Bureau of Labor Statistics

Masonry Workers

brickmasons blockmasons and stonemasons image
Masons construct walls using bricks, blocks, and stones.
Quick Facts: Masonry Workers
2020 Median Pay $47,710 per year
$22.94 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education See How to Become One
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training See How to Become One
Number of Jobs, 2020 280,600
Job Outlook, 2020-30 -2% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2020-30 -6,000

Summary

What Masonry Workers Do

Masonry workers use bricks, concrete and concrete blocks, and natural and manmade stones to build structures.

Work Environment

Masonry work is physically demanding, requiring heavy lifting and long periods of standing, kneeling, and bending. Most masons work full time.

How to Become a Masonry Worker

Masons typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and learn the trade either through an apprenticeship or on the job.

Pay

The median annual wage for masonry workers was $47,710 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of masonry workers is projected to decline 2 percent from 2020 to 2030.

Despite declining employment, about 24,600 openings for masonry workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for masonry workers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of masonry workers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about masonry workers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Masonry Workers Do

Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons
Masons clean excess mortar with trowels and other hand tools.

Masonry workers, also known as masons, use bricks, concrete and concrete blocks, and natural and manmade stones to build walkways, walls, and other structures.

Duties

Masons typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints or drawings to calculate materials needed
  • Lay out patterns, forms, or foundations according to plans
  • Break or cut materials to required size
  • Mix mortar or grout and spread it onto a slab or foundation
  • Clean excess mortar with trowels and other handtools
  • Construct masonry walls
  • Align structures, using levels and plumbs
  • Clean and polish surfaces with handtools or power tools
  • Fill expansion joints with caulking materials
  • Lay out and install rainscreen water systems

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.

The following are examples of types of masons:

Brickmasons and blockmasons—often called bricklayers—build and repair walls, fireplaces, and other structures with brick, terra cotta, precast masonry panels, concrete block, and other masonry materials. Pointing, cleaning, and caulking workers are brickmasons who repair brickwork, particularly on older structures. Refractory masons are brickmasons who specialize in installing heat- and fire-resistant masonry materials in high-temperature areas such as boilers, furnaces, and soaking pits in industrial buildings.

Cement masonsandconcrete finishers place and finish concrete. They may color concrete surfaces, expose small stones in walls and sidewalks, or make concrete beams, columns, and panels. Throughout the process of pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete, cement masons use their knowledge of how conditions may affect concrete and take steps to prevent defects. On small jobs, such as constructing sidewalks, cement masons may use a supportive wire mesh called a lath. On large jobs, such as constructing building foundations, reinforcing iron and rebar workers install the reinforcing mesh.

Stonemasons build stone walls and set stone exteriors and floors. They work with two types of stone: natural-cut stone, such as marble, granite, and limestone; and artificial stone, made from concrete, marble chips, or other masonry materials. Using a special hammer or a diamond-blade saw, workers cut stone into various shapes and sizes. Some stonemasons specialize in setting marble, which is similar to setting large pieces of stone.

Terrazzo workers and finishers, also known as terrazzo masons, create decorative walkways, floors, patios, and panels. Much of the preliminary work of pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete for terrazzo is similar to that of cement masons. Terrazzo workers create decorative finishes by blending fine marble chips into the epoxy, resin, or cement, which is often colored. Once the terrazzo is thoroughly set, workers correct imperfections with a grinder. Terrazzo workers also install decorative microtoppings or polishing compounds to new or existing concrete.

Work Environment

Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons
Masons typically work outdoors.

Masonry workers held about 280,600 jobs in 2020. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up masonry workers was distributed as follows:

Cement masons and concrete finishers 194,100
Brickmasons and blockmasons 69,600
Stonemasons 13,900
Terrazzo workers and finishers 3,000

The largest employers of masonry workers were as follows:

Poured concrete foundation and structure contractors 29%
Masonry contractors 21
Construction of buildings 12
Heavy and civil engineering construction 7
Self-employed workers 6

As with many other construction occupations, masonry work is strenuous. Masons often lift heavy materials and stand, kneel, and bend for long periods. The work may be either indoors or outdoors in areas that are dusty, dirty, or muddy. Inclement weather may affect outdoor masonry work.

Injuries and Illnesses

Brickmasons and blockmasons risk injury on the job. Cuts are common, as are injuries occurring from falls and being struck by objects. To avoid injury, workers wear protective gear such as hardhats, safety glasses, high-visibility vests, and harnesses and other apparel to prevent falls.

Work Schedules

Most masons work full time, and some work overtime to meet construction deadlines. Masons work mostly outdoors, so inclement weather may affect their schedules. Terrazzo masons may need to work hours that differ from a regular business schedule, to avoid disrupting normal operations.

How to Become a Masonry Worker

Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons
Apprentices learn by working with experienced masons.

Masons typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and learn the trade either through an apprenticeship or on the job.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to enter the occupation.

Many technical schools offer programs in masonry. These programs operate both independently and in conjunction with apprenticeship training.

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.

The Home Builders Institute and the International Masonry Institute offer pre-apprenticeship training programs for eight construction trades, including masonry.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some workers start out as construction laborers and helpers before becoming masons.

Advancement

After becoming a journey worker, masonry workers may find opportunities to advance to supervisor, superintendent, or other construction management positions. Experienced masonry workers may choose to become independent contractors. Masonry workers in a union may also find opportunities for advancement within their union.

Important Qualities

Ability to work at heights. Masonry workers often use scaffolding, so they should be comfortable working at heights.

Color vision. Masonry workers need to be able to distinguish between small variations in color when setting terrazzo patterns in order to produce the best looking finish.

Dexterity. Masonry workers must be able to place bricks, stones, and other materials with precision.

Hand–eye coordination. Masonry workers need to apply smooth, even layers of mortar; set bricks; and remove any excess before the mortar hardens.

Physical stamina. Masonry workers must keep up a steady pace while setting bricks, and the constant lifting can be tiring.

Physical strength. Masonry workers should be able to lift more than 50 pounds. They carry heavy tools, equipment, and other materials, such as bags of mortar and grout.

Pay

Masonry Workers

Median annual wages, May 2020

Masonry workers

$47,710

Construction trades workers

$47,480

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for masonry workers was $47,710 in May 2020. 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 $31,580, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,640.

Median annual wages for masonry workers in May 2020 were as follows:

Brickmasons and blockmasons $55,080
Terrazzo workers and finishers 51,430
Cement masons and concrete finishers 46,000
Stonemasons 43,650

In May 2020, the median annual wages for masonry workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Masonry contractors $52,780
Construction of buildings 50,130
Poured concrete foundation and structure contractors 46,170
Heavy and civil engineering construction 44,630

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.

Job Outlook

Masonry Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Total, all occupations

8%

Construction trades workers

5%

Masonry workers

-2%

 

Overall employment of masonry workers is projected to decline 2 percent from 2020 to 2030.

Despite declining employment, about 24,600 openings for masonry workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

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.

Employment projections data for masonry workers, 2020-30

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Masonry workers

SOC Code
Employment, 2020280,600
Projected Employment, 2030274,600
Percent Change, 2020-30-2
Numeric Change, 2020-30-6,000
Employment by Industry
Occupational Title

Brickmasons and blockmasons

SOC Code47-2021
Employment, 202069,600
Projected Employment, 203065,900
Percent Change, 2020-30-5
Numeric Change, 2020-30-3,700
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Stonemasons

SOC Code47-2022
Employment, 202013,900
Projected Employment, 203013,700
Percent Change, 2020-30-1
Numeric Change, 2020-30-200
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Cement masons and concrete finishers

SOC Code47-2051
Employment, 2020194,100
Projected Employment, 2030192,200
Percent Change, 2020-30-1
Numeric Change, 2020-30-1,900
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Terrazzo workers and finishers

SOC Code47-2053
Employment, 20203,000
Projected Employment, 20302,700
Percent Change, 2020-30-8
Numeric Change, 2020-30-300
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of masonry workers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Carpenters Carpenters

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

High school diploma or equivalent $49,520
Construction laborers and helpers Construction Laborers and Helpers

Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.

See How to Become One $37,080
Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers Drywall Installers, Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboard and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboard for painting.

No formal educational credential $48,830
Glaziers Glaziers

Glaziers install glass in windows, skylights, and other fixtures in buildings.

High school diploma or equivalent $46,080
Insulation workers Insulation Workers

Insulation workers install and replace the materials used to insulate buildings or mechanical systems.

See How to Become One $45,820
Structural iron and steel workers Ironworkers

Ironworkers install structural and reinforcing iron and steel to form and support buildings, bridges, and roads.

High school diploma or equivalent $53,210
Tile and marble setters Flooring Installers and Tile and Stone Setters

Flooring installers and tile and stone setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, tile, and other materials.

No formal educational credential $43,210

Contacts for More Info

For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities for masonry workers, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local contractors or firms that employ masons, or local union–management apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor's Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.

For more information about training for masons, visit

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers International Union

Home Builders Institute

International Masonry Institute

Mason Contractors Association of America

National Association of Home Builders

NCCER

Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association

The Associated General Contractors of America

The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association

O*NET

Brickmasons and Blockmasons

Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers

Stonemasons

Terrazzo Workers and Finishers

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Masonry Workers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/brickmasons-blockmasons-and-stonemasons.htm (visited October 05, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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