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By Jaime Sessions, NRCA
The roofing industry is constantly evolving, and as roofing contractors, manufacturers and distributors look for ways to grow their businesses, they also need to find ways for their workers to grow. Labor shortages and worker retention continue to be a struggle in the roofing industry, and NRCA is helping to address this issue through its national worker certification program, NRCA ProCertification.™
One year after its launch, NRCA ProCertification is heading into a new decade with great momentum. The national certification initiative is the first industry-wide effort designed to create a competent, sustainable, high-performing roofing industry workforce.
Using a series of assessments, NRCA is certifying workers and issuing verifiable professional certifications. With a goal of 18 total certification offerings, NRCA currently offers NRCA ProCertified™ Asphalt Shingles Installer, NRCA ProCertified Thermoplastic Systems Installer and NRCA ProCertified Roofing Foreman.
NRCA first identified leaders in the industry to help run the certification program the association developed. NRCA ProCertification Qualified Assessors serve as performance exam proctors for those seeking installation certifications, evaluating and verifying NRCA ProCertification participants’ hands-on skills. Qualified Assessors are uniquely qualified by meeting eligibility requirements, completing three self-paced online training modules, and passing a proctored online exam.
The NRCA ProCertification Qualified Assessor Program teaches Qualified Assessor candidates observation and assessment skills and the policies and procedures required to fulfill their roles in the NRCA ProCertification program.
As a Qualified Assessor, leaders in our industry expand current business offerings and generate additional revenue by charging an appropriate fee to assess performance exams for NRCA ProCertification candidates. They also gain access to NRCA ProCertification testing materials for specific roof system disciplines and earn a digital badge and professional recognition.
To earn an NRCA ProCertification roof system installer certification, an individual must first 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, and that experience must be verified by his or her employer.
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 NRCA ProCertified 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 manufacturers' requirements and/or is 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. The exam features general questions about safety, job quality, productivity and customer service, as well as questions about the specific roof system for which the roofing foreman is seeking certification. 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. NRCA ProCertification offers a pathway through a lifelong career.
NRCA encourages industry employers to use NRCA ProCertification as a recruiting tool for new workers by certifying their experienced workforces and elevating the industry to a level of professionalism not previously obtained. The promise of professional development opportunities can be appealing to those looking for a rewarding career. New recruits still will have to learn and practice roof system installation techniques before they are ready to earn certifications, but with NRCA ProCertified workers on staff, contractors, manufacturers and distributors will have mentors in place to inspire new hires.