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Career and Education Opportunities for Brick and Block Masons in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for brick and block masons. Currently, 1,670 people work as brick and block masons in Iowa. This is expected to grow by 14% to about 1,900 people 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 about $20 per hour or $43,360 per year on average in Iowa and about $21 per hour or $45,630 annually on average nationally. Brick and block masons earn more than people working in the category of Carpentry and Masonry generally in Iowa and more than people in the Carpentry and Masonry category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can study to be a brick and block mason, among thirteen schools of higher education total in the Cedar Rapids area. Brick and block masons usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so 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 Cedar Rapids 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

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has a one to two year program in Mason/Masonry which graduated eight students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.