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Career and Education Opportunities for Brick and Block Masons in Chicago, Illinois

For those living in the Chicago, Illinois area, there are many career and education opportunities for brick and block masons. About 9,000 people are currently employed as brick and block masons in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 9% to about 9,800 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for brick and block masons are expected to grow by about 11.5%. 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.

The income of a brick and block mason is about $34 hourly or $71,360 per year on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 per hour or $45,630 annually on average. Earnings for brick and block masons are better than earnings in the general category of Carpentry and Masonry in Illinois and better than general Carpentry and Masonry category earnings nationally.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including one within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a brick and block mason. Given that the most common education level 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 Chicago 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.
  • Painter. Paint walls, equipment, and other structural surfaces, using brushes, rollers, and spray guns. May remove old paint to prepare surface prior to painting. May mix colors or oils to obtain desired color or consistency.
  • Plasterer. Apply interior or exterior plaster, cement, or similar materials. May also set ornamental plaster.
  • Tile Setter. Apply hard tile, marble, and wood tile to walls, floors, and roof decks.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Brick and Block Mason Training

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College, 6301 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60621-2709. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,873 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College has a less than one year program in Mason/Masonry which graduated forty-four students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.