Masonry workers, also known as masons, use bricks, concrete and concrete blocks, and natural and manmade stones to build walkways, walls, and other structures.
Masons build structures with brick, block, and stone, some of the most common and durable materials used in construction. They also use concrete—a mixture of cement, sand, gravel, and water—as the foundation for everything from patios and floors to dams and roads.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, The median annual wage for masonry workers was $46,500 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,250.
Median annual wages for masonry workers in May 2019 were as follows:
- Brickmasons and blockmasons $53,100
- Terrazzo workers and finishers $52,180
- Cement masons and concrete finishers $44,810
- Stonemasons $43,280
Most masons work full time, and some work overtime to meet construction deadlines. Masons work mostly outdoors, so inclement weather may affect schedules. Terrazzo masons may need to work hours that differ from a regular business schedule, to avoid disrupting normal operations.
Masonry Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of masonry workers is projected to decline 3 percent from 2019 to 2029.
Despite declining employment, about 24,800 openings for masonry workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
The employment of masons is linked to the overall demand for new building and road construction. Masonry, such as brick and stone, is still popular in both interior and exterior applications, but changes in products and installation practices are expected to decrease the need for masons. For example, fewer workers are needed to install innovations such as thin bricks, which allow buildings to have the look of brick construction at a lower cost. Additionally, the increased use of prefabricated panels will reduce the demand for most masonry workers. These panels are created offsite by either contractors or manufacturers in climate-protected environments, but fewer masons are needed to install the panels at the construction site.
Employment of terrazzo workers and finishers is expected to decline due to the increased installation of polished concrete, which will shift some work from terrazzo workers to cement masons and concrete finishers.
Education, Training & Certification
Masons typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and learn the trade either through an apprenticeship or on the job.
Many technical schools offer programs in masonry. These programs operate both independently and in conjunction with apprenticeship training.
Masons typically learn the trade through apprenticeships and on the job, working with experienced masons.
Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Apprentices learn construction basics, such as blueprint reading; mathematics for measurement; building code requirements; and safety and first-aid practices. After completing an apprenticeship program, masons are considered journey workers and are able to do tasks on their own.