Is Masonry a Good Trade? Skills Guide

Have you ever watched someone build something with bricks or stone and wondered what it’s like to do that kind of work? I’m a mason and that’s exactly what I get to do every day at my job. Masonry is an old trade that people have been doing for hundreds of years. But it’s still a good job to have today. 

In this article, I’ll tell you all about what it’s really like to have a career as a mason. I’ll explain the job opportunities that are available and how much money masons can make. I’ll also share the skills you need and the good and bad parts of being a mason. If working with your hands to build things sounds interesting to you, keep reading!

Is Masonry a Good Trade

Growing Demand for Masonry Workers

The demand for skilled masonry workers shows no signs of slowing down. According to RaiseMe, the projected employment growth rate for masonry workers from 2016 to 2026 is a robust 12%, which outpaces the average growth rate of 7% for all occupations combined. This suggests there will be plenty of new job opportunities opening up in this trade over the coming years.

However, it’s important to also look at the latest projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Their data indicates that overall employment of masonry workers is projected to decline by 3 percent from 2022 to 2032.

While a 3% decline may seem concerning at first glance, this dip is not due to a lack of available masonry jobs. Instead, it largely accounts for factors like retiring workers and people leaving the trade for other reasons.

In fact, the BLS projections show that despite the slight overall employment decline, there will still be about 21,200 openings for masonry workers projected each year, on average, over the decade from 2022 to 2032. This significant number of annual openings underscores the ongoing strong demand for new masons to fill vacant roles and staff upcoming construction projects.

So while the total masonry workforce may contract slightly as veterans retire, this creates ample opportunity for newcomers to launch rewarding careers. Those willing to invest in comprehensive training can feel confident about abundant job prospects and staying consistently employed for years to come in this time-honored trade.

Why Masonry Can Be a Great Career

Masonry is a trade that offers a unique blend of stability, creativity, and financial rewards. Let’s take a closer look at some of the compelling reasons why masonry can be an excellent career choice:

Job Security

As long as there is a need for construction, repair, and maintenance of buildings and structures, the demand for skilled masons will remain steady. The construction industry is constantly evolving, and masons play a crucial role in ensuring the longevity and durability of our infrastructure. Whether it’s constructing new homes, offices, or commercial properties, restoring historical landmarks, or repairing existing structures, masons are an integral part of the workforce that cannot be easily replaced.

Earning Potential

One of the biggest advantages of a career in masonry is the potential to earn a comfortable living. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for masonry workers was $53,010 in May 2023. While salaries can vary based on factors such as location, experience, and specialization, this median wage indicates a respectable earning potential for those in the masonry trade. Highly skilled and experienced masons can often command even higher wages, especially in areas with significant construction activity. As masons gain more expertise, they may also have the opportunity to advance into supervisory or management roles, further increasing their earning potential.

Creative Job with Opportunities for Advancement

Contrary to popular belief, masonry is not just about laying bricks or stones in a repetitive fashion. It is a versatile and creative trade that allows masons to work with a variety of materials, such as concrete, stone, and glass blocks. Masons have the opportunity to showcase their artistic abilities by crafting intricate patterns, designs, and structures that require a keen eye for detail and a passion for craftsmanship.

As masons gain more experience, they can specialize in specific areas, such as stone masonry, refractory masonry, or restoration work. These specializations not only allow masons to develop niche skills but also open up opportunities for career advancement and the ability to command higher wages for their expertise.

Entrepreneurial Opportunities

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, masonry offers the potential to start their own business. Experienced masons can establish their own contracting companies, taking on projects and managing a team of skilled workers. This not only provides greater control over their work and schedules but also opens the door to potentially higher earnings and the satisfaction of building a successful business from the ground up.

Things to Consider Before Becoming a Mason

While masonry can be a rewarding and fulfilling career, it’s essential to consider some factors before committing to this path. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Physical Demands

Let’s be honest, masonry is a physically demanding trade. It requires strength, stamina, and the ability to work in various weather conditions. Masons often have to lift heavy materials, work at heights, and spend extended periods standing, bending, and kneeling. It’s crucial to maintain good physical fitness and follow proper safety protocols to prevent injuries and ensure a long-lasting career in this field.

Training and Education

Becoming a skilled mason is not something that happens overnight. It requires extensive training and education. Most masons undergo apprenticeship programs or attend vocational schools to learn the necessary skills and techniques. These programs typically last several years and involve both classroom instruction and hands-on training. It’s essential to be prepared for a significant investment of time and effort to become a proficient mason.

Personal Interests and Skills

Masonry is a trade that requires a unique set of skills and interests. Individuals with a passion for working with their hands, problem-solving, attention to detail, and an appreciation for craftsmanship are more likely to thrive in this field. Additionally, strong math skills, the ability to read blueprints, and a willingness to learn are essential qualities for successful masons.

Required Education and Training

If you’ve decided that masonry is the right career path for you, the next step is to understand the education and training requirements. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to get started:

  1. High School Diploma or Equivalent: Most masonry programs and apprenticeships require you to have a high school diploma or equivalent as a minimum educational requirement.
  2. Technical or Vocational Programs: Many technical schools offer specialized programs designed for aspiring masons. These programs provide hands-on experience and teach the skills necessary to succeed in the trade. Some programs, like the one offered by the Masonry Association of Georgia, even offer competency-based training and hands-on experience in areas like bricklaying, cement, and stone installations.
  3. Apprenticeships: One of the most common ways to enter the masonry trade is through an apprenticeship program. According to the provided information, most masonry apprenticeships last three years, during which time apprentices complete 144 hours of classroom instruction each year and work under the supervision of experienced masons. Apprentices earn while they learn, with wages generally beginning at 50% of a journeyman mason’s salary and reaching up to 90% by the final year of training.
  4. Online Resources: If you’re unsure where to start, the Mason Contractors Association of America’s Masonry Career Training website is an excellent resource. It provides a directory of masonry training and apprenticeship programs across the country, making it easier for you to find a program that suits your needs and location.

Remember, the path to becoming a skilled mason requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn. But with the right training and education, you’ll be well on your way to starting a rewarding career in this fascinating trade.


There you have it – all the key details about becoming a mason. As you can see, it’s a job where there are plenty of open positions and chances to make a decent living. It also allows you to be creative and maybe even start your own business one day. But it does require hard physical labor, a lot of training, and certain skills and interests. 

Only you can decide if masonry work fits what you want in a career. But if you enjoy hands-on projects and making things that will last a long time, then I recommend looking into masonry more. It could be the perfect job for you. Best wishes for finding work you truly enjoy!

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