Stressful job? Sure. Physically demanding? Absolutely. One of the worst jobs of the year? No way, says Bill Good, executive vice president of the National Roofing Contractors Association.
Although roofers do face a significant risk of injury on the job and are susceptible to fluctuations in the real estate market, they also receive pay of up to $30 an hour -- the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary is $38,760 per year -- and the ability to break into their profession without taking on massive student debt. The BLS reports that job growth for roofers is expected to keep pace with other professions between now and 2020, but Good says the role of roofers is shifting.
"We, probably as an industry, are more responsible for energy conservation in building than any other industry," he says. "We're now doing things like putting solar panels on roofs. We're putting gardens on roofs."
Roofing follows the construction markets, Good says, which means jobs are growing in places such as Texas that are affected by hurricanes and hail and in spots where solar markets are burgeoning. Those who exit the field can use their skills in a related construction or solar-energy field, he says.