How do I Become a Bricklayer?

Carol Francois

There are four items required to become a bricklayer: physical strength, manual dexterity, apprenticeship, and certification. A bricklayer is a skilled tradesperson who is responsible for laying bricks for both walls and floors. This type of work is typically performed outside.

A bricklayer must have the skill to build both walls and floors with bricks.
A bricklayer must have the skill to build both walls and floors with bricks.

As a bricklayer, you are required to read drawings and blueprints, measure, select the correct mortar and put the bricks in place. In addition, you may be required to use power tools to cut and fit bricks. Bricklayers work in teams on large jobs, or can work independently on a smaller scale project.

An experienced brick mason is trained to properly prepare mortar for the best results.
An experienced brick mason is trained to properly prepare mortar for the best results.

This job is physically demanding, requiring repetitive heavy lifting. There is a significant amount of bending, lifting, and shifting positions involved. Reduce the stress on your body by getting into shape and improving both your muscle strength and your cardiovascular fitness. This will help to reduce the aches and pains that are common in a physically demanding job.

Bricks come in all shapes and sizes and it is the bricklayer’s job to install them into a pleasing appearance that also adds to the structural strength of the building. Mortar must be applied in a consistent level of thickness for the entire structure, so fine motor control and an eye for aesthetics is very helpful. As a bricklayer, you may also be required to use hand tools. Practice this skill so that you are confidant of your strength and degree of control.

Apprenticeship programs to become a bricklayer are widely available from community and career colleges. These programs combine classroom studies with supervised work experience. Although not required, most employers prefer candidates who have completed high school. During the apprenticeship program, you will take courses in blueprint reading, math, patterns, and designs. A minimum of 144 hours of classroom work, combined with three years working experience are necessary to become a bricklayer.

Either a state agency or the bricklayers association grants certification as a bricklayer. Both have specific requirements of education and experience that must be met. In addition, written tests are sometime required to confirm your knowledge of safe building practices. Once you have obtained certification, you are now a journeyman bricklayer.

Once you become a bricklayer, you can earn between $17 and $30 US Dollars (USD) per hour. The workday often starts at 7:30 in the morning and ends at 3:00 in the afternoon, but longer hours may be required to meet a deadline. There are many opportunities to open your own firm, once you have become a licensed bricklayer.

Bricklayers are required to read drawings and blueprints.
Bricklayers are required to read drawings and blueprints.

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Discussion Comments


Bricklaying does look like extremely hard work. A friend of mine had a brick patio put in awhile back and I went over to visit her one afternoon when the bricklayers were out there working. They were really working, let me tell you!

They were busily laying bricks, all the while consulting their blueprints. Until that day I had no idea how much planning went into installing a brick patio! I definitely have a lot of respect for bricklayers after seeing them in action.


Honestly, for the amount of work a bricklayer does, $17 to $30 dollars just doesn't seem like it would be enough! The job of a bricklayer requires manual labor, yes, but it also requires specialized knowledge. That in itself makes me think these people should be getting paid more!

At least a bricklayer has a pretty good opportunity to open their own business though. A lot of successful people I know are tradespeople that went into business for themselves!

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