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Nature of work Concrete finishers place and finish the concrete They may also color concrete surfaces expose aggregate in walls and sidewalks or fabricate concrete beams columns and panels First the finisher set forms to hold the concrete in place and then they spread the concrete in the forms After the concrete is on the ground they use special tools to level or screed the concrete When the concrete is screeded they take an edging tool around the boarder of the forms to give the concrete a nice finished edge Working Conditions Most finishing is done at floor level Workers must bend and kneel often Many of the jobs are outdoors and work is usually stopped during bad weather The work either indoors or outdoors may be in muddy dusty and dirty areas To avoid chemical burns from uncured concrete and sore knees from frequently kneeling many workers wear kneepads Workers also usually wear water-repellent boots while working in wet concrete Training Other Qualifications and Advancement Cement workers usually learn their skills by on the job training as helpers or though 3 year apprenticeship programs When hiring people employers prefer high school graduates who are at least 18 years old and are in good physical condition On the job training programs consist of experienced workers teach helpers to use tools equipment machines and materials of the trade Three-year apprenticeship programs provide on the job training in addition to a recommended minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction each year A written test and a physical exam may be required Job Outlook Despite expected slow job growth for skilled cement masons and concrete finishers are expected to be excellent as the increase in demand out paces the supply of workers in this craft Workers in this field may experience periods of unemployment when the level of non-residential construction falls Earnings In 2000 the median hourly wage for concrete
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