California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Brickmasons and Blockmasons in California

May also be called: Adobe Layers; Blocklayers; Bricklayers; Masons

Specialties within this occupation include: Refractory Masons; Refractory Bricklayers; Furnace Liners

What Would I Do?

Brickmasons use bricks and concrete blocks to construct driveways, retaining walls, walkways, homes, fireplaces, warehouses, commercial buildings, and other structures. Brickmasons begin construction only after carefully planning their project or by using detailed blueprints. They spread mortar to secure the bricks or blocks together, precisely aligning each one.

Brickmasons and Blockmasons usually work outdoors. New processes and materials allow Masons to work in a greater variety of weather conditions. Masons stand, kneel, and bend for long periods and often have to lift heavy materials. Most work a standard 40-hour week.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Brickmason may appeal to those who enjoy working independently and outdoors, while performing physical activities.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Apprentices or helpers usually start out at considerably less than the rate paid to experienced workers. Pay increases as apprentices gain experience and learn new skills. Earnings for workers in these trades can be reduced because poor weather and slowdowns in construction activity limit the time they can work.

The median wage in 2017 for Brickmasons and Blockmasons in California was $59,853 annually, or $28.77 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2017Low
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Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Union members typically receive medical, dental, and vision insurance as well as retirement plans. Those who are self-employed are responsible for purchasing their own insurance and benefit plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment of Masons, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to changes in the economy. When the level of construction activity falls, workers in these trades can experience periods of unemployment. Population and business growth will create the need for industrial facilities, schools, hospitals, offices, and other structures requiring masonry workers.

How Do I Qualify?

Most people enter this trade through on-the-job training. They generally do unskilled work until they learn enough to assist the journey-level worker in the more highly skilled aspects of the job. Some Masons go through an apprenticeship program covering all aspects of the occupation. Those working with Masons who construct only light residential structures or landscaping will only be exposed to that type of work. Other workers learn at technical schools that offer masonry courses. Some Regional Occupation Programs offer training for entry-level positions in masonry.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Union Masons can find work through their local union office. Nonunion workers can contact others in the trade, supply houses, construction companies, residential and commercial builders, or go directly to construction sites. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Brickmasons and Blockmasons