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Although he huffed and he puffed the Big Bad Wolf, from the story of Goldilocks tried yet could not blow down the brick house the little pigs built. An excellent bricklayer must have built their house. Bricklayers work with material such as brick, concrete blocks, granite stones, structural tile and precast panels. They prepare and lay brick and other masonry materials to construct and repair walls, patios, fireplace and chimneys. They are artists in their own right. Sometimes, having to prepare and lay down intricate brick designs and patterns. They need an eye for fine detail and the ability to follow a project through to the end.

Bricklayers are physically strong and spend a lot of their time working outdoors. Bricklayers must be able to interpret blueprints and calculate the materials required for the job. They must also be able to get along with other coworkers, as they tend to work as part of a crew on construction projects.
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  Average Earnings  
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  Interests and Skills  
Bricklayers need strength and stamina to do their job. They like to work with their hands and in outdoor environments. They must like to interpret blueprints and be responsible for the final results. Bricklayers generally have a good eye for form and are able to incorporate that into their work. They must know the properties of various mortars and other bonding materials, and how to handle different types of masonry units. Bricklayers should be comfortable working at many different temporary sites and with different work crews.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Interpret drawings and blueprints, and calculate the materials required
  • Using a plumb line and mason's level to ensure each layer will be level from corner to corner
  • Spread mortar over the base or previous layer, spread more mortar on one end of each brick to be laid, and lay the bricks into position
  • Remove excess mortar after the brick (or other masonry material) is in position
  • Use a hammer and chisel or a masonry saw to cut bricks to fit
  • Bricklayers typically work an eight-hour workday, unless longer hours are required to complete a job. They can be found working outdoors in all sorts of weather and they must not be afraid of heights, as they may also be required to work on scaffolding. Depending on the employer bricklayers will routinely work at different job sites for each project.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Bricklayers are employed by special trade, building and general contractors. Some bricklayers are self-employed, usually contracting on small jobs such as patios and fireplaces. Bricklayers may experience periods of unemployment during an economic downturn when construction slows down and/or during cold weather.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Although many bricklayers stay in the trade until they retire, there is room to advance. Bricklayer can move into estimator, inspector or foreman positions. They might also move into related occupations such as tilesetter, plasterer and concrete finisher.

  Educational Paths  
Bricklayers receive their training either through informal, on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship program. Trade certification can be obtained either through an apprenticeship program or after several years of work experience. While trade certification is not mandatory in all areas to become a bricklayer, it can be a requirement for many employers and can also help secure employment.

Apprenticeship programs involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. A pre-apprenticeship course may also be available which takes about five to six months to complete at a community college and is designed to help you get connected with a good company to apprentice with. It is important to apprentice with a reputable company as that is your education. While some apprenticeship programs may not require a high school diploma, it is important to note that employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates.

Apprenticeships can vary, however a typical apprenticeship lasts four to five years. The apprenticeship is a paid position, however wages are about 50 percent of what an employer pays the journeyperson, with yearly increases. After successfully completing the apprenticeship requirements, their industry training and apprenticeship office awards the bricklayer a certificate of completion.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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