Smooth and finish surfaces of poured concrete, such as floors, walks, sidewalks, roads, or curbs using a variety of hand and power tools. Align forms for sidewalks, curbs, or gutters; patch voids; use saws to cut expansion joints.
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Average employment growth is expected, and job prospects are expected to be good, especially for those with the most experience and skills.
Employment of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers is expected to grow approximately 13 percent over the 2008–18 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Over the long run, more workers will likely be needed to build new highways, bridges, factories, and other residential and nonresidential structures to meet the demands of a growing population. Additionally, cement masons will be needed to repair and renovate existing highways and bridges and other aging structures. Additional funds for these projects are expected to come from the Federal Government, which plans to spend money on construction to stimulate the national economy by addressing necessary infrastructure repairs and renovating schools and other government buildings.
The use of concrete for buildings is increasing because its strength is an important asset in areas prone to severe weather. For example, residential construction in Florida is using more concrete as building requirements are changed in reaction to the increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Concrete use is likely to expand into other hurricane-prone areas as the durability of the Florida homes is demonstrated.
Opportunities for cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers are expected to be good, particularly for those with the most experience and skills. Employers report difficulty in finding workers with the right skills, as many qualified jobseekers often prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions. There are also expected to be a significant number of retirements over the next decade, which will create more job openings. Applicants who take masonry-related courses at technical schools will have better opportunities than those without these courses.
Employment of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. Workers in these trades may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.
Cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers held about 207,800 jobs in 2008; segmental pavers and terrazzo workers accounted for only a small portion of the total. Most cement masons and concrete finishers worked for specialty trade contractors, primarily foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors. They also worked for contractors in nonresidential and residential building construction and in heavy and civil engineering construction on projects such as highways, bridges, shopping malls, or large buildings such as factories, schools, and hospitals. A small number were employed by firms that manufacture concrete products. Most segmental pavers and terrazzo workers worked for specialty trade contractors who install decorative floors and wall panels.
Only about 5 percent of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers were self-employed, a smaller proportion than in other building trades. Most self-employed masons specialize in small jobs, such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios.
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience maybe helpful in these occupations, but usually is not needed. For example, a drywall installer could benefit from experience in installing dry wall, but an inexperienced person could learn the job fairly easily.
These occupations usually require a high school diploma and may require some vocational training or job related course work. In some cases, you may need an associate's or bachelor's degree.
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees.
Drywall installers, fire inspectors, flight attendants, pharmacy technicians, retail salespersons, and bank tellers.
In these occupations you can often use your knowledge and skills to help others.
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For information about apprenticeships and work opportunities, contact local concrete or terrazzo contractors, local offices of unions previously mentioned, a local joint union-management apprenticeship committee, or the nearest office of a State employment service or apprenticeship agency. Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor's toll-free helpline: (877) 872-5627. You may also check the U.S. Department of Labor's Web site for information on apprenticeships and links to State apprenticeship programs. Internet: http://www.doleta.gov/OA/eta_default.cfm
For general information about cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers, contact:
- Associated Builders and Contractors, Workforce Development Division, 4250 North Fairfax Dr., 9th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203-1607. Internet: http://www.trytools.org
- Associated General Contractors of America, Inc., 2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201-5426. Internet: http://www.agc.org
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, International Masonry Institute, The James Brice House, 42 East St., Annapolis, MD 21401-1731. Internet: http://www.imiweb.org
- National Center for Construction Education and Research, 3600 NW. 43rd St., Bldg. G, Gainesville, FL 32606-8127. Internet: http://www.nccer.org
- National Concrete Masonry Association, 13750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Herndon, VA 20171-4662. Internet: http://www.ncma.org
- National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, 201 North Maple, Suite 208, Purcellville, VA 20132-6102. Internet: http://www.ntma.com
- Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association of the United States and Canada, 11720 Beltsville Dr., Suite 700, Beltsville, MD 20705-3104. Internet: http://www.opcmia.org
- Portland Cement Association, 5420 Old Orchard Rd., Skokie, IL 60077-1083. Internet: http://www.cement.org
For more information about careers and training as a mason, contact:
For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article "Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket," online at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
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