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Career and Education Opportunities for Brick and Block Masons in Portland, Maine

Brick and block masons can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Portland, Maine area. Currently, 380 people work as brick and block masons in Maine. This is expected to grow 6% to 400 people by 2016. 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.

Income for brick and block masons is about $18 hourly or $38,340 annually on average in Maine. Nationally, their income is about $21 hourly or $45,630 annually. Earnings for brick and block masons are better than earnings in the general category of Carpentry and Masonry in Maine and better than general Carpentry and Masonry category earnings nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can study to be a brick and block mason, among twenty-three schools of higher education total in the Portland 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 Portland 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.
  • 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

Southern Maine Community College - South Portland, ME

Southern Maine Community College, 2 Fort Road, South Portland, ME 04106-1698. Southern Maine Community College is a medium sized college located in South Portland, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 5,654 students and an admission rate of 68%. Southern Maine Community College has a one to two year program in Mason/Masonry which graduated one student in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.