Carpentry and Masonry Specialist – MOS 12W

A job that allows you to build things for the Army and see the world

Two Army carpentry and masonry specialists in fatigues and hardhats apply roof covering

Frank Grass / Flickr

In the Army, there's always going to be a need for soldiers who can build things. Carpentry and Masonry Specialists—categorized as a military occupational specialty (MOS) 12W—handle a wide variety of building and masonry duties. If you're good with a tool belt and aren't afraid of heights (some of the structures you'll build are quite tall), this may be the Army job for you. 

Ideally, you'll have a desire to work with your hands and be OK with working outdoors in all kinds of weather and conditions, including combat areas. A knowledge of science and math is useful as well in this job. 

Duties of MOS 12W

Soldiers in this job build and maintain structures like trusses and rigging devices. You'll assist with combat engineer missions, doing basic carpentry and masonry work, and build framing, sheathing fabrication, and roofing structures. You'll also build concrete forms for columns, slabs, and walls. 

This job will find you stationed anywhere in the world where the Army needs builders and will vary based on active missions. Your skills will be in high demand, and you'll work closely with Army engineers on a lot of projects. 

Training for Army Concrete and Masonry Specialists

To prepare for an Army career as a concrete and masonry specialist, you'll undergo 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training (boot camp) and nine weeks of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. As with all Army training, recruits spend part of their time in the field and part of their time in the classroom.

You'll learn basic concrete tech, including proportioning and control tests, the correct way to use finishing tools and techniques like edging, jointing, curing, and protection. By the time you've completed your training, you'll know the basics of structure-forming, flooring, and roofing.

Qualifying for MOS 12W

To be eligible for this job, you'll need to score at least 88 on the general maintenance (GM) segment of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests.  

There is no Department of Defense security clearance needed for this MOS, but you will need normal color vision (no colorblindness), and be able to meet the heavy strength requirement. It isn't the job for you if you suffer from vertigo; you have to be able to climb, balance and work in high places regularly. Chances are good you'll be outdoors a lot of the time. 

MOS 12W and Similar Civilian Occupations

This is one of the Army jobs that best prepares you for a steady civilian career. You'll be qualified to work in a variety of roles in commercial and residential construction and may even be prepared to work as a foreman on various job sites. Make sure you research any licensing or training requirements in your area, but most likely, you'll already have the skills needed for these jobs.