How to Become a Mason

People aspiring to become a mason can look forward to a promising career as the construction industry is an ever growing industry that is meant to meet the continued building needs of homeowners as well as the commercial world. In fact, there are  tremendous job opportunities, for all types of masons, coming into the construction sector in the coming years.

Types of Masons

There are Brick Masons, Block Masons, Stonemasons and Cement Masons and each category of masons has serious responsibility to contribute to making a building last long and possess aesthetic interiors and exteriors.

The nature of work of brick masons and block masons is building as well as repairing walls, exteriors, walkways, floors, hearths, and all such similar structures using brick, pre-cast masonry panels, concrete block, and like masonry materials. Brick masons are also in demand for installing firebrick linings in industrial boilers, refractory and other types of furnaces.

Stonemasons generally work at commercial and prestigious buildings where they construct floors, partitions, fences, walls, or exteriors. They are adepts at using different types of stones - granite, limestone, and marble as well as manmade stone made from concrete, bits of marble, etc.  Stonemasons are provided with detailed blueprints with number for each individual stone.

Cement masons predominantly deal with cement and concrete. They are required to build wooden and plastic forms to shape concrete into panels, pillars, beams and platforms. These shapes made by Cement masons are meant for foundations, porches, patios and driveways for residential as well as commercial complexes. Cement masons are responsible for coating floors with epoxy and latex and applying different tints to cement to enhance aesthetics.

Qualification and Training

No formal school education is needed to become a mason – though some course in blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, basic mathematics, sketching and drawing is recommended. A budding mason is expected to acquire on-the-job training for a couple of years to gain expertise.  

Some choose to attend vocational schools or industrial training institutes but most of them start their career as formal apprentices and receive the most comprehensive hands-on training. Some people take courses preparatory to employment and some take them later in their career as part of on-the-job training.

Work Environment

The job of Masons demand a lot physical stamina and they have to also work on scaffolds and often have to lift heavy materials. Common occupational hazards include extreme fatigue, injuries from tools and accidental falls from scaffolds. Many masons work a standard 40-hour per week, though some work for longer hours if a building project has to be completed within stipulated timeframe. The essential traits in masons are reliability, dedication and committed work ethic.

Career path

Experienced and skilled masons can look forward to occupying supervisory positions through extra training and the more confident ones can even venture into own businesses. It is reported that about 27 percent of masons are self-employed and earning well. Alternately, many masons become construction managers or building inspectors. Career prospects are indeed promising for masons who are thoroughly trained and can work on complex structures.