Being physically fit and strong with good balance are essential in this job, and people are likely to move into different fields once they begin to feel the effects of age. However, even older workers can continue to be roofers if they are still able to keep up with the work.

Roofers can choose to work for companies or find clients on their own, Generally, the work is only during the day, but it sometimes involves long hours in July or August when the sun rises early and sets late. If buildings develop sudden leaks, roofers might have to respond quickly, but generally, they can work at their own pace to finish the task.

Being a roofer is not always an easy job, but it can be rewarding. If it appeals to you, why not think about choosing this trade?


Ontario College of Trades. “Construction Sector: Roofer.” http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/Roofer.pdf

Payscale.com. “Roofer.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Roofer/Hourly_Rate

Student Scholarships/org. “What education do you need to become a Roofers and Shinglers?” https://studentscholarships.org/careers_salary/27/education/roofers_and_shinglers.php#sthash.4ul89rDj.dpbs.

Truity.com. “Roofer.” https://www.truity.com/career-profile/roofer.

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