Is becoming a brickmason right for me?
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How to become a Brickmason
Becoming a brickmason typically involves a combination of formal education, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. Here is a guide on how to become a brickmason:
- Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: Start by completing your high school education or obtaining a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. A high school diploma is typically the minimum educational requirement for entry-level positions.
- Research and enroll in a brickmasonry program: Look for vocational schools, community colleges, or trade schools that offer masonry programs. These programs provide a structured curriculum focused on the fundamentals of bricklaying, construction techniques, blueprint reading, safety procedures, and related subjects. Once you've selected a suitable program, enroll and complete the brickmasonry training. These programs may range from a few months to a couple of years, depending on the depth of the curriculum.
- Consider an apprenticeship: While not mandatory, completing an apprenticeship is highly recommended to gain valuable on-the-job training and experience. Apprenticeships are usually offered through labor unions, contractor associations, or directly by construction companies. They involve a combination of paid work experience under the guidance of experienced brickmasons and related classroom instruction. Apprenticeships can last three to four years, depending on the program.
- Obtain a journeyman certification: After completing your apprenticeship and meeting the required hours of training and work experience, you can apply for a journeyman certification. This certification verifies your competence and qualifies you to work independently as a brickmason. Certification requirements vary by state, so check with your local licensing or certification board for specific guidelines.
- Gain experience and refine your skills: Once certified as a journeyman brickmason, continue working in the field to gain experience and refine your skills. This experience will help you build a strong professional reputation and may open up opportunities for career advancement or specialization.
- Consider additional certifications or specializations: As you progress in your career, you may choose to pursue additional certifications or specializations to enhance your skill set. These could include certifications in advanced bricklaying techniques, historic restoration, or masonry project management. These certifications can further demonstrate your expertise and make you more competitive in the industry.
- Stay updated and continue learning: The construction industry is constantly evolving, so it's important to stay updated with the latest techniques, materials, and safety regulations. Attend workshops, seminars, and industry conferences to expand your knowledge and skills. Continual learning and professional development will help you stay competitive and advance your career as a brickmason.
There are several certifications available for brickmasons that can enhance their professional credentials and demonstrate their expertise in the field. Here are some notable certifications for brickmasons:
- National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Certification: NCCER offers various certifications related to masonry and bricklaying, including the Masonry Level 1-4 certification. These certifications validate the skills and knowledge required for entry-level to advanced brickmasonry positions.
- Masonry Certification from the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA): The MCAA offers several certifications for bricklayers, including the Masonry Certified Craftsman (MCC) certification. This certification assesses a bricklayer's skills in areas such as reading blueprints, laying bricks, cutting and shaping bricks, and understanding masonry codes and standards.
- International Masonry Institute (IMI) Certification: The IMI offers a range of certifications focused on various aspects of masonry, including bricklaying. Their certifications validate skills in areas such as commercial bricklaying, restoration bricklaying, and advanced masonry techniques.
- Brick Industry Association (BIA) Certification: The BIA provides the Certified Bricklayer program, which is designed to recognize skilled bricklayers who meet the industry's quality standards. This certification demonstrates proficiency in bricklaying techniques, mortar application, brick cutting, and overall craftsmanship.
- Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Certification: ABC offers the Masonry Craftsman certification, which assesses a bricklayer's competency in fundamental masonry skills, safety practices, and industry knowledge. This certification is recognized nationwide and can enhance a bricklayer's professional standing.
- State-Specific Certifications: Some states may have their own certifications or licensing requirements for bricklayers. These certifications may vary in their specific criteria and regulations. Check with your state's licensing board or construction industry regulatory body for information on state-specific certifications.
The following resources provide valuable information, support, training, and networking opportunities within the bricklaying industry. Here are some notable resources:
- Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA): The MCAA is a national trade association representing the masonry industry, including bricklayers. They offer resources such as training programs, industry news, safety guidelines, and access to networking events. Their website provides valuable information on industry trends, best practices, and educational resources.
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC): BAC is a union that represents bricklayers, stonemasons, tile setters, and other craftworkers in the construction industry. They provide training programs, apprenticeships, benefits, and advocacy for their members. BAC offers resources for professional development, safety training, and industry updates.
- National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA): The NCMA is an organization that promotes and supports the concrete masonry industry, including brick masonry. They offer technical resources, design guides, educational programs, and research publications related to masonry construction. Their website provides access to industry standards, construction details, and case studies.
- Brick Industry Association (BIA): The BIA is an organization that represents and supports the brick industry. They provide technical resources, design guides, educational materials, and publications related to brick construction. Their website offers information on brick types, installation guides, and industry news.
- National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER): NCCER is a nonprofit education foundation that develops standardized construction training and certification programs. They offer bricklaying training programs, curriculum materials, and assessments for bricklayers. NCCER's website provides information on available training modules, certifications, and resources for skill development.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA is a federal agency responsible for ensuring workplace safety and health. They provide guidelines, standards, and resources related to construction safety, including bricklaying. OSHA's website offers information on safety regulations, training materials, and best practices for construction workers.