Become a Concrete Finisher: Education and Career Roadmap

Jan 22, 2022

Research the requirements to become a concrete finisher. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in concrete and masonry construction.

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Should I Become a Concrete Finisher?

Concrete finishers place, smooth, and finish poured concrete. They prepare concrete for entities such as sidewalks, roads, curbs, and buildings. This is physically strenuous work because concrete finishers spend so much time bending and kneeling to work on the construction materials that make up floors and walkways. This work typically takes place outdoors and is typically seasonal in nature. Long days may be necessary in order to finish a job by the deadline. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects masonry jobs to decline by 2%, from 2020-2030. The BLS also reported the median annual salary for cement masons and concrete finishers was $46,000 in May 2020.

Career Requirements

Experience Entry level***
Degree Level none; however, apprenticeships require a high school diploma*
Key Skills Communication, problem-solving and mathematical skills; accounting, scientific and project management software; ability to operate a variety of hand and power tools such as bar cutters, post hole diggers, concrete pumps, and power saws***
Additional Requirements Employers may require applicants to pass a physical exam and have a driver's license***
Licensure/Certification Voluntary certification is available from organizations such as the American Concrete Institute (ACI)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **American Concrete Institute, ***ISeek Careers.

Steps to Become A Concrete Finisher

Let's find out more about the steps you'll need to take to become a concrete finisher.

Step 1: Meet the Training Requirements

Some concrete finishers enter the field through formal apprenticeships. Entry into apprenticeship programs is competitive and requires a high school diploma. These programs may last up to four years and combine hands-on training with classroom instruction. Individuals interested in an apprenticeship may consider taking courses in drafting, math and carpentry.

Some concrete finishers learn their skills through informal job training, which may last up to a year. In this case, trainees begin as helpers and are taught how to lay blocks and use equipment. Both apprentices and on-the-job learners are typically paid during the training period.

Step 2: Obtain and Keep Certification

Earning certification may make concrete finishers more competitive in the job market. Finishers can complete certification through the American Concrete Institute (ACI). To qualify for certification, candidates must meet minimum work experience requirements and pass an exam. ACI certification is valid for five years. Individuals must pass a written exam to maintain their certification.

Step 3: Career Advancement

After years of experience, concrete finishers can go on to become a construction foreman or even a project manager on a construction site. Project managers oversee these construction sites in a largely administrative capacity.

To become a concrete finisher, you'll need to complete an apprenticeship or go through on-the-job training.

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