One year after its launch, the National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) ProCertification program is gaining ground. The national certification initiative is the first industry-wide effort designed to create a competent, sustainable, high-performing roofing industry workforce. 

The NRCA set off five years ago to accomplish something that had never been done. With the support and encouragement of NRCA members — roofing contractors, manufacturers and distributors — the certification team established policies and procedures and developed exam content to form NRCA ProCertification.

Using a series of assessments, the NRCA is certifying workers and issuing verifiable professional certifications.

Establishing Professionalism

The NRCA developed its certification program to advance the roofing industry’s professionalism by establishing an industry workforce with credentials that inspire confidence among customers.

“NRCA ProCertification certifies tradespeople who have the knowledge, skills and experience to be designated as true professionals in our industry,” said Reid Ribble, NRCA CEO. “Consumers, manufacturers, contractors, government agencies, insurance bodies and others will be able to independently verify a worker on a job site has been trained and tested for the job he or she has been hired to do. This is a revolutionary development.”

Enhanced customer confidence can translate into increased sales and referrals. Reputable companies that employ professional, certified workers are more likely to attract motivated employees who want to work for an employer committed to the future of its employees.

NRCA ProCertification provides the opportunity for workers to be recognized for the skills and expertise they’ve worked hard to develop while giving employers an opportunity to offer a clear career path to anyone potentially interested in entering the roofing industry — something the industry has lacked until now.

First Things First

To certify workers, NRCA first had to identify a group of people to properly assess those workers; these individuals are called Qualified Assessors.

Qualified Assessors must meet eligibility requirements, complete online training and take a proctored exam before earning the designation. Qualified Assessors must be able to identify when a roofing worker accurately performs a task or makes a mistake and evaluate how a worker completes specific tasks that demonstrate skill and competency in the discipline in which the worker is seeking certification.

Recognizing Experience

With a goal of 18 total certification offerings, the NRCA currently offers NRCA ProCertified Asphalt Shingles Installer, NRCA ProCertified Thermoplastic Systems Installer and NRCA ProCertified Roofing Foreman.

To earn certification, an individual must demonstrate the correct way to install a specific type of roof system. In addition, roof system installers must meet eligibility requirements, which vary for each roof system discipline. All roof system installer certifications require an installer to have adequate safety knowledge and roofing experience.

Once an installer has proved his or her eligibility, certification is achieved in two steps. The installer first must pass a proctored online exam to demonstrate knowledge of the roof system for which he or she seeks certification. The online exam has between 60 and 80 multiple-choice questions and is offered at NRCA-approved testing centers throughout the U.S. After successful completion of the written exam, the installer must schedule and pass a hands-on performance exam while being observed by an NRCA Qualified Assessor who will assess the installer’s applied knowledge and skills. A certification is issued after the installer passes the hands-on exam.

Likewise, the roofing foreman certification is issued with a roof system-specific designation. A roofing foreman seeking certification must prove he or she has enough experience and working knowledge of specific roof system installation practices and industry safety practices to recognize when an installer is not following manufacturer requirements and/or violating a safety regulation.

Once a roofing foreman has proved his or her eligibility, he or she must pass an online exam given at an NRCA-approved testing center. A certification is issued after the roofing foreman passes the exam.

Every candidate who passes the necessary exams and achieves certification will receive a digital badge that can be displayed on social media, a website and/or printed on a business card; two weather-resistant decals for displaying the badge; and a laminated photo ID wallet card containing a QR code others can use to verify the credential electronically.

Whether workers earn a roof system installer certification or roofing foreman certification, certifications must be renewed for a fee every three years. Renewal requirements include continuing to work in the role and completing training regarding topics related to the certification’s Job Task Analysis.

Recruiting the Next Generation

The promise of professional development opportunities can be appealing to those looking for a rewarding career. New recruits will have to learn and practice roof system installation techniques before they are ready to earn certifications, but NRCA ProCertification offers a pathway through a lifelong career.

Rich Nugent, CEO of Nations Roof LLC in Mobile, Ala., recognizes how NRCA ProCertification can help employers present roofing work as a viable career option.

“Not everyone is cut out for college, whether it be because of the high cost or a lack of interest,” Nugent said. “The roofing industry offers a great alternative, and NRCA ProCertification gives men and women solid career opportunities where they can earn a good living and invest in themselves rather than heaping on debt. We know what a great industry this is, and we need to be proud of it and communicate its benefits loudly to attract people to roofing.”