Cement masons and concrete finishers place and finish the concrete. They also may color concrete surfaces; expose aggregate (small stones) in walls and sidewalks; or fabricate concrete beams, columns, and panels. In preparing a site for placing concrete, cement masons first set the forms for holding the concrete and properly align them. They then direct the casting of the concrete and supervise laborers who use shovels or special tools to spread it. Masons then guide a straightedge back and forth across the top of the forms to “screed,” or level, the freshly placed concrete. Immediately after leveling the concrete, masons carefully smooth the concrete surface with a “bull float,” a long-handled tool about 8 by 48 inches that covers the coarser materials in the concrete and brings a rich mixture of fine cement paste to the surface.

Job Outlook and Growth Potential:

Opportunities for cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers are expected to be favorable as the demand meets the supply of workers trained in this craft. In addition, many potential workers may prefer work that is less strenuous and has more comfortable working conditions.

Employment of cement masons, concrete finishers, segmental pavers, and terrazzo workers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. These workers will be needed to build highways, bridges, subways, factories, office buildings, hotels, shopping centers, schools, hospitals, and other structures. In addition, the increasing use of concrete as a building material will add to the demand. More cement masons also will be needed to repair and renovate existing highways, bridges, and other structures. In addition to job growth, other openings will become available as experienced workers transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.

Wages and Earnings Potential:

In 2002, the median hourly earnings of cement masons and concrete finishers were $14.74.

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Career information from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition and member schools.