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Online Trade Schools with Roofing Programs: How to Choose

In almost all cases, roofers either learn their trade from other workers or through three-year apprenticeship programs connected with schools or unions. Though online roofing programs are not generally available in the U.S., students with a desire to learn the construction trade online can engage in online programs for construction management. Keep reading to see how you can enter this career through online and onsite learning.

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How to Choose a Roofing Apprenticeship or Construction Program

Apprenticeships for roofers can be found at community colleges throughout the nation. These programs often partner with local roofer's unions to provide a combination of onsite and classroom education.

Considerations

  • Route to learning
  • School-based vs. union-based apprenticeships

Route to Learning

There are few or no online training programs for roofers, with the vast majority of educational opportunities coming from hands-on apprenticeships. There are, however, online programs available for construction management that deal with theoretical aspects of roofing and other elements of building. Programs do not generally prepare students without a background in construction to begin working in the field, but they can offer additional depth of knowledge in planning and supervision to those already familiar with hands-on techniques. Students who wish to pursue roofing in particular or learn practical techniques must usually learn by means of an apprenticeship without online components.

School-Based Vs. Union-Based Apprenticeships

Like many building professions, roofing is primarily learned through hands-on experience as an apprentice. Students generally initiate these apprenticeships through a school with a roofing program or directly with a local roofers' union. In many instances, unions will arrange coursework for students to complete as part of their apprenticeship; conversely, many school-based programs will work with local unions to coordinate apprenticeships. Students looking to work with a union should look up local builders' associations or the local chapter of United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers.

List of Construction Programs

Roofing Apprenticeship

These programs are not available online, requiring as much 5,500 hours of on-the-job training. Some programs include approximately 144 hours of in-classroom training, depending upon the school. Most apprenticeships are paid, with some unions giving student incremental raises in line with the completion of coursework or other milestones. Participants in apprenticeships learn about:

  • Roof inspection
  • Calculating materials
  • Installing shingles, metal and other roofing materials
  • Vapor barriers
  • Insulation

Bachelor of Science in Construction Management

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that those seeking to enter the field of construction management need a minimum of a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Bachelor's programs in construction management are rare and offered predominantly by for-profit institutions. Online programs deliver instruction through e-mail, streaming video and online discussion. Courses cover:

  • Construction safety
  • Contracts
  • Scheduling
  • Estimating
  • Engineering fundamentals

Master of Science in Construction Management

Master's degrees are commonly available online for construction managers. These programs require roughly 30 credits, and are commonly delivered wholly or partially online in order to accommodate working construction professionals. Courses are generally delivered with a simple combination of e-mail, online forums and Internet chat tools. Online programs cover topics in:

  • Land use
  • Quality control
  • Estimating
  • Planning
  • Supervision
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