Becoming a cement mason can be an exciting job for people who enjoy building with their hands and providing for customer needs. Cement masonry is not an easy job to do because it takes a great deal of hands-on learning to perfect. At the same time, people in this business also have to work on building their clientele, which means you will be spending time developing a business. For those people who build their own business, the earning potential can be almost limitless.
The job of a cement mason, according to the Department of Workforce Development for the state of Wisconsin, is a position in which individuals create concrete surfaces for a variety of environments. This includes finishing patios, sidewalks, working on dams, creating floors, paving highways, and even handling airport runways. Both commercial and residential work is done through these agencies.
Tasks for those in this position include leveling concrete, finishing and curing concrete, cutting, repairing, and resurfacing concrete, creating architectural finishes, and imprinting concrete in a variety of ways. Additionally, these individuals need to be able to read blueprints in order to achieve the customer’s desired goals and outcomes. The job includes not only laying concrete but maintaining and repairing it as needed.
Requirements and Qualifications
People who want to become a cement mason will need to enroll in an apprenticeship program. In some states, there are requirements for individuals to complete this type of education before they can work alone in the industry.
To work in this field, individuals will spend some time working alongside other professionals in the industry. In most cases, this type of training is on the job focusing on the skills as needed. Most people will begin learning through manual labor, including building forms and pouring the concrete itself. Over time, individuals are able to improve skills and become far more specialized in their trade.
Most people will enter into a three year apprenticeship program. During this time, at least 144 hours of technical instruction is earned. Additionally, 2000 hours of paid on-the-job training is also required. In an apprenticeship program, individuals will learn skills related to mathematics, blueprint reading, safety, first aid, and building code requirements. The ultimate goal is for the individual to learn all components of the job while working in it and learning from other professionals.
Once this level of education is complete, the individual will be then known as a journey worker. This allows the individual to work on his or her own tasks. Many people are then able to join unions, associations, or open their own businesses in the field.
Though cement masonry is its own aspect of construction, some individuals may also enjoy working in construction-related industries. Others enjoy architecture, stone laying, stone work, and working as a landscaper. These tasks all require their own level of education and training, though.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that this is one job that has a much faster than expected rate of growth expected for the period ranging from 2010 through 2020. This means that during this period, about 50,700 jobs are likely to be added in this field, which is a 34 percent increase from what it was in 2010.
The agency also notes that the 2010 median pay for individuals in this field working as journey workers is $35,530 per year. This is about $17.08 per hour. Income can increase significantly for those people who are owners of their own business.
With a diverse number of jobs and tasks available to them, cement masons have plenty of job opportunities ahead of them. This is why this is a field that is growing and in demand. Skilled workers will do well here with experience.