masonry worker

What does a Masonry Worker do?

A masonry worker uses concrete, concrete blocks, bricks, and manmade or natural stone to build fences, walls, walkways, and other masonry structures. They lift heavy materials and must bend, stand, and kneel for long periods of time and the work is physically demanding. Most masons work outdoors so inclement weather may reduce the hours of work activity which is usually on a full-time basis.

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How to Become a Masonry Worker

masonry worker

Masonry workers typically have a high school diploma or the equivalent and learn their skills under experienced workers on-the-job. There are technical schools that offer programs in basic masonry and operate both independently and in conjunction with apprenticeship training. The apprenticeship program earns one credit towards an associate’s degree. Candidates may take courses with on-the-job training or may opt to take courses before taking employment.

The apprenticeship program lasts 3-4 years and for each year of the program the student is required to complete at least 144 hours of related technical instruction. In addition to this, 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training is needed. Many groups sponsor apprenticeship programs, such as contractor associations and unions. Many offer preference to veterans. To qualify for an apprenticeship program one must be 18 years old or older, hold a high school diploma or the equivalent, and be physically able to do strenuous work.

Job Description of a Masonry Worker

The duties of a masonry worker may vary depending on the type of job he or she performs, however, one typically has the job of calculating the materials needed for the work by reading drawings or blueprints. They use the plans to lay out patterns, foundations, or forms. They must cut or break materials to the proper size and mix grout or mortar for spreading into a foundation or slab.

A masonry worker needs to construct corners and align structures horizontally and vertically. He or she has the duties of filling expansion joints with the correct caulking materials. They must keep trowels, hand tools, and power tools clean.

Masonry Worker Career Video Transcript

Building with materials that are both beautiful and sturdy, masonry workers create structures that last. Masonry workers, also known as masons, use weatherproof bricks, stones, and concrete to build new homes and buildings, and to maintain the historic structures we want to preserve. Masons specialize in different materials and structures: Brickmasons and blockmasons build and repair walls, chimneys, and other structures. Some specialize in brickwork for industrial facilities that can tolerate intensely high temperatures.

Cement masons and concrete finishers lay walls and sidewalks, and form the pieces that make up heavily-used roads and buildings. Segmental pavers install interlocking brick walkways, patios, and walls. Stonemasons carefully cut and select stone to create patterns as they build walls, unique fireplaces, and building exteriors. Terrazzo workers add fine marble chips into the finish of cement or resin to create decorative walkways and floors. Masonry work is fast-paced and strenuous. It includes heavy lifting, using sharp tools, and working from scaffolds.

In addition to strength and stamina, masons need the ability to see subtle color variations and envision how stones will fit together to build attractive and stable structures. Work hours are generally full time, with some overtime to meet deadlines. Cold or rainy weather can stop work. After completing a high school education, most masons learn on the job or through a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Masonry Workers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 47-2021.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.