Concrete Laborer Job Description
Concrete laborers work with concrete. While concrete can be molded into any shape when newly mixed, it becomes incredibly hard and durable when it dries. Because of this strength, it is used when building things that need to hold up over time, such as roads, dams, skyscrapers, bridges, and houses. Concrete laborers follow directions to make concrete and put it exactly where it has to go according to project specifications.
Concrete laborers work at job sites where concrete needs to be poured. They may be particularly busy during times when the weather is pleasant and precipitation limited. Since the job involves carrying, lifting, bending, and being on one’s feet for a long time, physical fitness and stamina are good qualities for concrete laborers to possess. Demand for concrete laborers and other jobs categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as cement masons and concrete finishers is expected to increase 13 percent through 2024, with more than 3,900 job openings each year resulting from new jobs being created and existing jobs becoming available.
Concrete Laborer Duties and Responsibilities
As so many structures depend on concrete, concrete laborers must take their position seriously. A job done right will look good and withstand the test of time. An analysis of job postings reveals these core tasks as common for concrete laborers to do:
Concrete laborers may load supplies and work tools onto trucks to bring to the site and may even drive the vehicle. At the construction site, they unload objects and get them where they need to be.
Breaking Up Old Concrete
Before new concrete can be poured, existing concrete often must be dug out or broken up (such as a cracked sidewalk). Concrete laborers perform these processes.
Mix, Pour, and Spread Concrete
As noted earlier, concrete contains a mixture of materials that must be put together in proper proportions. It gets mixed right before using so that it is fresh and pourable rather than already starting to get hard. Concrete laborers assist in maintaining a proper supply of concrete so that operations remain constant. They also guide the concrete to the proper places and direct the driver of the mixing truck as to where to best be positioned. They use tools to distribute the concrete and smooth the top.
Construction sites pose a variety of risks. Concrete laborers are expected to do their part in preventing accidents by cleaning up the work environment and the tools, being mindful of their actions, and wearing appropriate safety gear such as hard hats and reflective vests.
Concrete Laborer Skills
The ability to perform hard work is at the heart of being a concrete laborer. But beyond physical ability, hiring managers look for candidates capable of these things:
- Working well with others since projects are typically done in teams
- Listening to directions so that work is done properly and safety is maintained
- Monitoring situations, such as weather and what others are doing, in order to make adjustments and maintain quality
Concrete Laborer Tools of the trade
concrete laborers require a variety of specific items to do their job. Among the most common are:
- Concrete – a rocklike substance produced by mixing sand, gravel, or crushed stone with a paste of Portland cement and water in specific quantities
- Portland cement – the type of cement used in most concrete
- Forms – structures, often made of wood or metal, designed to hold and shape poured concrete
- Mixer – a revolving drum that homogeneously mixes the ingredients of concrete
- Jackhammer – a power tool that combines the properties of a hammer and a chisel that is used to break apart old concrete
- Forklifts – transportation machinery used by some concrete laborers to move items from one area to another
- Spreading, leveling, and smoothing tools – shovels, rakes, trowels, and similar items used to position the concrete where it needs to be
- Power washer – a machine that sprays high-pressure water that cleans dry concrete
Concrete Laborer Education and Training
Roughly half of concrete laborers hold a high school diploma and half do not. Though on-the-job training is common, applicants who already have studied concrete finishing and similar techniques at a vocational school may have better job prospects.
Concrete Laborer Salary
The median annual salary for concrete laborers, categorized by the BLS under “cement masons and concrete finishers,” is $39,180. Concrete laborers in the 10th percentile earn about $26,600 a year and the highest paid make in excess of $68,400 a year. Concrete laborers in Alaska, New York, and Hawaii make the highest median salaries in the U.S. — $68,110, $67,270, and $66,540, respectively.
Concrete Laborer Resources
As you continue to think about becoming a concrete laborer, consider turning to these organizations, websites, and books for assistance:
National Ready Mixed Concrete Association – A leading industry advocate since 1930, this organization is a go-to source for info on concrete and the people who work with it. Check out the “professional development” section on its website for the latest webinars, online learning opportunities, and conferences to advance your career as a concrete laborer.
American Concrete Institute – Another well-established trade group, ACI has nearly 20,000 members spanning more than 120 countries. The “topics in concrete” section of its website provides descriptions of virtually every term a concrete laborer might encounter on the job.
Portland Cement Association – Learn everything from how cement is made to the importance of concrete to the nation’s infrastructure at this website created by the group that since 1916 has been “the premier policy, research, education, and market intelligence organization serving America’s cement manufacturers.”
ConcreteNetwork.com –The stated mission of this site is “to educate homeowners, contractors, builders, and designers on popular concrete techniques and applications.” Aspiring concrete laborers can learn everything from seasonal pouring tips to fixing concrete coloring issues.
Wikipave – The American Concrete Pavement Association hosts this encyclopedic resource sure to be of use to concrete laborers.
Cement Mason and Concrete Finisher Career: The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview and Getting Promoted – Concrete laborers looking to increase job prospects and satisfaction may want to take a look at this book.
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