Concrete Inspection Training and Education Information

Concrete can be poured into preformed molds, patched into voids and smoothed over existing structures to create ornamental veneers. Training programs in concrete technology offer coursework that covers concrete inspection, and certificate programs in concrete construction may be available. Employment in this field does not require formal training but educational programs could offer aspiring inspectors with relevant credentials and work experience.

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Essential Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cement masons, concrete finishers and terrazzo workers typically have no formal education requirements and instead learn their trade either through apprenticeships or on the job. Still, those individuals who take college-level courses in concrete inspection, blueprints, building codes and building materials might have an edge over competitors in the job force. They could find entry-level positions with cement manufacturers, construction companies or engineering firms.


Certificates Covering Concrete Inspection

These undergraduate certificate programs may be offered in concrete inspection or in building inspection with relevant concrete inspection courses, and can typically be completed in 1-2 semesters. While prior, relevant work experience or training may not be necessary, these programs might be most useful to individuals already working in the field who are seeking specialization in concrete inspection. This could include professionals working in fields like construction management, building inspection or architecture. A high school diploma or the equivalent may be necessary for admission.

Course Topics

Courses in these programs can focus both on working with concrete and broader building inspection principles. Students can study subjects like:

  • Building codes
  • Construction materials
  • Computer applications
  • Concrete technology and inspection
  • Plan review

Popular Career Options

Graduates of certificate programs, who also have adequate experience in the field, can be qualified for multiple professional positions. Some of these may include:

  • Masonry inspectors
  • Quality control technicians
  • Restoration experts

Diplomas Covering Concrete Technology

Technical and community colleges offer 1- to 2-year diploma programs in concrete masonry and concrete technology. These programs can include hands-on lab work and training in the uses of concrete in brick, block and flatwork applications. Because concrete workers often work outdoors and carry heavy loads, applicants to these programs are typically required to be high school graduates in good physical condition.

Course Topics

In addition to learning the fundamentals of the concrete and construction industries, students can learn about framing and mathematics. As preparation for careers in concrete facilities and on construction sites, students learn about:

  • Blueprint reading
  • Concrete testing
  • Job estimating
  • Structural design
  • Worksite safety

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 140,950 concrete finishers and cement masons employed as of May 2010 (www.bls.gov). The BLS jobs forecast from 2008-2018 predicted employment of masons and finishers working with cement and concrete to increase 13%. The May 2010 reports from the same source showed that these professionals earned a median annual wage of $35,450.


Associate of Applied Science Degrees Covering Concrete Technology

These 2-year programs in concrete technology or construction technology can teach students the technical skills needed for entry-level management positions. Students can gain practical experience working with aggregate mixtures, pavement design, project estimation and inspection practices. Applicants are typically required to have completed high school or earned the equivalent credential.

Course Topics

As preparation for building highways, tunnels and sewage treatment facilities, programs can require courses in algebra, physics and computer technology. Concrete technicians-in-training can also learn:

  • Aggregates
  • Building construction
  • Mix proportioning
  • Placed concrete
  • Precast concrete

Popular Career Options

Entry-level concrete professionals can work for engineering companies, cement manufacturers, pipe producers and at all levels of government. Program graduates could find themselves in both the private and public sectors, working as:

  • Admixture representatives
  • Assistant estimators
  • Concrete inspectors
  • Plant managers
  • Testing technicians

Certification and Continuing Education Information

Examinations for prospective certified concrete inspectors are often administrated through the state departments of transportation. The American Concrete Institute (ACI) also offers more than a dozen certifications for professionals in the concrete industry. As of October of 2011, ACI recertification candidates must retake the practical and written exams every five years.

Concrete industry management, civil engineering and concrete technology programs exist at the Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy levels, for students interested in formalized training. These types of programs prepare graduates for advanced management and supervisory positions, as well as careers in research and product development.

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