To work as a cement mason, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent; and
- complete an apprenticeship program or moderate-term, on-the-job training.
Education after high school
Some cement masons learn their skills through apprenticeship training programs. Union and non-union apprenticeship programs are available. Admission to apprenticeship programs is competitive. To apply for an apprenticeship, you must:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- be at least 18 years old; and
- be in good physical condition.
Apprenticeship programs usually consist of four years of on-the-job training. You are paid for the time you spend on the job. In addition, each year you receive at least 144 hours of classroom training.
To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities in your area, consult the US Department of Labor State Apprenticeship Information website.
You can prepare for an apprenticeship by taking courses at a professional-technical or two-year school. Courses in carpentry, general math, and drafting prepare students to enter apprenticeship programs. However, these courses are not required to qualify for an apprenticeship.
Many masons learn their skills informally on the job. In this case, you begin as a helper and learn from an experienced worker. Training generally lasts up to one year. During training you learn to use materials, tools, and equipment; screed and trowel; and lay blocks.
Some branches of the military train people to be construction specialists. Training lasts five to eight weeks, depending on your specialty. Further training occurs on the job.