Find out what type of training you'll need to pursue a job as a concrete finisher. Read about apprenticeships and construction programs here, as well as how much you can earn as a cement mason, concrete finisher or terrazzo worker.
A concrete finisher performs the final tasks required to complete concrete projects. After concrete is placed and prepped for completion, a concrete finisher uses special tools to edge, join and smooth the surface. These steps help prevent cracking and give the concrete a finished look. Cement masons are concrete professionals who might also be tasked with concrete finishing, in addition to their other job duties of placing the initial concrete and monitoring the overall concrete project.
Related careers include segmental pavers, terrazzo workers and terrazzo finishers, all of whom work with various types of pavement and concrete finishing techniques. If you want to further your career opportunities, you could seek additional training and become a masonry contractor. You might also choose to pursue a management position in a construction company and become a construction manager or specialize in inspecting buildings and be a building inspector. Another career option that requires some knowledge of concrete work is that of a contract estimator.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities should be good for cement masons and concrete finishers. The BLS expected employment of cement masons, concrete finishers and terrazzo workers to increase 29% from 2012-2022, which is significantly faster than average. In May 2012, cement masons and concrete finishers earned an average annual salary of $39,870, noted the BLS. That same year, segmental pavers and terrazzo workers earned $35,740 and $42,440, respectively (www.bls.gov).
In addition to on-the-job training opportunities, those looking for a career as a concrete finisher can enroll in an apprenticeship program. Concrete finisher apprenticeships are conducted at community colleges and technical schools. These types of programs might be called a concrete finisher apprenticeship, carpentry-concrete apprenticeship or a cement mason-concrete finisher apprenticeship. They include for-credit hands-on opportunities with local businesses and coursework that teaches you skills of the trade.
A concrete finisher program often takes three years to complete, including the time spent as an apprentice. Its classes are mostly focused around concrete technology. At its completion, your skills will include blueprint reading, job safety, surface treating and concrete architectural finishes.
If you want to enter other careers related to concrete work, you might consider enrolling in a construction undergraduate degree program. Associate degree programs in construction management technology and bachelor's degree programs in construction technology can provide other avenues into concrete work. Related distance learning programs, such as online courses in building inspection, might also be of interest.
As most concrete work takes place outside, the ability to work in different climates and physical stamina and can be helpful. As an aspiring apprentice, you'll also need to be at least 18 years old, in good health and have a valid driver's license.