Most jewelry designers and repairers enjoy creative, rewarding, and fun careers. Working with metals and stones, making models or just repairing broken clasps, these professionals preserve family heirlooms and create new treasures. Whether in retail stores or a factory setting, jewelry and metal workers have a variety of venues where they can practice their craft. In order to properly work with precious materials, jewelry designers and repairers develop the expertise to handle, examine, and grade the quality of gems and metals; many individuals obtain these skills through online certificate programs for jewelry designers.
Many of the best jewelry repair certificate programs online can be completed in less than six months. Since so many jewelry students ultimately want to launch their own businesses, the best programs offer instruction in entrepreneurship in addition to fundamentals of design and material evaluation. Upon completion of the program, jewelry designers are able to work in both retail stores and manufacturing operations. According to BLS data, 39,200 people were employed as jewelry workers in 2010.
Types of Jewelry Design/Repair Certificates
Jewelry repairers and designers work in a variety of environments. Although many are found in traditional jewelry stores, others find work in luggage and leather shops. Still others work either in wholesale outlets or directly in manufacturing. Many specialize in metals and find work in silver manufacturing. In order to develop this expertise, many attend a jewelry design school online; for many of these institutions, the only requirements are a high school diploma (or equivalent) and a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
In a vocational certificate program, students learn how to remedy most jewelry problems. Course work will cover repairing broken pieces, particularly clasps, re-setting stones and re-sizing rings. Students will learn how to solder pieces together and shape metal when creating a new piece, as well as polishing and smoothing techniques for metals and gems. Design is also usually included, and the best schools even have courses that cover computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM).
What’s Next for Jewelry Design/Repair Certificate Holders?
People who put their jewelry repair and design vocational certificates to work are well compensated. According to the BLS, the median salary of a jewelry and metal workers earned a median salary of $35,170 in 2010; furthermore, many qualified jewelers were making in excess of $60,000 annually.
Many certified jewelers choose to continue their education and earn an associate degree. The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University recently published a report that noted the average associate degree holder will earn $1.7 million over his/her lifetime. They are also more likely to be employed; according to the BLS, associate degree holders in 2012 had lower unemployment rates than the national average.
Some choose to build on the certificate and obtain a bachelor’s degree. These students realize that the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders in 2012 was 40% lower than for those with a vocational certificate. People with bachelor’s degrees also earned nearly 50% more in 2012, when compared with their neighbors who held vocational certificates. According to the Georgetown report, bachelor’s degree holders will earn nearly $2.3 million during their lifetimes.