Stone Cutting School and College Information
Stone masonry is a physically taxing profession that involves constructing a variety of stone furnishings, using natural-cut and artificial stone, for indoor and outdoor settings. Masons are highly trained individuals who meticulously follow blueprints and safety precautions. Community and technical schools across the U.S. offer diploma and associate degree programs in masonry, and registered apprenticeships are also available through trade and union associations.
How to Select a Program for a Masonry Career
A few training options are available to aspiring stonemasons, including informal training in the field, college-level diploma and degree programs and apprenticeships. Graduates from diploma and degree programs typically enter the workforce as apprentices or entry-level laborers. Apprenticeships are considered to be the most thorough form of training but may be hard to find.
Summary of Considerations
- Type of program
- Practical skills covered
Type of Program
Training programs are intended for aspiring masons who are not currently employed as well as for professionals seeking additional training. These programs typically offer a diploma or associate degree upon completion; in contrast, apprentices are contract employees who work in the field during the day under supervision and take night courses in a classroom setting. In some cases, the employer covers the tuition and the apprentice is paid an hourly wage.
Practical Skills Covered
Many masons are self-employed; therefore, when deciding between training programs, aspiring masons should consider the practical, industry-related skills covered in the curricula. Some programs prepare students to read blueprints and estimate materials and costs, which can be helpful for those looking to advance to supervisors or managers. Additionally, students will likely benefit from programs that culminate in a final, real-world project, such as building construction.
Diploma programs offered through technical colleges are typically one year in length and prepare students to enter the workforce as apprentices. Students learn to build arches, walls and use the required tools in a laboratory setting outside of the classroom. Courses include:
- Applied communication
- Specialized masonry
Associate Degree Programs
Masonry programs are sometimes offered as Associate of Applied Science degrees, which require students to take general education courses. Associate in Occupational Studies degree programs, by contrast, only include courses in masonry and construction. Due to the nature of the work, programs usually have physical requirements for all applicants, such as the ability to lift 50 pounds and climb a ladder. Some programs emphasize managerial skills to prepare students for an advanced position within the field. Coursework can include:
- Construction essentials
- Wood fabrication technology
- Masonry sketching and detailing
Aspiring apprentices must work full-time at a participating contract company and be at least 17 years old to apply. Programs typically last three years, with apprentices beginning as laborers and advancing to working with stone and concrete. Depending on state requirements, certification can involve about 400 hours of classroom and laboratory training and up to 6,000 hours of on-the-job training. Students learn to construct a variety of structures, including:
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