Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons (masons) held about 104,100 jobs in 2018, of which 50 percent were employed in the masonry contractors industry. About 28 percent were self-employed. Many self-employed contractors work on small jobs, such as residential patios, walkways, and fireplaces.
Although most masons work in residential construction, work in nonresidential construction is growing because most nonresidential buildings are now built with walls made of some combination of concrete block, brick veneer, stone, granite, marble, tile, and glass.
As with many other construction occupations, the work is physically demanding. Masons often lift heavy materials and stand, kneel, and bend for long periods.
Because they usually work outdoors, poor weather conditions may reduce work activity.
Injuries and Illnesses
Brickmasons and blockmasons have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Common injuries include muscle strains from lifting heavy materials, as well as cuts from tools and falls from scaffolds.
Although most masons work full time, some work longer hours to meet construction deadlines. However, because they primarily work outdoors, masons may have to stop work in extreme cold or rainy weather. Nonetheless, processes and materials have been developed that allow masons to work in a greater variety of weather conditions than in the past.
Self-employed workers may be able to set their own schedule.
Although most brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons (masons) learn through an apprenticeship, some learn their skills on the job. Others learn through mason programs at technical schools.
A high school diploma or equivalent is required for all masons. High school courses in English, mathematics, mechanical drawing, and shop are considered useful.
Many technical schools offer programs in basic masonry. These programs operate both independently and in conjunction with apprenticeship training. The credits earned as part of an apprenticeship program usually count toward an associate’s degree. Some people take courses before being hired, and some take them later as part of on-the-job 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.
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons (masons) typically have an interest in the Building interest area, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things.
If you are not sure whether you have a Building interest which might fit with a career as a brickmason, blockmason, and stonemason (mason), you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons (masons) should also possess the following specific qualities:
Hand-eye coordination. Workers must be able to apply smooth, even layers of mortar, set bricks, and remove any excess before the mortar hardens.
Math skills. Knowledge of math—including measurement, volume, and mixing proportions—is important in this trade.
Physical stamina. Brickmasons must keep a steady pace while setting bricks all day. Although no individual brick is extremely heavy, the constant lifting can be tiring.
Physical strength. Workers must be strong enough to lift blocks that sometimes weigh more than 40 pounds. They must also carry heavy tools, equipment, and other materials, such as bags of mortar and grout.
Visualization. Stonemasons must be able to see how stones fit together to build attractive and stable structures.
The median annual wage for masonry workers overall was $46,500 in May 2019. The median annual wage for brickmasons and blockmasons was $53,100 in May 2019. The median annual wage for stonemasons was $43,280 in May 2019.
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.
Overall employment of masonry workers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Although employment growth will vary by occupation, it will be driven by the demands of a growing population for more commercial, public, and civil construction projects, such as new roads, bridges, and buildings.
Employment of brickmasons and block masons is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Population growth will result in the construction of more schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, and other structures, many of which are made of brick and block. In addition, masons will be needed to restore other kinds of brick buildings.
Employment of stonemasons is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
About 35,500 openings for masonry workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
Many of 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.
Overall job prospects should be good as construction activity continues to grow to meet the demand for new buildings and roads. Workers with construction experience should have the best opportunities.
As with many other construction workers, employment of masons is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy. On the one hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, during peak periods of building activity some areas may require additional number of these workers.
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 information about training for brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons, visit