Skilled Trades Careers

How to Become a Mason in America in 2023

DateNovember 28, 2023
how to become a mason in america

Do you like working with your hands and crafting objects and structures that are beautiful and practical? If so, you might be interested in learning to become a mason. Masonry is a respected and complex construction trade which has existed for a long time and will remain in demand for many years to come.

Whether you envision yourself as a stone mason shaping breathtaking structures from natural materials, or a brick and block mason constructing functional and beautiful buildings, the SkillHero app can help you get started and grow your career.

Claim your free SkillHero account to join our community of students and skilled trade workers. You'll get access to opportunities, training programs, and resources specifically tailored to masonry and other skilled trades.

Sign up for your free account now, then finish reading this article so you can make a plan to kick off your career!

What is a mason and what do they do at work?

A mason is a skilled trade worker who specializes in working with materials such as bricks, stones, concrete, plaster, and tiles to construct or repair structures. Their work ranges from installing and repairing floors to crafting artistic structural elements such as walls and pillars.

Masons are responsible for measuring and cutting materials to size, mixing mortar or cement to the correct consistency, and applying it to form a strong and durable bond between the masonry units.

There are a number of trade paths available to masons with most focusing on a specific type of materials. These include stonemason, brickmason, concrete mason, marble mason, plasterer, tile mason, and general mason. Some experienced workers may have multiple specializations, or may need to work with other specialists on complex projects.

A typical day in the life of a mason begins with assessing the project at hand and planning the layout of the masonry work. They may work on various construction sites, including residential, commercial, or industrial buildings.

Once the layout is determined, masons measure and cut bricks or stones to fit the desired shape and size. Next they mix mortar or cement, using their expertise to determine the correct ratios and consistency.

Masons utilize tools such as trowels, chisels, hammers, and levels to ensure accuracy and elegance in their work. They often work in teams, collaborating with other skilled workers to complete larger projects efficiently.

Is working in masonry difficult?

Working in masonry can be challenging due to the necessity of physical fitness, construction skills, and the potential hazards involved. Masons are often required to lift heavy materials, such as bricks and stones, and work in unsavory weather conditions.

Masonry workers need physical strength, strict adherence to safety precautions, and an understanding of mortar and caulking materials and building material.

Despite the challenges, those with a passion for craftsmanship and a drive for hard work can find fulfillment and success in this field.

Because of the durable materials used in masonry, this trade plays a unique role in the construction field and has done so for thousands of years.

What's the average salary for masons?

Masons can earn a range of salaries depending on their level of expertise and several other factors.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, masons at the apprentice level earn an average salary of around $36,180 per year. As they gain experience and become journeymen, their average earnings increase to $49,490 annually. Masters with years of experience and advanced skills can earn an average salary of $82,780 or more.

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It's important to note that these figures are national averages and can vary based on other factors. For example, masons working in cities with a high cost of living such as New York or San Francisco may earn higher wages compared to those in rural areas.

Specialization within the trade, such as working with specific types of brick, stone, or concrete blocks can also impact earnings.

How to become a mason in the United States

Getting the right training and finding job opportunities can be challenging in any trade these days. The SkillHero app is designed to help potential tradespeople start and thrive in their careers, but we can only help you find the path.

Luckily the masonry industry is quite accessible for anyone who has the stamina, strength, and discipline required. Masonry doesn't require much formal education, but there are college degrees that can enhance your career if you choose to obtain one.

Get a high school diploma or equivalent credential

Having a high school diploma or equivalent credential is crucial for individuals pursuing a career in skilled trades, including masonry. This educational qualification establishes a strong foundation of knowledge and demonstrates a level of dedication and commitment to future employers.

If you don't have a high school education, alternative methods of demonstrating your knowledge are available. One popular option is to obtain a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. The GED test assesses an individual's knowledge in essential subjects and is widely recognized by employers and educational institutions.

You may find GED resources and testing centers through your local school district, community colleges, and adult education centers. These institutions often provide preparation courses to help you pass the GED exam and obtain your certificate.

Create a skilled trade resume

Creating a skilled trade resume is essential for showcasing your qualifications and landing an ideal job. Our resume builder assembles your data into a clean template and includes a database of vetted industry skills you can easily add as appropriate.

You can maximize your exposure to potential employers by applying to career opportunities on the SkillHero platform and exporting your resume as a PDF to share elsewhere.

Find an apprenticeship

Apprenticeship programs are a key for giving masonry contractors practical experience on the job. Apprenticeship training gives beginner masons the chance to learn from seasoned professionals who have years of experience in the field.

With a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction, apprentices can gain enough experience to quickly move into a specialization such as brick mason or block mason, focusing on the specific skills needed for those projects.

Completing a masonry apprenticeship gives you an industry-recognized qualification that greatly improves your employability. Many apprenticeships are likely to lead to ongoing work as a journeyman with higher pay and more responsibility.

To kickstart your career in masonry, sign up for a free SkillHero account and explore our library of resources and opportunities.

Expand and upgrade certifications

Continuing to expand and upgrade your certifications is vital in today's rapidly evolving skilled trade industries. By pursuing advanced courses and industry-specific licensing, you gain the knowledge and expertise needed to stay competitive.

Upgrading your education and gaining new certifications is an investment in yourself. It demonstrates your dedication to continuous improvement, boosting your confidence and employability. SkillHero can help you find educational openings and local events to increase your knowledge and network.

Who should become a mason?

Masonry is an ideal career path if you enjoy working with your hands, paying attention to detail, and taking pride in producing high-quality work.

You'll need both physical and mental strength to succeed in this trade. Being able to work outdoors in different weather conditions and being willing to perform physically demanding tasks is essential.

While there's lots to learn, you can start with an apprenticeship under experienced masons and earn while you learn to gain foundational skills.

Masonry offers a variety of specializations which can be highly valuable to construction companies, restoration projects, homeowners, and landlords.

If you're seeking a career that combines craftsmanship, creativity, and stability, this might be the answer. Sign up for a free SkillHero account to access everything you need to launch your career as a skilled mason.