Do you enjoy working in construction? Are you especially interested in working with concrete? A career as a concrete finisher might be for you. Read on to learn more about career and education options.
A concrete finisher performs the final tasks required to complete concrete projects. After concrete is placed and prepped for completion, the concrete finisher uses special tools to edge, joint and smooth the surface. These steps help prevent cracking and give the concrete a finished look. Cement masons are concrete professionals who might also be tasked with concrete finishing, in addition to their other job duties of placing the initial concrete and monitoring the overall concrete project.
Working as a concrete finisher, you can expect most of your work to be outside. Possessing a high level of physical stamina and the ability to work in different climates can help you in this work. You may be able to enter this field through an apprenticeship. Employers who hire apprentices seek those who are a minimum of 18 years of ages and in good health. You should also have a valid driver's license.
Related careers include segmental pavers, terrazzo workers and terrazzo finishers, all of whom work with various types of pavement and concrete finishing techniques. If you want to further your career opportunities, you could seek additional training and become a masonry contractor. You might also choose to pursue a management position in a construction company and become a construction manager or specialize in inspecting buildings and be a building inspector. Another career option that requires some knowledge of concrete work is a contract estimator.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities should be good for cement masons and concrete finishers (www.bls.gov). The BLS expected employment of cement masons and concrete finishers, as well as segmental pavers and terrazzo workers, to increase 13% from 2008-2018. In May 2010, cement masons and concrete finishers earned an average annual salary of $39,290, noted the BLS. Segmental pavers earned $32,480, and terrazzo workers earned $41,530 that same year.
In addition to on-the-job training opportunities, those looking for a career as a concrete finisher can enroll in an apprenticeship program. Concrete finisher apprenticeships are conducted at community colleges and technical schools. These types of programs might be called a concrete finisher apprenticeship, carpentry-concrete apprenticeship or a cement mason-concrete finisher apprenticeship. They include a for-credit apprenticeship with a local business and coursework that teaches you skills of the trade.
A concrete finisher program often takes three years to complete, including the time spent as an apprentice. Its classes are mostly focused around concrete technology. At its completion, your skills will include blue print reading, job safety, surface treating and concrete architectural finishes.
If you want to enter other careers related to concrete work, you might consider enrolling in a construction undergraduate degree program. Programs like an associate degree in construction management technology or a bachelor's degree in construction technology offer another avenue into concrete work. Related distance learning programs, such as online courses in building inspection, might also be of interest.