A Masonry Apprenticeship

Program descriptions and curricula vary across the state. However, the particular program highlighted in the following example is a Middle Tennessee, contractor/union sponsored apprenticeship.

Successful candidates will have been interviewed and accepted by a panel of masonry contractors and instructors. Typically, they will have prior exposure to the trade as a laborer or mason tender, but this not necessarily required.

They will attend a full-time 8 weeks of classroom & tool-manipulation instruction. Upon completion of the 8 weeks, the apprentice is hired or re-hired by their sponsoring contractor. They will work along-side and be mentored by journeyman masons, with earnings beginning at 65% of a journeyman mason’s wage.

In addition to their daily on-the-job training, they will also attend evening classes once per week for the duration of the three-year program. There are breaks, similar to a summer break within public school systems.

As long as the apprentice attends the required evening classes, and continues to progress on the job as expected, wages increase by 5% every 6 mos. for the duration of his/her apprenticeship. Ultimately, “topping out” as a journeyman mason.


The following is a timeline example of an actual current apprentice:

Example using Mason D. Lovell

To date:

  • 5/23/16 – Graduated High School
  • 6/1/16 – Entered workforce as mason tender with Wasco/Lovell’s @ $15.00/hr.
  • 8/7/17 – Applied & accepted into the apprenticeship program. Completed the 8 weeks of classroom instruction.
  • 10/9/17 – Returned to full time on-the-job training and continues to attend evening classroom sessions once per week, earning 65% of journeyman wage. $16.92/hr.
  • 5/1/18 – Pay increase to 70% of journeyman wage. $18.93/hr
  • 10/1/18 – Pay increase to 75% of journeyman wage. $20.28/hr
  • 10/4/18 – Selected by his instructors to participate in an IMI/BAC sponsored event/competition in Baltimore/DC area. Expense paid.
  • *Typically, in the last quarter of year, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd year level competitions are held locally & regionally. Regional winner qualifies for an opportunity to compete nationally at the annual World of Concrete in Las Vegas.  In this example, Mason competed at 1st year level in all locations, had travel expenses covered, & collected over $1300 in winnings plus tool giveaways.


  • 5/1/19 – Pay increase to 80% of journeyman wage (assumes a base wage increase). $22.43/hr
  • 10/1/19 – Pay increase to 85% of journeyman wage. $23.83/hr
  • Opportunity to compete @ 2nd year level.
  • 5/1/20 – Pay increase to 90% of journeyman wage (assumes a base wage increase). $26.14/hr
  • 10/1/20 – Pay increase to 95% of journeyman wage. $27.59/hr
  • Opportunity to compete @ 3rd year level.
  • 12/31/20 – Progression should satisfy journeyman status to top out @ projected $29.04/hr



  • Can earn close to $30/hr, four years out of high school.
  • Get paid while learning on-the-job.
  • Scheduled pay increases over the course of the apprenticeship.
  • Zero debt.
  • Additional benefits vary based upon the contractor/employer. But in this example, Mason is eligible for the following with Wasco Inc. & it’s subsidiary, Lovell’s Masonry:
  1. Group Health Insurance
  2. Group Dental & Vision Insurance
  3. Short-Term Disability Insurance
  4. Life Insurance
  5. 401K (currently w/profit sharing match)
  6. Paid time off (based upon hours worked previous year)
  7. Specialized training/certificates
  8. Opportunities for advancement


After a recent trip to The Masonry Skills Challenge in Las Vegas, a little research has turned up the following:  https://www.masoncontractors.org/masonry-skills-challenge/winners/

MCAA Masonry Skills Challenge, Las Vegas

Number of 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winners, 2003-present

  1. Ohio 26
  2. Tennessee 23
  3. North Carolina 18
  4. California 14
  5. Texas 12
  6. Arizona 11
  7. Michigan 11
  8. Maryland 7
  9. Florida 6
  10. Illinois 6
  11. Indiana 3
  12. Missouri 3
  13. Virginia 3
  14. Pennsylvania 2
  15. Kansas 2
  16. Wisconsin 1
  17. West Virginia 1
  18. Alabama 1
  19. Georgia 1
  20. Oklahoma 1
  21. Canada 1


Obviously, Tennessee masonry contractors are successful when it comes to training apprentices.  But, we are constantly challenged with the task of attracting and recruiting young people!!