Brickmason Job Description
Brickmasons (also called bricklayers) build and repair any structure that's made of brick. Examples of projects that a brickmason might work on include fireplaces, chimneys, walkways, home exteriors, and walls.
In order to accurately build an architect's design, brickmasons need to have a strong background in geometry. Precision is an incredibly important part of this job, and being off by the smallest amounts can cause complications in a project.
Responsibilities for brickmasons include:
- Reading and interpreting blueprints.
- Measuring distance from reference points to ensure that bricks are placed in the correct places.
- Laying and aligning bricks.
- Using geometry and other math skills to calculate angles and courses to determine alignment.
Work Environment and Schedule
The majority of a brickmason's work is done outside, which puts the quality of their working day in the hands of mother nature. Work must often be stopped when it's cold or rainy, which can delay projects and limit the amount of work that can be done during the winter.
Most brickmasons work on residential construction projects, but because of trends in architecture, nonresidential work is becoming more common.
The work that brickmasons do can be very physically demanding. Lifting and transporting bricks can result in muscle strains, and performing repetitive movements for extended periods of time can lead to injuries. Remaining in good physical shape can reduce the risk of being injured on the job.
About one third of brickmasons are self-employed, which gives them some flexibility in their working schedules. However, they still have to work around the schedules of their clients, which may include meeting with them on nights and weekends.
Since construction is a deadline-driven industry, brickmasons are sometimes required to work very long hours to complete their projects on time.
How to Become a Brickmason
Most brickmasons learn their trade through apprenticeships, which last between 3 and 4 years. In an apprenticeships, apprentices learn by working with an experienced brickmason. Every year of an apprenticeship must include 2,000 hours of paid on the job training, as well as 144 hours of technical instruction.
Not all brickmasons learn their trade through apprenticeships, though. Some receive informal on the job training, while others take a course in masonry at a technical college.
If you're still in high school and you're considering a career as a brickmason, developing a good background in math or shop will be very useful. If your school offers any courses in drafting, those would be very advantageous as well.
There are currently 89,200 brickmasons in the United States, with 5,450 new brickmason job openings created each year.
Brickmason jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Salaries by State
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Brickmason salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most brickmasons make between $36,200 - $62,500 per year, or $17.42 - $30.06 per hour.