Glassblowing Career and Training Facts

You can study glassblowing through fine arts programs that offer concentrations in glass media. Read the article below for details about glassblowing and other glass-related courses as well as suggestions for choosing a school that's equipped with a wide range of glass art equipment. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Glassblowing is the art of shaping melted glass to make decorative objects. It is an area of concentration within the fine arts field at colleges and universities; however, specific programs can be difficult to find. Many professional glassblowers enroll in apprenticeships and complete on-the-job training to gain the necessary skills for a master glassblower title.

SchoolsArt and design schools or two-year and four-year colleges and universities with a fine arts program and media specialization in glass
CoursesIntroductory fine arts courses such as drawing and sculpture, glass blowing, cold working, mold-making, casting and stained glass
Future Career Options Freelance artist, instructor, gallery representative

Sources: The Art Career Project, Rhode Island School of Design, The University of the Arts

What Types of Schools Offer Glassblowing Programs?

Some schools offer glassblowing training through an art associate degree or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program with a specialization in glass media. Master's degree programs with glass specializations are also offered at arts and design schools, such as the Rhode Island School of Design, but are less common.

Through a combination of lecture courses and studio sessions, you can learn a variety of techniques for creating blown and stained glass works of art. Due to the cost of equipment and the hands-on nature of the work, these programs are only available on campus.

What Careers Does Training Prepare Me For?

If you graduate from an associate degree program with a glass specialization, you are poised to work as an art gallery representative or an instructor in an art museum or art center, according to some schools. You may also begin a freelance career as an artist. BFA program graduates may also pursue careers as artists, open their own businesses or attend graduate school. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to develop glassblowing skills in a real-world environment, as well as gain exposure to different areas in which to work.

What Courses Can I Take?

If you enroll in an associate degree program, you'll begin by taking core art courses. Some classes may cover techniques for changing the consistency of the glass or adding colors. These topics might also be explored:

  • Graphic design
  • Sculpture
  • Molten glassblowing techniques
  • Grinders
  • Lathes
  • Drill presses

What About Courses in a Bachelor's Degree Program?

Bachelor's degree programs also include core courses in addition to advanced glass courses. Some courses include instruction in sandblasting and painting glass. Coursework may also cover some of the following areas of interest:

  • 2D and 3D design
  • Art history
  • Drawing
  • Fuse and cast glass in kilns
  • Glass powder
  • Recycled glass
  • Computer-aided design (CAD) software

What Should I Look for in a School?

Look for schools with instructors who are also professional artists. Schools should also offer access to a 'hot' studio with furnaces, kilns and other equipment for working with molten glass, and also a 'cold' studio equipped with cutters, polishers and other machines for working with hardened glass. Equipment should also include computers with design software.

You may also want to make sure a school can help you prepare to enter the job market after graduation. Many programs offer students the opportunity to exhibit their work. They may also require you to develop a professional portfolio to present to potential employers. Other schools may offer students the opportunity to put together an exhibit, write grant proposals or pursue internships and apprenticeships.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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