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Roofers prepare and apply protective coverings to flat and sloped roof surfaces in accordance with construction plans and specifications.

Most flat roofs can be covered by a variety of substances and systems such as:

  • conventional roof system (hot applied asphalt),
  • elastomeric roof membrane system (rubber-like properties),
  • thermo plastic roof membrane system, and
  • modified bitumen roof membrane system (asphalt and plastic).

On the flat roofs of commercial and industrial buildings under construction, roofers:

  • put a layer of vapour/air barrier and/or a layer of insulation on the roof deck,
  • install roofing membranes, spread adhesives (hot and cold) over and under layers of roofing membranes, or apply single-ply membranes of waterproof rubber or thermoplastic compounds to make the system airtight, and
  • install metal or membrane flashing (strips) to protect the edges of the roofing materials.

Most sloped residential roofs are covered with shingles made of asphalt or fibreglass, concrete, clay, rubber, slate, wood shakes or metal. Roofers working on sloped roofs:

  • apply membranes, fibreglass or felt over parts of the surface before applying shingles,
  • nail shingles in overlapping rows,
  • cement or nail flashing over the joints around vent pipes or chimneys, and
  • cover exposed nailheads with cement to prevent rust and water leakage.

Roofers may also:

  • inspect problem roofs to determine the best procedures for repairing them,
  • estimate materials required and quote costs,
  • repair older roofs,
  • waterproof roofs, basements, foundations, plaza decks or parkades,
  • install green/vegetated roof components, and
  • incorporate new future roofing technology (i.e. conventional and non-conventional solar roofing technology).

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.


Working Conditions

Roofers work outdoors on roofs of varying heights. When the weather is good and building activity is high, roofers may work considerable overtime.


Skills and Abilities

The work is most rewarding for those who enjoy physical exercise, working with their hands, developing special skills and the security of steady employment.

To be successful in their trade, roofers must:

  • be in good physical condition,
  • be sure-footed and able to work at heights,
  • possess the strength, stamina and the use of proper lifting techniques to lift items in excess of 25 kilograms,
  • be partial to working outdoors, and
  • get along well with co-workers.


Employment and Advancement

This trade is less sensitive to economic changes than some other construction trades because there is a steady demand for repair work even if construction is slow.  Most roofers are employed by roofing contractors on construction or repair jobs. Some roofers are members of unions and work from union halls. Roof systems require regular replacement every 15 to 30 years depending on the system used.

Journeyperson wage rates vary between $28 and $40 per hour, plus benefits, depending on the location in Alberta and the type of roofing system being installed.

Knowledge of roofing may present future opportunities in education, technical marketing, inspection and supervisory roles. Roofers may also become contractors themselves.


Working in Alberta

To work as a roofer in Alberta, a person must:

  • be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, hold a valid recognized credential, OR
  • work for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of a certified journeyperson, OR
  • be self-employed.

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.


Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a roofer is 4 years (four 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1420 hours of on-the-job training and 6 weeks of technical training in each of the first three years, and a minimum of 1600 hours of on-the-job training in the fourth year.

  • There are no specified entrance requirements for this trade.
  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the roofer trade or holds a related journeyperson certificate and has the employer's recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship. Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprenticeship representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the online  Prior Learning Assessment Application.  
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a Roofer in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade.

  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 
  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, apprentice roofers earn at least 65 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 75 percent in the second, 85 percent in the third, and 95 percent in the fourth year.
  • complete all program requirements as identified in the Course Outline
  • enroll in technical training
  • successfully complete all required (See Exam Counselling Sheets)
  • Technical Training Resource List
    • Each period of technical training requires apprentices to purchase specific resources and supplies.
    • Contact the training provider where you will be attending training for a complete list.

Apprentices may attempt the Interprovincial Exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal.

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.


Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

A roofer who holds a valid trade certificate from Alberta or from another Canadian province or territory may apply to write the Interprovincial Exam and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. The Red Seal is recognized throughout most of Canada.

To prepare for the exam see the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available Resource Materials.


Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available Resource Materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.


Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

Click for more information on the Equivalency Program.