Dry Stone Conservancy

Career Certification Levels

The Dry Stone Conservancy has multiple certification levels - for drystone masons, journeymen, master craftsmen, drystone authorities, examiners, instructors, and garden masons. All levels in the certification program are for professional drystone masons

Although participation in the DSC training program is not required for certification, it will be of great assistance in acquiring needed skills. As part of the training, the Instructors show slides and a how-to video, and carefully explain the theories of internationally accepted standards. Courses are hands-on and provide the trainees with instruction in every part of building a double-faced drystone fence, while providing continuous monitoring in the field.


Basic Drystone Mason is the first, beginning, level in the Dry Stone Conservancy's certification program. Candidates who pass the test for correctly building a wallhead, a low retaining wall, and a (timed) drystone fence section, achieve the initial level of Certified Drystone Mason.

To increase skills, gain experience, and prepare for certification, apprentices may then want to participate in the DSC ongoing training projects.  Although participation in the DSC projects is not required for certification, it will be of great assistance in acquiring needed skills.  The basic test requires correctly building a wallhead, a low retaining wall, and a (timed) drystone fence section.  Masons may also increase their skills by working with independent contractors.


Journeyman Mason is the second level in advancement in the Dry Stone Conservancy's certification program. It is earned by drystone masons with skills above the beginning (basic) level. Journeyman masons are skilled in building and repairing strong field fences, retaining walls, roadside fences, and stream bank walls, as well as common drystone features such as curved fences, corners, culverts, and stepped foundations. Their abilities include sound techniques, durable construction, and a good production rate.

It will greatly assist a drystone mason who aspires to journeyman certification to participate in the DSC's training projects or to work with Journeymen or Master Craftsmen. These projects give the masons experience in more advanced construction and production techniques, ensure that they understand the theories of internationally accepted standards, and provide continuous monitoring in the field.


Master Craftsman certifies masons who are fully proficient in all aspects of building freestanding fences, retaining walls up to 5 feet in height, special features commonly incorporated in drystone fences, and use of a variety of rock types. In addition to excellence in building drystone fences and retaining walls, the Master Craftsman builds pillars, arches, and stiles. Master Craftsmen must conduct their work in a fully professional manner. Essential requirements are construction techniques that provide structural strength combined with a superior production rate.

Instructor & Examiner Certification

Qualified Instructors and Certified Examiners are awarded to certified drystone masons who have completed a DSC-sponsored or DSWA training course, and have passed the requirements to become DSC Instructors and/or Examiners.

DRYSTONE LANDSCAPE MASON - A drystone mason at any certification level may have the additional award of Drystone Landscape Mason.  Landscape masons who produce finely detailed work with a precision finish, and who are fully proficient in all aspects of drystone landscaping, including supervision of major construction projects are named Drystone Landscape Masons, in addition to their certification levels.

Certification & Program

Certification Program for Dry Stone Masons. Our certification program has many opportunities for professional masons and novices looking to improve their craft.
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Dry Stone Conservancy
1065 Dove Run Rd.
Suite 6
Lexington, KY 40502
(859) 266-4807

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