A mixture of experience, education, and licensing is required for you to become a roof inspector. This building inspection profession usually requires several visits to a construction site to ensure that each roofing layer adheres to local regulations for safety. To be successful in this career, a prospective roof inspector should be comfortable walking on sloped surfaces at high elevations on a regular basis.
On-the-job experience is a key element to become a roof inspector. Many inspectors begin their careers as roof installers; the manual labor involved as an installer provides the future inspector with a real life perspective of roofing construction techniques and typical problems. In addition, roofing installers may work closely with experienced inspectors to solve a material or structural issue. As a result, the installer gains knowledge of inspection techniques, as well as roof construction strategies.
Most inspection businesses require a potential employee to have a high school diploma to become a roof inspector. In fact, competition for jobs has prompted some companies to prefer a two or four year college degree in construction technology or building inspection. These degrees usually involve a background in mathematics and physics, which are two common subjects used extensively in determining a roof's structural integrity. It is possible that the salary level may be higher for a roof inspector with a college degree compared to a high school graduate.
Within the United States, each state has different licensing regulations for roofing professionals; however, many states do require an examination to be passed before a person can become a roof inspector. The state examination will test regional roofing knowledge, especially if specialized roofs are common, such as in a snow-prone area. Knowledge of countrywide regulations is also tested to gauge the person's inspection abilities. Individuals cannot practice as a roof inspector until the examination is passed. Afterward, a license or certificate is normally provided as proof of passing the examination for future employers.
After you become a roof inspector, license renewal and continuing education are required so that you can be aware of new laws and regulations. New roofing techniques and materials may become widely available; each roof inspector should be aware of the benefits and drawbacks to each change in industry practices. Roofing installers may not be aware of newer technology, which requires the roof inspector to explain and apply the new technique or material for a safe roof construction. Inspectors must pay attention to details when observing a roof installation in progress.