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Become A Cement Mason

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Working As A Cement Mason

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $35,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Cement Mason Do

Masonry workers, also known as masons, use bricks, concrete blocks, concrete, and natural and manmade stones to build walls, walkways, fences, and other masonry structures.

Duties

Masons typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints or drawings to calculate materials needed
  • Lay out patterns, forms, or foundations according to plans
  • Break or cut materials to required size
  • Mix mortar or grout and spread it onto a slab or foundation
  • Clean excess mortar with trowels and other hand tools
  • Construct corners with a corner pole or by building a corner pyramid
  • Align structure vertically and horizontally
  • Clean and polish surfaces with hand or power tools
  • Fill expansion joints with the appropriate caulking materials

Masonry materials are some of the most common and durable materials used in construction. Brick, block, and stone structures can last for hundreds of years. Concrete—a mixture of cement, sand, gravel, and water—is the foundation for everything from decorative patios and floors to huge dams or miles of roadways.

Brickmasons and blockmasons—often called bricklayers—build and repair walls, floors, partitions, fireplaces, chimneys, and other structures with brick, terra cotta, precast masonry panels, concrete block, and other masonry materials. Pointing, cleaning, and caulking workers are brickmasons who repair brickwork, particularly on older structures on which mortar has come loose. Refractory masons are brickmasons who specialize in installing firebrick, gunite, castables, and refractory tile in high-temperature boilers, furnaces, cupolas, ladles, and soaking pits in industrial establishments.

Cement masons and concrete finishers place and finish concrete. They may color concrete surfaces, expose aggregate (small stones) in walls and sidewalks, or make concrete beams, columns, and panels. Throughout the process of pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete, cement masons must monitor how the wind, heat, or cold affects the curing of the concrete. They must have a thorough knowledge of the characteristics of concrete so that they can determine what is happening to the concrete and take measures to prevent defects. Some small jobs may require the use of a supportive wire mesh called lath. On larger jobs, reinforcing iron and rebar workers install the reinforcing mesh.

Segmental pavers—also referred to as patio pavers—install interlocking masonry walkways, driveways, and patios. Workers need to prepare the site carefully to ensure the masonry units connect properly without gaps or ridges.

Stonemasons build stone walls, as well as set stone exteriors and floors. They work with two types of stone: natural-cut stone, such as marble, granite, and limestone; and artificial stone, made from concrete, marble chips, or other masonry materials. Using a special hammer or a diamond-blade saw, workers cut stone to make various shapes and sizes. Some stonemasons specialize in setting marble, which is similar to setting large pieces of stone.

Terrazzo workers and finishers, also known as terrazzo masons, create decorative walkways, floors, patios, and panels. Much of the terrazzo preliminary work of pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete is similar to that of cement masons. Epoxy terrazzo requires less base preparation and is significantly thinner when completed. Terrazzo workers create decorative finishes by blending fine marble chips into the epoxy or cement, which is often colored. Once the terrazzo is thoroughly set, workers correct any depressions or imperfections with a grinder to create a smooth, uniform finish. Terrazzo workers also install decorative toppings and/or polishing compounds to new or existing concrete.

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How To Become A Cement Mason

Most masons have a high school diploma or equivalent and learn either on the job or through an apprenticeship program. Others learn through masonry programs at technical schools.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is required for most masons. High school courses in mathematics, mechanical drawing, and vocational education are considered useful.

Many technical schools offer programs in basic masonry. These programs operate both independently and in conjunction with apprenticeship training. The credits earned as part of an apprenticeship program usually count toward an associate’s degree. Some people take courses before being hired, and some take them later as part of on-the-job training.

Training

A 3- to 4-year apprenticeship is how most masons learn the trade. For each year of the program, apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of related technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. In the future, apprenticeships are expected to focus more on proven competencies than time-in-training and therefore the duration of apprenticeships may decrease.

Apprentices learn construction basics such as blueprint reading; mathematics, including measurement, volume, and mixing proportions; building code requirements; and safety and first-aid practices. 

Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work

Some contractors have their own training programs for masons. Although workers may enter apprenticeships directly, some masons start out as construction helpers. The Home Builders Institute and the International Masonry Institute offer pre-apprenticeship training program for eight construction trades, including masonry.

After completing an apprenticeship program, masons are considered journey workers and are able to perform tasks on their own.

Important Qualities

Color vision. Terrazzo workers must be able to distinguish between small variations in color when setting terrazzo patterns in order to produce the best looking finish.

Hand-eye coordination. Workers must be able to apply smooth, even layers of mortar, set bricks, and remove any excess before the mortar hardens.

Math skills. Cement masons use their knowledge of math—including measurement, volume, and mixing proportions—when they mix their own mortar.

Physical stamina. Brickmasons must keep a steady pace while setting bricks all day. Although no individual brick is extremely heavy, the constant lifting can be tiring.

Physical strength. Workers must be strong enough to lift more than 50 pounds. They must also carry heavy tools, equipment, and other materials, such as bags of mortar and grout.

Visualization. Stonemasons must be able to see how stones fit together in order to build attractive and stable structures.

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Cement Mason Demographics

Gender

Male

80.5%

Unknown

11.7%

Female

7.8%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

19.4%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

5.4%

Unknown

3.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

72.2%

Polish

11.1%

Dakota

5.6%

Russian

5.6%

Armenian

5.6%
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Cement Mason Education

Schools

The Academy

9.8%

University of Phoenix

8.2%

South Seattle Community College

8.2%

Umpqua Community College

8.2%

Portland Community College

6.6%

Lincoln Technical Institute

4.9%

Merced College

4.9%

American University

4.9%

Brigham Young University

4.9%

National Labor College

4.9%

Salt Lake Community College

4.9%

Central Washington University

3.3%

Lamar Institute of Technology

3.3%

Bates Technical College

3.3%

College of DuPage

3.3%

Central State University

3.3%

American River College

3.3%

Lake Superior College

3.3%

A-Technical College

3.3%

Baton Rouge Community College

3.3%
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Majors

Masonry

20.2%

Business

17.9%

Construction Management

10.7%

General Studies

7.5%

Criminal Justice

5.6%

Precision Metal Working

4.8%

Education

4.8%

Management

3.2%

Psychology

2.8%

Nursing

2.4%

Electrical Engineering

2.4%

Civil Engineering

2.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.4%

Accounting

2.4%

Drafting And Design

2.0%

Industrial Technology

2.0%

Health Care Administration

2.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.6%

Elementary Education

1.6%

Project Management

1.6%
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Degrees

Other

50.4%

Associate

18.4%

Bachelors

16.0%

Certificate

12.1%

Diploma

2.1%

Masters

0.8%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$35,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$13,000
Min 10%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$35,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
McGough
Highest Paying City
Deer Park, NY
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
4.1 years
How much does a Cement Mason make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Cement Mason in the United States is $35,311 per year or $17 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $13,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $89,000.

Real Cement Mason Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Cement Mason Supervisor M Lapczynski LLC Clifton, NJ Sep 21, 2015 $85,738
Cement Mason Abilities Unlimited Ridgecrest, CA Dec 24, 2014 $83,480 -
$108,524
Cement Mason Foreman Juana Corp., DBA Jon Del Construction Lakeside, CA Mar 08, 2016 $76,232
Cement Mason Echo Stamp and Concrete, Inc. Spring Valley, NY Jun 09, 2016 $74,318
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers Best Concrete Mix Corporation NY Feb 04, 2013 $74,318
Cement Mason Precise Construction Renovations Aliso Viejo, CA Oct 26, 2016 $63,419
Cement Mason Oakwood Construction, Inc. Newark, NJ Nov 12, 2015 $54,912
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers San's Construction Co., Inc. Nutley, NJ Feb 13, 2013 $54,533
Cement Mason & Concrete Finisher Ferraro Landscape Co., Inc. Mamaroneck, NY May 15, 2015 $53,552
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers European Masonry Contractors, Inc. Danbury, CT Aug 08, 2014 $49,213
Cement Mason and Concrete Finisher J & J Concrete Foundations, Inc. Danbury, CT Aug 04, 2015 $48,256
Cement Mason and Concrete Finisher WMC Contracting Co., Inc. Trenton, TN Dec 10, 2014 $47,237
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers WMC Contracting Co., Inc. Trenton, TN Sep 22, 2014 $47,237
Cement Mason Delta Concrete Corporation Manassas, VA Oct 03, 2016 $46,925
Cement Mason/Concrete Finisher Acme Construction, Inc. Murray, UT May 10, 2016 $41,010
Cement Masons GSI Pool Finishes, Inc. PA Mar 02, 2015 $40,655
Cement Mason American Remediation Group LLC Port Allen, LA Apr 15, 2016 $40,467
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers John Mahana Egg Harbor, NJ Nov 18, 2013 $40,165
Cement Mason Seneca Concrete Inc. Rockville, MD Apr 18, 2016 $39,437
Cement Mason Amorim Construction Corp Silver Spring, MD Mar 06, 2016 $39,437
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers Freedom Restoration, LLC Gambrills, MD May 07, 2014 $39,236
Cement Mason D & F Construction Co., Inc. Forestville, MD May 16, 2016 $38,958
Cement Mason A-1 Contractors, Inc. Wheeling, IL Nov 03, 2016 $33,613
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers Carson Concrete, Inc. ID Apr 01, 2013 $33,016
Cement Masons Espinoza Construction Company Memphis, TN Apr 13, 2016 $32,849
Cement Mason Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta Diakonia Center, Inc. Salem, SC May 05, 2016 $31,514
Cement Mason Porrazzo Corporation DBA Performance Concrete Placentia, CA Sep 11, 2015 $30,347
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers Chris Waldner and Son's Construction SD Apr 01, 2015 $30,032
Cement Mason Porrazzo Corporation DBA Performance Concrete Placentia, CA Sep 14, 2016 $30,014
Cement Mason BME & Sons, Inc. Nov 07, 2016 $29,907

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Top Skills for A Cement Mason

  1. Sidewalks
  2. Bull Float
  3. Hand Tools
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Job duties also included forming, pouring and finishing driveways, sidewalks patios, curb gutter, throats and tops.
  • Bull float to smooth the level of concrete and trial machine.
  • Concrete flat work o Utilized tools of the trade including power tools and hand tools o Followed industry standards and blue prints
  • Patch voids and use saw to cut expansion joints.
  • Conducted mason safety meetings and supported safety issues by communication with other departments within the company.

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Top 10 Best States for Cement Masons

  1. Alaska
  2. Hawaii
  3. North Dakota
  4. Missouri
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Illinois
  7. Washington
  8. Minnesota
  9. New Jersey
  10. Ohio
  • (2 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)

Top Cement Mason Employers

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