Career Profile: Brick and Stone Mason
Imagine being part of building something like the CN Tower in Toronto or the Empire State Building in New York. Not everyone has the chance to work with something that famous, but brick and stone masons have a chance to work on all kinds of buildings. They help people find places to live, work, and go to school.
Brick and stone masons work with different kinds of materials that are part of many buildings. They might help build a brick or stone wall, install concrete steps, or build fireplaces, smokestacks, or chimneys. To do that work, they need to be able to read blueprints and to calculate how much they will need of each material for the project. For most jobs in this field, a Grade 12 education is required, although some require only Grade 8. To prepare for the work, people need mathematics courses to learn to do the calculations of the amounts of materials they need and English classes for reading and writing skills. Certification is not usually necessary, but some employers might ask for special training.
Experience with tools and construction is important in this type of job. Brick and stone masons do much of the work by hand, using hammers, chisels, and masonry saws, as well as some power tools. They put mortar between bricks and build up walls by hand, sometimes indoors and sometimes outside. The work requires some strength, but it mostly needs stamina to stand for long periods of time, to bend down and stand up, and to lift heavy objects. Some of the work can be quite complicated, especially when masons work on skyscrapers or install ornate section of outdoor walls.
Salaries for brick and stone masons usually start low, often at minimum wage. For the next five or ten years, pay can increase a lot, but after that the salary increases are usually quite slow. In Canada, the average wage is just under $26.00 per hour, although that varies from one region to another.
Finding work in this field depends on many factors. When the economy is slow, people are less likely to do much building, and this means fewer jobs for brick and stone masons. Large cities are likely to have more opportunities for people in this type of work, but also more competition. Small towns are likely to have a slower pace of life, but also not as many jobs.
One advantage for brick and stone masons is that they are likely to have skills that they can use in other types of work, such as working on road construction or similar areas. For people who are willing to work at the tops of tall buildings or to do other jobs that others might be unable or unwilling to do, finding work might be relatively easy.
Being a brick and stone mason involves many skills and abilities that you can already start to practice. Keeping yourself physically fit is important, and being able to work with your hands is essential. If you like the idea of working with brick and stone to help construct towns and cities, you can already start to practice for the future.
Apprentice Search.com. “What Does a Brick and Stone Mason Do?” http://www.apprenticesearch.com/AboutTrades/GetTradeDetails?TradeName=brick-and-stone-mason&tradeId=3
Canada Masonry Centre.com. “Building the Future: What We Do.” http://canadamasonrycentre.com/.
Manitoba Masonry Contractors’ Association. Association. “What We Do.” http://www.manitobamasonry.ca/content.php?navigation_id=2289.
Payscale.com. “Stonemason: Hourly Rate.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Stonemason/Hourly_Rate.