How to Become a Cement Mason

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Concrete is a common material that is used for a variety of construction projects. Cement masons are trained workers that place and finish concrete for many different types of construction tasks.

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In 2015, I said goodbye to 16-hour days and hauling boxes up and down stairs for a living (I was a mover). I became a full-time entrepreneur, and I made my money by helping business owners make money.

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What does a cement mason do?

Cement masons place and finish concrete for a variety of construction projects such as buildings, sidewalks, highways, and driveways. They also help create concrete panels, columns, and beams. They typically use special forms to shape and hold the concrete until it sets. Sometimes cement masons use specific chemicals to speed up or slow down the setting time. Cement masons make sure the surfaces are smooth and they often use trowels and other tools. Some cement masons apply chemicals to tint cement to create colored surfaces. Cement masons often supervise workers that pour and spread concrete. They are responsible for monitoring how heat, cold, wind, and other conditions affect the concrete. Cement masons often work for general contractors and public works departments.

What kind of training does a cement mason need?

Cement masons usually need at least a high school diploma, and most learn their skills through on the job training. Some cement masons complete programs from vocational and technical schools and others complete apprenticeship programs that combine classroom instruction and paid on the job training. Many cement masons begin their careers as helpers to experienced workers. New cement masons learn how to properly use the required tools and equipment. Beginning workers typically start out completing simple tasks and they move on to more advanced duties as they gain skills and experience. Cement masons complete additional training as needed throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a cement mason?

Employment of cement masons is expected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 13% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increase in construction will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good, especially for cement masons with extensive experience. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace cement masons that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do cement masons make?

As of April 2010, cement masons with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $14.74 and $17.09. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average hourly rates between $15.59 and $20.35 (2).

A career as a cement mason is a great choice for people with a strong interest in performing a variety of concrete tasks. Cement masons must have a solid understanding of the characteristics of concrete and the policies and procedures related to placing and finishing concrete. Patience, physical stamina, detail orientation, and mechanical aptitude are necessary traits. Cement masons must have good communication and interpersonal skills. They must be able to effectively work independently as well as part of a team.

Joshua T Osborne

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