Bricklayers and Stonemasons
There are approximately 63,930 brickmasons and blockmasons and 12,310 stonemasons employed in the United States. Bricklayers and stonemasons work in the building industry for such companies as general contractors or specific building contractors, both large and small. Jobs are available across the country but are concentrated in city areas. Those who are skilled in business matters can start their own companies or be contractors; about 10 percent of masonry workers, including bricklayers and stonemasons, are self-employed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The two main ways that people start out in these fields are through formal apprenticeship programs and as helpers or laborers who gradually learn their skills on the job. Helper jobs can be found through employment Web sites and newspaper want ads. If you want to apply for an apprenticeship, you can get more information from local contractors, the state employment service, and the local office of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. The Home Builders Institute can also be of help.
Another option may be to enter a bricklaying program at a vocational school. Such a program combines classroom instruction with work experience. If you've taken classes at a vocational school, the career services office there may be able to help you find a job.
Bricklayers and stonemasons with enough skill and experience may advance to supervisory positions. Some union contracts require a supervisor if three or more workers are employed on a job.
Supervisors sometimes become superintendents at large construction sites. With additional technical training, bricklayers and stonemasons may become cost estimators. Cost estimators look at building plans, obtain quotations on masonry material, and prepare and submit bids on the costs of doing the proposed job. Another possible advancement is to become a city or county inspector who checks to see if the work done by contractors meets local building code regulations. Some bricklayers and stonemasons go into business for themselves as contractors.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Join the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers to increase your chances of landing a job and receiving fair pay for your work.
Talk with bricklayers and stonemasons about their careers. Ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.