Construction masonry utilizes physical strength and skills in setting and preparing concrete. If you like working with your hands and seeing the results of your work, then perhaps you might be interested in working as a construction mason.
Construction masonry workers prepare and set concrete for the building of structures, roads, bridges and other construction projects. Masons spread and level concrete after it is poured, ensuring it sets to plan specifications. Construction masons monitor weather and temperature to adjust the curing procedures as necessary. Some construction masons may also find work as bricklayers. If you'd like to work as a construction mason, blueprint reading and mathematics skills are necessary. You should be able to work both independently and as part of a team. Physical fitness is also important.
Construction masons made a median annual income of $35,450 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The highest paid masons were generally the most experienced. Construction masons usually work a 40-hour workweek, although weather and coordination with other stages of the construction project can increase or reduce work time. Construction masons may advance to construction manager, site supervisor, building inspector and cost estimator with enough training and experience.
Many construction masons learn their craft on the job, but you usually need at least a high school education. Trainees begin with simple tasks such as smoothing fresh concrete. If you complete masonry training, you can learn to place concrete, level it and finish it without assistance. If you choose a mason apprenticeship, you learn skills in cost assessment and layout plans, in addition to the typical masonry skills taught to trainees.
You can also enroll in a formal training or certificate program. Coursework in a certificate or training program normally takes one year to complete, in addition to the practical and hands-on training you need. Masons usually take a variety of general construction courses such as blueprint reading, construction safety and principles of stonework. You can start preparing for a career in construction masonry through high school courses in geometry and algebra. A degree in construction technology can also be useful if you hope to advance to other construction careers.