Become A Bricklayer's Apprentice
Bricklayers build or repair structures like fireplaces, floors, and walls, that are made of brick, concrete blocks or other types of masonry. 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.
The median annual salary for bricklayers and block masons according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was $47,950 in May 2015.
Because a bricklayer apprentice is an entry-level position, you only need a high school diploma or equivalent to get started. You'll start as an apprentice, where you'll learn the trade as you work. Apprenticeship programs provide both hands-on experience and classroom instruction.
Key skills that you'll need for this career include manual dexterity, strength, stamina, the ability to use construction tools, and the ability to use construction software.
Let's take a look at the steps you'll take to become a bricklayer's apprentice:
Step 1: Acquire a High School Diploma or its Equivalent
Before beginning an apprenticeship program, you should acquire 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 you 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, following safety procedures, and understanding building codes.
The BLS states that the apprenticeship program may change in the future. When an apprentice can demonstrate competence in vital skills, the apprenticeship will be complete. This will 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 to Advance Your Career
You 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.
A bricklayer apprentice position offers all training on the job, so you only need a high school diploma to get started in this career.