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Career and Education Opportunities for Brick and Block Masons in Birmingham, Alabama

Brick and block mason career and educational opportunities abound in Birmingham, Alabama. There are currently 1,920 jobs for brick and block masons in Alabama and this is projected to grow by 13% to about 2,160 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for brick and block masons, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.5% over the next eight years. In general, brick and block masons lay and bind building materials, such as brick, structural tile, and terra-cotta block, with mortar and other substances to construct or repair walls, partitions, and other structures.

Brick and block masons earn approximately $18 hourly or $38,510 annually on average in Alabama. Nationally they average about $21 per hour or $45,630 yearly. Brick and block masons earn more than people working in the category of Carpentry and Masonry generally in Alabama and more than people in the Carpentry and Masonry category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be a brick and block mason, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. The most common level of education for brick and block masons is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a brick and block mason if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Brick and Block Mason

Brick and Block Mason video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, brick and block masons lay and bind building materials, such as brick, structural tile, and terra-cotta block, with mortar and other substances to construct or repair walls, partitions, and other structures.

Brick and block masons construct corners by fastening in plumb positions corner poles or building corner pyramids of bricks. They also clear away excess mortar with trowels and hand tools, and finish mortar joints with jointing tools, for a sealed, uniform appearance. Equally important, brick and block masons have to break or trim bricks, tiles, or blocks to size, using trowel edges or power saws. They are often called upon to measure distance from reference points and mark guidelines to lay out work, using plumb bobs and levels. They are expected to apply and smooth mortar or other mixtures over work surfaces. Finally, brick and block masons examine brickwork or structures to establish need for repair.

Every day, brick and block masons are expected to be able to use lower back and abdominal strength. They need to twist and stretch their arms and legs to get work done.

It is important for brick and block masons to clear away burned or damaged brick or mortar, using sledgehammer, crowbar, chipping gun, or chisel. They are often called upon to mix specified amounts of sand or mortar powder with water to fashion refractory mixtures. They also lay and align bricks, blocks, or tiles to build or repair structures or high temperature equipment, such as cupola or furnaces. They are sometimes expected to spray or spread refractory material over brickwork to safeguard against deterioration. Somewhat less frequently, brick and block masons are also expected to construct corners by fastening in plumb positions corner poles or building corner pyramids of bricks.

Brick and block masons sometimes are asked to fasten or fuse brick or other building materials to structures with wire clamps or cement. and calculate angles and courses and decide on vertical and horizontal arrangement of courses. And finally, they sometimes have to measure distance from reference points and mark guidelines to lay out work, using plumb bobs and levels.

Like many other jobs, brick and block masons must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Bricklayer Helper. Help brickmasons, blockmasons, or tile and marble setters by performing duties of lesser skill. Duties include using, supplying or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
  • Tile Setter. Apply hard tile, marble, and wood tile to walls, floors, and roof decks.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Brick and Block Mason Training

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has a less than one year program in Mason/Masonry which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.