Should you become a mason or bricklayer? Possibly so. After investigation, many people find that masonry is fascinating and rewarding, and indeed the kind of job that becomes more than a job, it becomes a lifelong career.
Stone masonry is one of the oldest trades known to man, there have been people cutting or building with stones or bricks since humans could use tools. There is evidence of stone masonry all over the world, from China to Europe to our own Native American people.
What would you do if you had one of these professions? Basically you would use rock or stone to build structures. Quite often masons or bricklaying use mortar to secure the stones or bricks to each other, but there is a branch of masonry that does not use mortar.Stone cutting is another speciality, almost like sculpture. Common structures that are built include stone houses, stone walls – like the Great Wall in China, and stone paths. Stone is enduring, once you make something as a mason you will have the pride of knowing that it will be around for decades, maybe even hundreds of years.
Masonry is not a profession for the ignorant or unskilled, you need to be able to do math, think creatively and manipulate materials to be able to pull it off. That challenge however, is part of the joy of the field.
The road to become a mason or bricklayer is often not as straight forward as other fields, where you just attend a college and follow the proscribed course that is laid out for you. That is because masonry is a trade, and the easiest way to learn to become a stonemason or blockmason is to find an apprenticeship. Having said that, it is important to realize that many unions have set up masonry institutes to help teach these skills. One of the best ways to find how to get started in this is to talk to a bricklayer in your area.
The job prospects for people in these trades is excellent: the Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that there will be a 40 percent growth in the masons needed between the years of 2010 and 2020, which is much, much more than other fields. Jobs as stoneworkers usually pay over twenty dollars an hour, and there is steady work. You can make more if you own your own business or get specialized in areas such as restoration work.
In the past, these trades were a boys only club – but the trades have opened to women, and stone masonry is no exception.
If you are interested in a field that will keep you stimulated, always learning, and reliably paid becoming a stoneworker could be exactly what you need to do.