Essential Skills
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Bricklayers lay bricks, concrete blocks, stone and other similar materials to construct or repair walls, arches, chimneys, fireplaces and other structures in accordance with blueprints and specifications.

Careers in Skilled Trades:

Over the next few issues we will be looking at some skilled trades so you can get some idea of what's out there. This week we will look at the career of Bricklayer.

Do you like working with your hands? Are you physically fit? Could you work with precision tools? Do you have an eye for line, colour and proportion? Are you creative? 

If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Bricklayer could be right for you.

Bricklayers lay bricks, concrete blocks, stone and other similar materials to construct or repair walls, arches, chimneys, fireplaces and other structures in accordance with blueprints and specifications. You could be installing firebrick in commercial and industrial furnaces and incinerators. You could also be working with acid tile and acid brick in pulp mills.

Bricklayers may be employed by construction companies as contractors, or they may be self-employed.


As a Bricklayer, your duties may include the following:

  • Laying bricks, stone or similar materials to build residential/commercial chimneys and fireplaces, patios, walls or walkways
  • Laying firebricks to line industrial chimneys and smokestacks
  • Cutting and trimming bricks using hand and power tools
  • Lining or relining furnaces and boilers using acid-resistant bricks
  • Restoring, cleaning or painting existing brick structures
  • Reading and interpreting sketches and blueprints

Work Conditions

The standard work week for bricklayers is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next.

As a Bricklayer, you will usually work outdoors, often on scaffolding. Bricklayers sometimes use protective enclosures and portable heaters in adverse weather conditions. Your work will be physically demanding, and you may be required to travel to various work sites. On many jobs you will work closely with other construction professionals as part of a team.

As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Bricklayers are trained to work safely and wear special equipment to protect against injury.

Training and Certification

Apprenticeship is one way of starting out in the construction industry. It involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Bricklayer, called a journeyperson.

As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 50% of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.

Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for bricklaying apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. Generally, you must be at least 16 years of age and have a Grade 10 education. You may find it beneficial to have courses in English and math.

Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as a Bricklayer.

Program length
Apprenticeship training programs for bricklayers vary across Canada, but generally involve three 12-month periods, including at least 1,600 hours of on-the-job training, three eight-week blocks of technical training and a final certificate exam.

Related work experience or completion of a bricklaying program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.

Certification is required in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec, and is available but voluntary in all other provinces and the Yukon. Where certification is not available, it may be possible to study as an apprentice through your local labour organization. Check out Related links to find out who to contact. Even where certification is voluntary it is still recommended. Certification tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional. It also helps you get jobs.

To be certified as a Bricklayer, you usually need to complete a three- to four-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a journeyperson certificate.

You may be eligible for certification in some provinces and territories if you have more than four years of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses in bricklaying.

As a certified Bricklayer, you may attempt the Interprovincial Exam to qualify for the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal. With a Red Seal, you can work as a Bricklayer anywhere in Canada.

To keep your skills current, you have to keep up with new technological developments by reading and talking with other bricklayers.

Anticipated In-Demand Regions

  • Ontario - Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
Check out the Job Prospects for this trade in your province over the next 10 years. Click here.
Info compiled from Careers in Construction

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