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Become A Finisher

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Working As A Finisher

  • 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

  • $43,080

    Average Salary

What Does A Finisher 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 Finisher

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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Finisher Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Dry Finisher 5.0 years
Drywall Finisher 4.8 years
Cement Finisher 4.7 years
Roll Finisher 4.4 years
Hand Finisher 4.3 years
Boat Finisher 4.3 years
Core Finisher 3.7 years
Concrete Finisher 3.6 years
Wood Finisher 3.5 years
Finisher Operator 3.3 years
Metal Finisher 3.2 years
Coat Finisher 3.0 years
Rod Finisher 2.6 years
Cabinet Finisher 2.4 years
Finisher 2.0 years
Wet Finisher 0.9 years
Brush Finisher 0.7 years
Tip Finisher 0.3 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 14.7%
Cook 6.3%
Manager 4.2%
Supervisor 3.8%
Painter 3.7%
Technician 3.4%
Assembler 3.4%
Teller 3.1%
Welder 3.1%
Packer 3.0%
Top Employers After
Cashier 8.6%
Foreman 5.0%
Driver 4.9%
Operator 4.8%
Welder 4.8%
Technician 4.6%
Cook 4.5%
Assembler 4.3%
Painter 4.3%
Owner 4.1%
Server 3.7%
Cleaner 3.4%
Supervisor 3.3%

Do you work as a Finisher?

Finisher Demographics

Gender

Male

68.9%

Female

29.7%

Unknown

1.3%
Ethnicity

White

67.2%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

3.1%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.7%

French

8.8%

Polish

4.4%

Chinese

2.9%

Carrier

2.9%

Mandarin

2.9%

German

1.5%

Hawaiian

1.5%

Braille

1.5%

Cantonese

1.5%

Venetian

1.5%

Dakota

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Hmong

1.5%

Italian

1.5%
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Finisher Education

Schools

Southwest Tennessee Community College

11.4%

Kirkwood Community College

7.9%

University of Phoenix

7.1%

Ashford University

5.7%

Madison Area Technical College

5.7%

Kent State University

5.7%

Kaplan University

5.7%

Fox Valley Technical College

5.0%

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

4.3%

The Academy

4.3%

Northwest Mississippi Community College

4.3%

Hawkeye Community College

4.3%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.6%

Minnesota School of Business

3.6%

Valencia College

3.6%

Western Illinois University

3.6%

Community College of Vermont

3.6%

Three Rivers Community College

3.6%

Erie Community College

3.6%

Moraine Park Technical College

3.6%
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Majors

Business

19.6%

General Studies

8.3%

Criminal Justice

6.8%

Precision Metal Working

6.6%

Automotive Technology

6.1%

Accounting

5.0%

Nursing

4.4%

Industrial Technology

4.1%

Graphic Design

4.0%

Psychology

3.7%

Health Care Administration

3.7%

Computer Science

3.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.4%

Fine Arts

3.2%

Electrical Engineering

3.2%

Education

3.1%

Medical Assisting Services

3.0%

Culinary Arts

2.8%

Management

2.8%

Information Technology

2.5%
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Degrees

Other

46.8%

Bachelors

18.3%

Associate

18.0%

Certificate

10.2%

Diploma

3.7%

Masters

2.1%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Real Finisher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Digital Illustrator/Finisher BLT Communications LLC Los Angeles, CA Jan 09, 2016 $100,000
Digital Illustrator/Finisher BLT Communications LLC Los Angeles, CA Dec 31, 2015 $100,000
Digital Illustrator/Finisher BLT Communications LLC Los Angeles, CA Dec 20, 2013 $95,000
Motion Graphic Finisher Trailer Park Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jun 11, 2015 $80,000 -
$100,000
Plaster Finisher H and H Tile and Plaster of Austin, Ltd Dripping Springs, TX Mar 09, 2016 $42,116
Finisher Quality Paving Company CO Nov 28, 2007 $37,566
Plaster Finisher H & H Tile and Plaster of Austin, Ltd TX Apr 01, 2015 $36,606
Finisher Columbine Hills Concrete Inc. Silverthorne, CO Feb 13, 2008 $36,376
Plaster Finisher Baires Pool Plastering LLC Plainfield, NJ Nov 03, 2010 $34,436
Finisher Columbine Hills Concrete Inc. Silverthorne, CO Feb 15, 2008 $34,436
Plaster Finisher H & H Tile and Plaster of Austin, Ltd TX Apr 16, 2014 $33,246
Shotcrete Finisher Aquatic Designs, Inc. NC Sep 05, 2014 $33,016
Finisher Columbine Hills Concrete Inc. Silverthorne, CO Jun 04, 2008 $32,349
Finisher Columbine Hills Concrete Inc. Silverthorne, CO Feb 14, 2008 $32,349
Finisher Quality Paving Company CO Oct 18, 2007 $29,218
Woodwork Finisher Martinez Millwork, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 10, 2015 $27,269
Finisher Dream Renovations, LLC GA Feb 11, 2015 $27,152
Finisher ROU Full Services Painting, LLC. Norcross, GA Apr 01, 2015 $27,152
Custom Shutter Finishers Sunrise Wood Products, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 10, 2010 $26,125
Custom Shutter Finishers Sunrise Wood Products, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 04, 2010 $26,125
Finisher Freeland Foundation, Inc. Fairplay, CO Dec 09, 2010 $25,044
Laborer/Finisher Milcon Concrete, Inc. Troy, OH Oct 16, 2007 $25,044
Laborer/Finisher Milcon Concrete, Inc. Troy, OH Oct 10, 2007 $25,044
Laborer/Finisher Milcon Concrete, Inc. Troy, OH Oct 03, 2007 $25,044
Laborers/Finishers Milcon Concrete, Inc. Troy, OH Oct 03, 2007 $25,044
Laborers/Finishers Milcon Concrete, Inc. Troy, OH Oct 12, 2007 $25,044
Laborers/Finishers Milcon Concrete, Inc. Troy, OH Oct 05, 2007 $25,044

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Top Skills for A Finisher

CabinetPartsSandSafetyGuidelinesHandToolsStainFinishDrywallCustomerServiceDonutsPrepJobSiteResponsibilitiesiPackageWashGeneralLaborSheetrockSealBobcatMoldAssemblyLineLaid

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  1. Cabinet Parts
  2. Sand
  3. Safety Guidelines
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed sanding, grinding, cleaning, bonding, assembling, and masking of a variety of parts or assemblies.
  • Maintained a clean and safe place for customers and teammates by following safety guidelines.
  • Construct erect, install and repair structures and fixtures of wood, plywood and wallboard using carpenters hand tools and power tools
  • Applied customized finishes to cabinetry, including distressing, staining, sealing, sanding, spraying varnishes, and glazing.
  • Demolish and retro-fit commercial spaces* Hang and finish drywall

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Top Finisher Employers

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Finisher Videos

How to apply Angelus Matte Acrylic Finisher.

Career Advice on becoming a Print Finisher by Scott M (Full Version)

How To: Become A Better Finisher | Quick Finishing Drill | Pro Training