Cement Masons & Concrete Finishers

Cement Mason

Cement masons and concrete finishers work with concrete and cement to build and repair structures
Cement Mason
Have a steady hand and an eye for both detail and aesthetic quality? Cement masons are needed across America!
Why Should You Consider This Career?

Build amazing structures from the ground up, Learn a vital trade as old as time, Put your creative energy and attention to detail to use!

That's $3,300 per bi-weekly paycheck
That's 2000 new jobs in Utah per year (30% growth)
Less Physical                                         More Physical
Less Training                                          More Training
More Structure                                     Less Structure
Cement Finisher, Cement Mason, Concrete Finisher, Concrete Mason, Finisher, Mason

Cement Mason Career Guide: Salary Insights, Overview, and Steps to Join the Trade

Cement masonry is a rewarding career choice that offers stable employment and opportunities for growth. If you are considering a career as a cement mason, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and essential information to help you understand what the job entails and how to join the trade.

Overview of Cement Masons | What do Cement Masons do?

Cement masons, also known as concrete finishers, play a vital role in construction projects. They are responsible for creating a smooth and durable finish on concrete surfaces, such as floors, sidewalks, roads, and foundations. Cement masons use various tools and techniques to pour and level concrete, apply finishing treatments, and ensure that the final product meets the desired specifications.

Aside from their technical skills, cement masons must also possess physical stamina and attention to detail. They often work outdoors, exposed to different weather conditions, and may need to lift heavy materials and operate power tools.

When it comes to pouring and leveling concrete, cement masons employ a range of specialized tools and equipment. These may include screeds, which are long, straight boards used to smooth and level the surface of freshly poured concrete. Trowels, on the other hand, are hand-held tools with flat, rectangular blades that are used to finish and smooth the surface of the concrete. Cement masons also use floats, which are large, flat tools made of wood, aluminum, or magnesium, to further refine the surface and remove any imperfections.

Applying finishing treatments is another important aspect of a cement mason's job. They may use techniques such as brooming, where a broom is dragged across the surface of the concrete to create a textured finish, or stamping, which involves pressing patterns or designs into the concrete to give it a decorative appearance. In addition, cement masons may apply coatings or sealants to protect the concrete from moisture, chemicals, and wear and tear.

Ensuring that the final product meets the desired specifications requires careful attention to detail. Cement masons must accurately measure and mix the ingredients for the concrete, taking into account factors such as the desired strength and consistency. They must also closely monitor the curing process, which involves allowing the concrete to harden and gain strength over time. This may require regularly checking the moisture content, temperature, and humidity levels to ensure optimal conditions for curing.

Working as a cement mason can be physically demanding. They often spend long hours on their feet, bending, kneeling, and crouching to pour and finish concrete. In addition, they may need to lift and carry heavy bags of cement, buckets of water, and other materials. Cement masons must also be comfortable operating power tools, such as concrete saws and grinders, which are used to cut and shape the concrete as needed.

Despite the challenges, being a cement mason can be a rewarding career. They play a crucial role in the construction industry, helping to create the foundations, floors, and structures that form the backbone of our built environment. Their work requires both technical skill and artistic flair, as they strive to create concrete surfaces that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. From smoothing out a sidewalk to stamping intricate patterns on a patio, cement masons leave their mark on the world, one pour at a time.

Cement Mason Salary | How much do Cement Masons make?

If you're considering a career in cement masonry, it's natural to wonder about the earning potential. The salary of cement masons can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the complexity of the projects they work on.

On average, cement masons can earn a median annual wage of around $45,000. However, those with extensive experience and specialized skills can earn significantly more. Additionally, the demand for well-trained cement masons is expected to remain steady, creating job security and potential for increased income.

Let's dive deeper into the factors that can influence a cement mason's salary:

Experience: Cement masons who have been in the industry for a longer period tend to earn higher salaries. This is because experience brings with it a deeper understanding of the trade, improved efficiency, and the ability to handle complex projects with ease. Employers value experienced cement masons and are willing to offer higher compensation to retain their expertise.

Location: The location where a cement mason works can have a significant impact on their salary. Urban areas or regions with a high demand for construction projects often offer higher wages due to increased competition for skilled workers. In contrast, rural areas may have lower wages as construction projects may be less frequent or smaller in scale.

Project Complexity: The complexity of the projects a cement mason works on can also affect their earning potential. Projects that require specialized skills, such as decorative concrete work or intricate designs, often command higher rates. Cement masons with expertise in these areas may be able to negotiate higher salaries or attract clients willing to pay a premium for their services.

Continuing Education: Cement masons who invest in their professional development by attending workshops, seminars, or obtaining additional certifications can enhance their skills and knowledge. This commitment to ongoing learning can lead to career advancement opportunities and potentially higher salaries. Employers appreciate cement masons who stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and technologies in the industry.

Union Membership: Some cement masons may choose to join a union, which can provide additional benefits and bargaining power when it comes to negotiating salaries. Unions often have standardized wage scales and collective bargaining agreements that ensure fair compensation for their members. Unionized cement masons may enjoy higher salaries, better benefits, and improved working conditions compared to non-unionized counterparts.

In conclusion, while the average salary for cement masons is around $45,000, there are several factors that can influence their earning potential. Experience, location, project complexity, continuing education, and union membership can all play a role in determining a cement mason's salary. By staying current with industry trends, honing their skills, and seeking out opportunities for career advancement, cement masons can increase their earning potential and enjoy a rewarding and lucrative career in the construction industry.

A Day in the Life of a Cement Mason

Being a cement mason involves a diverse range of tasks and responsibilities. A typical day on the job may include:

  1. Preparing the work area by removing debris and ensuring proper drainage.

Before beginning any concrete work, a cement mason must meticulously prepare the work area. This involves clearing away any debris or obstructions that could affect the quality of the concrete. Additionally, ensuring proper drainage is essential to prevent water from pooling or causing damage to the finished product. By taking the time to thoroughly prepare the work area, a cement mason sets the stage for a successful project.

  1. Setting and leveling forms, which serve as molds for the concrete.

Once the work area is ready, the cement mason moves on to setting and leveling forms. These forms act as molds that shape the concrete into the desired structure. Precise measurements and careful attention to detail are crucial at this stage to ensure that the forms are properly aligned and level. By meticulously setting the forms, a cement mason lays the foundation for a smooth and even concrete surface.

  1. Mixing and pouring concrete, using precise measurements and techniques.

With the forms in place, it's time for the cement mason to mix and pour the concrete. This process requires a deep understanding of the materials and techniques involved. Precise measurements are crucial to achieve the desired strength and consistency of the concrete. The cement mason carefully mixes the cement, sand, and water, ensuring that the proportions are accurate. Once the mixture is ready, it is poured into the forms, taking care to avoid any air pockets or uneven distribution. The cement mason's expertise in this step is vital to creating a solid and durable concrete structure.

  1. Using specialized tools, such as trowels and floats, to shape and smooth the concrete surface.

After the concrete has been poured, the cement mason utilizes a variety of specialized tools to shape and smooth the surface. Trowels are used to flatten and level the concrete, while floats are employed to create a smooth finish. The cement mason's skilled handiwork ensures that the concrete surface is even and free from imperfections. This attention to detail not only enhances the appearance of the finished product but also contributes to its strength and longevity.

  1. Applying finishing treatments, such as sealing agents or paint, to enhance the appearance and durability of the concrete.

Once the concrete surface is shaped and smoothed, the cement mason may apply various finishing treatments to enhance its appearance and durability. Sealing agents can be used to protect the concrete from moisture, stains, and other environmental factors. Paint or decorative coatings can also be applied to add color or texture to the surface. By carefully selecting and applying these finishing treatments, the cement mason adds the final touches that make the concrete structure visually appealing and long-lasting.

Cement masons often collaborate with other construction professionals, such as carpenters and plumbers, to ensure that their work aligns with the overall project goals. Attention to detail and a commitment to quality are crucial in delivering exceptional results. Whether they are working on a small residential project or a large commercial construction site, cement masons play a vital role in creating strong and durable concrete structures that stand the test of time.

Ideal Traits and Skills for a Cement Mason

Successful cement masons possess a combination of physical and technical skills. Some ideal traits for cement masonry include:

  • Physical stamina and the ability to withstand long hours of standing, bending, and lifting.
  • Attention to detail and the ability to work with precision.
  • Good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.
  • Strong problem-solving skills to address unexpected challenges on the job.

Acquiring these traits can take time and practice, so it's important to dedicate yourself to continuous learning and improvement throughout your career as a cement mason.

Physical stamina is crucial for cement masons as they often work in physically demanding environments. They need to be able to endure long hours of standing, bending, and lifting heavy materials. The work can be physically exhausting, but with proper training and conditioning, cement masons can build up their endurance and stay productive throughout the day.

Attention to detail is another key trait for cement masons. They must be able to work with precision to ensure that the concrete is properly mixed, poured, and finished. Even the slightest mistake or oversight can lead to structural issues or an unsightly finished product. Cement masons need to pay close attention to measurements, surface smoothness, and overall quality to deliver a high standard of work.

Good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity are essential skills for cement masons. They often use various tools and equipment to shape and finish the concrete, such as trowels, floats, and power saws. These tools require precise movements and control, which can only be achieved through practice and coordination between the hands and eyes.

Furthermore, cement masons need to have strong problem-solving skills. Construction projects can present unexpected challenges, such as uneven surfaces, weather conditions, or changes in design plans. Cement masons must be able to think on their feet and come up with effective solutions to ensure that the project progresses smoothly. Whether it's adjusting the mix proportions, creating temporary supports, or finding alternative techniques, problem-solving skills are vital for cement masons to overcome obstacles and deliver quality results.

In conclusion, becoming a skilled cement mason requires a combination of physical stamina, attention to detail, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. It is a career that demands continuous learning and improvement to stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and technologies in the field. By honing these ideal traits and skills, cement masons can excel in their profession and contribute to the successful completion of construction projects.

How long will it take to become a Cement Mason | Training and Educational Path for Cement Masons

There are various paths you can take to become a cement mason. Some individuals start their career by obtaining on-the-job training as apprentices. Apprenticeships typically last from one to four years, during which aspiring cement masons receive hands-on experience and classroom instruction.

During the apprenticeship, you will have the opportunity to work alongside experienced cement masons who will guide you through the different aspects of the trade. They will teach you how to properly mix and pour concrete, how to use various tools and equipment, and how to read blueprints and follow construction plans. In the classroom, you will learn about safety procedures, building codes, and the science behind cement and concrete.

As an apprentice, you will gradually take on more responsibility and gain confidence in your abilities. You will have the chance to work on real construction projects, from small residential jobs to large commercial buildings. This hands-on experience will not only enhance your technical skills but also teach you how to work efficiently and effectively as part of a team.

Alternatively, you may choose to pursue a formal education in cement masonry. Vocational schools and community colleges offer programs that provide comprehensive instruction in all aspects of the trade. These programs usually take about one to two years to complete, depending on the curriculum and the student's dedication.

During your formal education, you will learn the theoretical foundations of cement masonry. You will study topics such as construction principles, concrete technology, and project management. In addition to classroom instruction, you will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through practical workshops and internships.

Regardless of the path you choose, it's important to gain practical experience and learn from seasoned professionals. This will allow you to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in your career as a cement mason.

Once you have completed your training or education, you can start working as a cement mason. However, the learning doesn't stop there. The construction industry is constantly evolving, with new techniques, materials, and technologies being introduced. It's important to stay updated with the latest advancements in the field and continue to expand your knowledge and skills.

Many cement masons choose to pursue additional certifications and specialized training to enhance their career prospects. These certifications, such as the Certified Cement Mason or the ACI Concrete Flatwork Finisher, demonstrate your expertise and commitment to professional development.

As you gain more experience and expertise, you may also have the opportunity to advance in your career. You could become a foreman, supervising a team of cement masons, or even start your own contracting business. The possibilities are endless for those who are dedicated and passionate about their craft.

Necessary Certifications for Cement Masons

When it comes to cement masonry, having the right certifications can make a world of difference. Not only do they enhance your employability, but they also open up doors to higher earning potential. So, what certifications should you consider obtaining? Let's dive deeper into two industry-recognized certifications that can take your career as a cement mason to new heights.

Certified Concrete Finisher (CCF)

The Certified Concrete Finisher (CCF) certification is designed to showcase your proficiency in various aspects of cement masonry. To earn this certification, you will need to meet specific experience requirements and pass a rigorous written examination. The examination covers topics such as concrete placement, finishing techniques, and safety protocols.

By obtaining the CCF certification, you demonstrate your dedication to honing your craft and staying up-to-date with industry standards. This certification not only sets you apart from the competition but also gives employers confidence in your abilities as a cement mason.

Concrete Flatwork Finisher (CFF)

Another valuable certification for cement masons is the Concrete Flatwork Finisher (CFF) certification. This certification focuses specifically on the skills required to create high-quality flatwork surfaces, such as sidewalks, driveways, and floors.

Similar to the CCF certification, earning the CFF certification requires meeting experience requirements and passing a comprehensive written examination. The examination evaluates your knowledge of concrete mix designs, proper finishing techniques, and troubleshooting common issues that may arise during flatwork projects.

By obtaining the CFF certification, you demonstrate your expertise in the specialized field of flatwork finishing. This certification can give you a competitive edge in the job market, as employers often prioritize candidates with this level of proficiency.

Both the CCF and CFF certifications not only validate your skills and knowledge but also serve as a testament to your commitment to professional excellence. Employers value these certifications as they signify your dedication to delivering high-quality work and adhering to industry best practices.

While certification requirements may vary depending on your region, investing the time and effort to obtain these industry-recognized certifications can pay off in the long run. Cement masons who hold these certifications often enjoy increased job opportunities, higher wages, and the respect of their peers.

So, if you're serious about advancing your career as a cement mason, consider pursuing the CCF and CFF certifications. These certifications will not only enhance your employability but also provide you with a solid foundation for continued professional growth in the exciting field of cement masonry.

Career Advancement in Cement Masonry

As you gain experience and refine your skills as a cement mason, there are numerous avenues for career advancement. Some cement masons choose to specialize in certain areas, such as decorative concrete or high-rise construction, which can lead to higher pay and more challenging projects.

Others may pursue supervisory or managerial roles, overseeing teams of cement masons and ensuring the successful completion of projects. Additionally, some cement masons seize opportunities to start their own business, allowing them to have more control over their work and potentially increase their income.

Why Choose a Career in Cement Masonry?

Choosing a career in cement masonry offers several advantages:

  • Stable Employment: The demand for skilled cement masons remains consistent, providing job security even during economic downturns.
  • Competitive Salary: Cement masons can earn a respectable income, with the potential for further growth as they gain experience and expertise.
  • Opportunities for Growth: Cement masonry offers various career paths and specialties, allowing individuals to continually learn and advance.
  • Contribution to Infrastructure: As a cement mason, you play a crucial role in constructing buildings, roads, and other infrastructure that benefits society.

If you enjoy working with your hands, take pride in creating tangible results, and value stability and growth, a career in cement masonry may be an excellent choice for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cement Masons

Here are some common questions people have about cement masons:

  1. Q: What is the difference between a cement mason and a concrete finisher?

A: The terms cement mason and concrete finisher are often used interchangeably. Both refer to professionals who specialize in creating and finishing concrete surfaces.

  1. Q: Is cement masonry physically demanding?

A: Yes, cement masonry can be physically demanding as it involves standing, lifting, bending, and working with heavy materials.

  1. Q: Can I start a career in cement masonry without any experience or training?

A: While prior experience is not always necessary, undergoing formal training or apprenticeships can significantly improve your chances of securing employment and developing the required skills.

  1. Q: Are there opportunities for advancement in cement masonry?

A: Yes, cement masonry offers various avenues for career advancement, including specialization, supervisory roles, and entrepreneurship.

By choosing a career in cement masonry, you open yourself up to a fulfilling and rewarding profession with numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth.

At A Glance in US
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398,000 (35%)
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398,000 (35%)
398,000 (35%)
Cement Finisher, Cement Mason, Concrete Finisher, Concrete Mason, Finisher, Mason
A Typical Day Icon

Your Typical Day:

  • Check the forms that hold the concrete to see that they are properly constructed.
  • Set the forms that hold concrete to the desired pitch and depth, and align them.
  • Spread, level, and smooth concrete, using rake, shovel, hand or power trowel, hand or power screed, and float.
  • Monitor how the wind, heat, or cold affect the curing of the concrete throughout the entire process.
  • Mold expansion joints and edges, using edging tools, jointers, and straightedge.
  • Signal truck driver to position truck to facilitate pouring concrete, and move chute to direct concrete on forms.
  • Direct the casting of the concrete and supervise laborers who use shovels or special tools to spread it.
  • Produce rough concrete surface, using broom.
  • Apply hardening and sealing compounds to cure surface of concrete, and waterproof or restore surface.
  • Operate power vibrator to compact concrete.
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Wages in the US:

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Per Hour Base Income
Total Compensation
Your Responsibilities Icon

Your Responsibilities

  • Inspect completed work to ensure proper installation.
  • Position construction forms or molds.
  • Finish concrete surfaces.
  • Spread concrete or other aggregate mixtures.
  • Monitor construction operations.
  • Pour materials into or on designated areas.
  • Signal equipment operators to indicate proper equipment positioning.
  • Direct construction or extraction personnel.
  • Apply sealants or other protective coatings.
  • Compact materials to create level bases.
Your Knowledge Icon

Knowledge You Will Learn

  • English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. 67/100

  • Building and Construction

Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads. 63/100

  • Mathematics

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. 52/100

  • Public Safety and Security

Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions. 52/100

  • Mechanical

Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance. 41/100

  • Administration and Management

Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources. 40/100

  • Transportation

Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits. 37/100

  • Customer and Personal Service

Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. 33/100

  • Education and Training

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects. 33/100

  • Foreign Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation. 31/100

Tools of the Trade Icon

Tools of the Trade

  • Trowels
  • Floats
  • Concrete spreaders
  • Batching plants or feeders
  • Power saws
  • Cement retainers
  • Shovels
  • Levels
  • Saw blades
  • Edgers
  • Hand sprayers
  • Cement bulk material equipment
  • Bar or rod cutter
  • Plaster or mortar mixers
  • Power buggies
  • Power drills
  • Concrete vibrators
  • Paving breakers
  • Curbing machines
  • Tampers
  • Tilt trucks
  • Abrasive stones
  • Aggregate spreaders
  • Tape measures
  • Concrete mixers or plants
  • Cold chisels
  • Stonemason hammer
  • Spades
  • Respirators
  • Pry bars
  • Jacks
  • Braces
  • Squeegees or washers
  • Post hole digger
  • Tongs
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers
  • Gas generators
  • Brooms
  • Power grinders
  • Curing machines
  • Paint brushes
  • Demolition hammers
  • Pneumatic nail drivers
  • Hickeys
  • Paint rollers
  • Measuring wheels for distance
  • Power routers
  • Straight edges
  • Grouting pump
  • Steel bar bending machine
  • Paint sprayers
  • Cement pumping units
  • Water pumps
  • Ladders
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hammers
  • Hand clamps
  • Utility knives
  • Notebook computers
  • Scarifiers
  • Grinders
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Desktop computers
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