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 an apprentices or entry level laborers. Apprenticeships are considered to be the most thorough form of training but may not be available to every candidate.
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.
Many masons are self-employed and own their own business; therefore, when deciding between training programs, aspiring masons should consider the practical, industry-related skills covered in the curricula. Programs may 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 an apprentice. Students are trained to build arches, walls and use the required tools in a laboratory setting outside of the classroom. Courses may include estimating, applied communication and specialized masonry.
Associate Degree Programs
Masonry may be offered as an associate of applied science degree, which requires students to take general education courses, or as an associate in occupational studies, which only includes courses in masonry and construction. Due to the nature of the work, programs may have physical requirements for all applicants, such as lifting 50 pounds and the ability to climb a ladder. Degree programs may emphasize managerial skills to prepare students for an advanced position within the field.
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.
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