What is masonry training? Masonry is a field of expertise that has been around for a long time – building homes, after all, is one of life’s necessities no matter what era it is. While there is no college degree required of a mason, having the necessary masonry training can increase the competence of a mason and make him eligible for a host of other positions in the field of masonry and construction. Because of the strenuous physical work that is required of a mason, not everyone is cut out to become one. Those who are prepared to put in some muscle to earn a living would do well in this industry. Industry forecasts remain positive for masons as construction projects are predicted to rise in the coming years. As the job requires physical strength, retirement comes earlier for masons, thus making room for more newcomers in the trade. Mason training programs are offered both in career and technical education programs, but also skills can be learned on the job through apprenticing programs.
Masonry Education and Training
Masonry classes involve on-the-job training more than classroom work. While there are some college courses that teach masons related competencies as blueprint reading or drafting, the manual skills that are important in the trade are actually learned through masonry training on-site.
Most masons learn the trade through enrolling in a three to four year apprenticeship, where for each year of the program, apprentices complete at least 144 hours of related technical instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. The goal is to learn the art of construction using hand-on experiences and classroom instruction. Masonry classes may include foundation bricklaying courses like:
- Theories in Brick Masonry
- Masonry Tools and Equipment
- Measurements, Drawings and Specifications
- Construction Techniques And Moisture Control
- Cleaning and Cleaning Bricks And Structural Tiles
- Reading Architectural Blueprints
Among the skills that are important for a mason to have include eye-hand coordination, basic math skills, and physical agility especially when external building works are involved such as those that require getting up on scaffoldings.
Some vocational schools offer courses for masonry training. These masonry courses are usually composed of two parts: The theoretical part learned in the classroom, and the practical part learned through apprenticeship. These masonry courses have proven to be comprehensive enough to train individuals in all the areas of masonry.
Stone Masonry Careers
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes brick masons, block masons, and stonemasons together. Career opportunities in masonry are abundant. This is largely because the demand for homes, buildings, and industries are expected to increase along with the growing population. As the economy springs back from recession, it is expected that construction will once again pick up to give more jobs opportunities for masons. Responsibilities include:
- Reading blueprints or drawing
- Laying out patterns and foundations
- Breaking and cutting bricks, stones, and blocks
- Mixing mortar or grout and spreading it onto slabs and foundations
- Laying bricks, blocks, or stones according to plans
- Cleaning and polishing surfaces with hand and power tools
Aside from regular construction work for residential, commercial, and industrial structures, masons could also be tasked to work on historical buildings for restoration. With extra training, an individual can move laterally through the various mason positions as well as management positions in a construction firm. With enough masonry training, a mason can even undertake to put up his own construction company where his duties will no longer involve heavy lifting, but will mostly consist of supervisory work.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
Masons are usually not permanent and regular employees. Instead of salaries, they are often paid by the hour. An individual who finishes masonry training can earn anywhere from $10 to about $40 for every hour of service. Most masons today receive about $15 to $25 per hour. In 2010, the median annual wage of brick masons and block masons was $46,930, and the median annual wage of stonemasons was $37,180. The overall employment of masons is projected to grow 40% between 2010 and 2020 (BLS).
More training and certifications will allow a mason to get a higher pay scale. It also makes it easy for a mason to cross over to related industries to become construction managers, building inspectors, or project manager. It would also be a good idea for someone who wants to train to be a mason to check out industry organizations that might provide additional masonry training for them to become more marketable and better able to demand higher pay scales.
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