If you enjoy working outdoors with your hands, consider a career as a concrete technician. Most technical schools offer courses to teach the fundamentals of working with concrete. With a relatively short training period, concrete technicians make good wages, receive full benefits, have regular work schedules and enjoy the benefits of overtime.
Nationally, the average wage reported to the salary survey website Salary Expert in 2013 was $50,722 annually or $24.46 per hour. The lowest 10 percent of all concrete technicians in a sample of five randomly selected cities including Miami, Dallas, Walla Walla, Wash., San Francisco and Houston was $40,159 per year or $24.39 per hour. Those earning in the top 90 percent in those same five cities averaged $68,659 annually or $33.01 per hour.
Individual differences in average wages among those five cities were Miami, $44,127 annually or $21.21 per hour; Dallas, $45,029 annually or $21.65 per hour; Walla Walla, Wash., $49,648 annually or $23.87 per hour; San Francisco, $50,848 annually or $24.45 per hour and Houston, $63,956 annually or $30.75 per hour. Your best employment prospects as a concrete technician are in Texas, California, Florida, Illinois or Pennsylvania, as these states have the highest employment levels.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects overall employment of cement masons and terrazzo workers, including concrete technicians, will rise by 35 percent through 2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations at 14 percent. The trend of new construction using use concrete for its strength and resiliency, especially in areas threatened by severe weather conditions, is seen by the BLS as driving the demand. By its projections, there will be 50,100 new jobs for concrete technicians by 2020.
Although state requirements vary, in most you have to be certified as a concrete technician to secure jobs working for the government or when supervising other workers. In most states, you aren't required to take formal courses, but many concrete technicians do so to prepare for the certification examination. While not required for certification, many employers have new technicians apprentice for two to three years under a more experienced technician to hone their skills. You may have to take additional certification examinations to advance in this field.