Be a Bricklayer's Apprentice: Training and Job Information
Learn how to become an apprentice bricklayer. Research the job description and the education requirements and find out how to start a career in bricklaying.
Do I Want to Be a Bricklayer's Apprentice?
Bricklayers build or repair various structures, like fireplaces, floors and walls, that are made of brick, concrete blocks and other types of masonry substances. Apprentices might practice reading blueprints, mixing mortar and grout in the correct proportions, understanding building code requirements and using safety practices. This occupation may be physically demanding, with heavy lifting, climbing, and bending on a repeated basis.
A bricklaying apprenticeship program provides students with both hands-on experience and classroom instruction to prepare them for careers as bricklayers. These programs take between three and four years to complete and are offered by local unions and trade associations. Apprenticeships may become shorter in the event that bricklayers are able to show their competencies. Upon completion, they become journey workers and can work independently. The following table shows common requirements to become a bricklayer's apprentice:
|Degree Level||High school diploma or its equivalent*|
|Key Skills||Manual dexterity, mathematics*|
|Computer Skills||Accounting software, construction management software**|
|Technical Skills||Use of construction tools**|
|Additional Requirements||Strength, stamina*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.
Step 1: Acquire a High School Diploma or its Equivalent
Before beginning an apprenticeship program, prospective bricklayers should acquire either a high school diploma or its equivalent. High school classes in areas such as shop, mechanical drawing, and math can teach students the basic skills needed to learn bricklaying. Math classes are of particular importance, aiding in calculation of weight, volume, and measurements.
Step 2: Enroll in an Apprenticeship Program
An apprenticeship program encompasses both classroom training and on-the-job experience to teach apprentices bricklaying skills. Programs typically last three to four years and include at least 144 hours of classroom time and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience each year. Skills learned include reading blueprints, using industry tools, understanding building codes, and following safety procedures.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the program structure may change in the future, ending when an apprentice can demonstrate competence in vital skills, rather than ending after a certain period of time. This may lead to shorter apprenticeship periods for individuals who learn the skills faster and who can demonstrate proficiency.
- Be in good physical shape. The physically demanding nature of this work requires that apprentices be in good physical condition before starting apprenticeship programs. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries.
Step 3: Complete a Diploma or Degree Program
Aspiring bricklayers may benefit from completing masonry programs at community or technical colleges. Some of these programs award academic credit for apprenticeship hours or are designed to supplement apprenticeship programs. These programs can provide additional technical knowledge and may provide the option for students to transfer to 4-year universities.
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