Cement masons perform specialized masonry work with finished concrete, which is generally done outdoors on construction locations.
Work as a cement mason is often seasonal and usually physically demanding. Necessary skills include a working knowledge of building codes and the properties of cement, including how changing weather conditions may affect various pouring, working and setting operations.
Commercial projects can take years and may require specialized skills. For instance, cement masons doing ornamental finished work must have design skills. On the other hand, simple domestic projects may only require a few days to complete.
Cement masons need to be capable of following detailed directions to make intricate building components. They have to be able to work rapidly in order to effectively to pour and shape concrete. Essentially, these professionals have to do it correctly the first time.
The typical workday involves pouring wet cement into various forms to create foundations, sidewalks, roads and curbs. After the concrete is poured, it needs to be smoothed out with special blades to make sure it is level. Cement masons must also use machines to fill in any air pockets by vibrating the concrete after they have poured it. They may also have to use chemicals to speed up the drying process.
Job prospects appear to be picking up as the pace of both residential and commercial building work is rebounding from the recession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted a 13 percent job growth rate through 2024.
A high school diploma or an equivalent is essential for most cement mason jobs. High school courses in math and mechanical drawing, as well as vocational education during high school are thought to be valuable in the field.
Numerous technical schools provide degrees in basic masonry. These programs function both separately and in addition to apprenticeship training. The credits attained as part of an apprenticeship program generally count toward an associate’s degree. Some individuals take courses prior to being hired, and some take them as on-the-job training.
A three to four year apprenticeship is how most masons gain their first years of experience. For each year of the program, apprentices must finish a minimum of 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. In the coming years, apprenticeships are projected to focus more on established competencies than time-in-training and hence the period of time of apprenticeships may lessen.
Apprentices are taught construction basics like blueprint reading; mixing proportions; building codes and safety and first-aid practices.
Many groups, including unions and trade associations, support apprenticeship programs. The fundamental qualifications for getting into an apprenticeship program include being at least 18 years old, having a high school or equivalent diploma and being physically capable of doing the work.
At Action Group, we have numerous open positions available at any given time, including cement mason jobs. If you’re currently looking for your next job, please contact us to see what opportunities we have in available.