Cement Mason Job Description
Cement masons level and smooth wet concrete using hand and power tools. They work on many different types of projects, but some of the most common include building foundations, floors and sidewalks.
Before the concrete can be poured by construction laborers, cement masons have to create forms from wood or plastic. These forms establish the boundaries that the concrete will fill, so the depth and height have to be very precise. A small mistake can cause complications in a project down the road.
After the laborers pour the concrete into the forms, cement masons have to spread and smooth it using tools like screeds, trowels, and floats. Sometimes, they use machines to remove air pockets from the concrete.
Once the concrete is dry, the pouring forms have to be removed. This can sometimes damage the concrete, so masons have to go back and repair any damaged areas before finishing the concrete.
Finishing concrete normally entails smoothing out any bumps or rough spots, and then applying a cement mixture to produce a smooth finish.
Work Environment and Schedule
This is a physically demanding occupation. Because most of the surfaces they work on are on the ground level, cement masons have to kneel and bend for long periods of time. Keeping yourself in good physical shape can help reduce the risk of injury.
Cement masons spend most of their time working outside, so their working environment is just about entirely dependent on the weather.
The weather can be a source of stress in this occupation sometimes. When it’s too hot or cold, work normally has to be postponed until the weather improves. This can result in delays in project delays.
In some geographic areas, work for cement masons can be very seasonal. For example, cement masons may only be able to work during spring and summer months in areas that get a lot of snow in the fall and winter.
The majority of cement masons work full time, and there are some opportunities for self-employment. Self-employed cement masons are often able to work a more flexible schedule, but are still largely at the mercy of their client’s time requirements.
How to Become a Cement Mason
The majority of cement masons learn their trade through on the job training.
Entry level training teaches workers how to use the equipment and materials they will need to use on the job. They normally start out by learning to perform basic tasks like edging and smoothing concrete. With time and experience, they move on to more complex tasks.
On the job training isn’t the only way you can learn to be a cement mason, though. Many learn their trade through formal apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships for cement masons usually last three years. Each year, apprentices have to complete 144 hours of technical classroom training, and 2,000 of paid on the job training.
Apprenticeships are valuable for both the apprentice and the person employing them. Apprentices get to learn a valuable trade, and the employer gets to have an employee at a discounted rate in exchange for the training.
To get an apprenticeship, you will have to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
There are currently 144,700 cement masons in the United States, with 7,290 new cement mason job openings created each year.
Cement Mason jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Cement Mason Salaries
Cement Mason salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most cement masons make between $28,200 – $46,700 per year, or $13.56 – $22.44 per hour.