Jewelry Design Degrees

The Advantages To Earning A Jewelry Design Degree

A jewelry design degree provides individuals with the training and technical information necessary to turn wire, stone, metal, thread and other materials into wearable art accessories. Jewelry design professionals must acquire a high degree of skill to qualify as professionals in their career generally gain an understanding of the field through trade, technical, or vocational schools, online learning programs, or on the job training. Students enrolled within a jewelry design degree program learn how to plan, design, and create various styles of jewelry like necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and other custom made forms of jewelry. Additionally, jewelry design programs also give students the training necessary to repair and replace jewelry, understand the history of jewelry, gain knowledge regarding gemology, and learn the technicalities of metalsmithing to gain a broad understanding into the jewelry design field.

As many students manage home and work obligations while pursuing a degree, most colleges and universities have developed innovative online programs to extend educational opportunities to off campus students. Most online degree programs feature virtually the same educational experience as traditional, on-campus programs. Online courses generally provide students with an added benefit of increased flexibility in course scheduling as well as a more personalized education. Students enrolled in online classes generally have 24 hour access to course materials, instruction, and information. Online degree programs provide students with one on one interactions with instructors and other students via Internet chats. Online programs are often one of the most convenient, affordable means of propelling educational, personal, and career goals.

What Students Learn Within A Jewelry Design Degree Program

Students enrolled within a jewelry design degree program learn the technical skills, history, and occupational knowledge necessary for advancing education and building lasting careers. Many individuals learn skills by on the job experiences yet formal degree programs often increase employment and advancement opportunities. Most jewelry design professionals are required to complete a two or four year degree program before entering the field as assistants, technicians, designers, jewelers, or executives within jewelry organizations.

Courses at an associate level include: introduction to jewelry design; beginning soldering techniques; piercing and sawing techniques; wax carving; mechanical drafting for jewelers; tools, equipment, and processes; basic sculpture; drawing; English composition; introduction to the physical sciences; metal forming techniques: chasing and repousse; jewelry casting; jewelry design; materials and properties; materials and findings; basic design; history of art and civilization; objects design and rendering; introduction to gemology; estimating costs; costume jewelry production and marketing; survey of computer graphics; display design: small scale; fashion jewelry; fine jewelry; changes and trends; introduction to 3D computer modeling; and nature studies. Upon completion of an associate’s degree, many graduates advance to entry level employment within the field of jewelry design or higher degree programs.

Bachelor level courses include classes like: introduction to jewelry; drawing; introduction to casting for jewelry; professional practices; holloware; enameling; history of art; art history II; primitive ceramics; introduction to ceramics; introduction to glass; glass construction and kiln working; glass construction and cold glass; intermediate glass; book/fiber structures in dimensional form; fabric pattern and image; off loom structure; woven structure; electoforming workshop; junior metalsmithing; color in metals; machine tool processes; production processes; introduction to computer aided design/computer aided manufacture; 3D CAD; jewelry; plastics for jewelry and objects; advanced metalsmithing; lapidary and stone setting; enameling; casting; photo processes and etching jewelry; ceramic mold making; primitive ceramics; two dimensional ceramics; ceramic materials; porcelain; advanced throwing and wheel work; advanced ceramics; ceramic structures; hot glass: blowing; hot glass: casting; historical glass design; mixed media construction: structural embellishment; soft sculpture; Shibori cloth techniques; body wear construction; body art and adornment; alternative materials; mixed media printing; foundation in computers; off loom structure; woven structure; silkscreen on fabric; plastics for jewelry; color in metals; fabric pattern and image; structural embellishment; rapid prototyping; and business practices in crafts. Graduates from a bachelor program in jewelry design generally qualify for various levels of employment within the field.

Some graduates advance to master’s degree programs and complete courses in: digital research into practice; digital forming; 3D design; design for production; design targets; visual communication; exploring practices in jewelry design; benchwork; stone carving; anticlastic raising; finishing; smithing; coloring; soldering; surface treatment; casting; resin and perspex forming; etching; working ceramics, steel, wood, and plaster techniques; stone setting; brand identity; laser welding; patination; practice of design and craft; history of artifacts; research methods; ethics; art history; philosophy of art; and history of design. Graduates who complete master’s level courses are qualified as experts within the field of jewelry design and advance to multiple upper level positions within schools, businesses, and corporations. Some master’s level graduates may choose to complete studies within a doctoral degree program.

As jewelry design programs at a doctoral level do not exist, most students complete a PhD program in fine arts with a concentration in jewelry design. Classes include: two dimensional design; drawing; three dimensional design; perspective drawing; world art before 1200; world art since 1200; color theory and practice; jewelry design and metalsmithing; sculpture; art of the 20th and 21st centuries; functional sculpture; casting for jewelers and metalsmiths; enameling for jewelers and metalsmiths; textile techniques in metal; glassworking; mixed media exploration; and introduction to general metals. Graduates who complete doctoral degrees often advance to employment as instructors within colleges and universities.

Prospective Jobs For Graduates With Jewelry Design Degrees

Graduates who complete studies within the field of jewelry design gain specialized knowledge necessary for a range of career options. Most graduates who complete formal studies gain employment based upon level of education, skill level, and geographic location. Though jewelry stores are generally located within urban and rural areas, graduates tend to find the best employment options within larger cities. Graduates who complete associate’s degree programs often work as jewelry store salespersons, department store jewelry specialists, mold and model makers, jewelry assemblers, or jewelry engravers, until they gain relevant work experience and advance to jobs with greater responsibilities.

Graduates who complete bachelor level jewelry design programs often work as jewelers, bench jewelers, jewelry importers, gemologists, jewelry repairers, and sometimes jewelry appraisers. Graduates who complete advanced degree programs generally work as master jewelers, upper level executives within jewelry retail organizations or corporations, importers, appraisers, gemologists, instructors, or researchers. Some graduates who complete formal degree programs, gain work experience, and earn adequate funding begin self own businesses as independent jewelry designers, retail store owners, and jewelry repair shop owners.

Salary Range For Graduates From Jewelry Design Degree Programs

Graduates who complete jewelry design degrees often have earnings reflective of their education level, skill level, organization of employment, and geographic location. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that earnings for jewelers, precious stone workers, and metal workers ranges from $24,370 to $43,440 annually. Most jewelry design professionals begin with base salaries and earn a commission for retail sales or the number of completed designs. Additionally, most professionals within the field gain discounts on any purchases of jewelry as well as reimbursement from employers for continuing education.

Career Outlook And Advancement Opportunities For Graduates With Jewelry Design Degrees

Graduates Jewelry design degree graduates are anticipated to have favorable job opportunities particularly if they specialize and refine their skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports the field of jewelry design is expected grow by 5 percent at a rate slower than average in comparison to other occupations through the year 2018. Economic downturns, consumer trends to purchase Internet based, discount vendor jewelry rather than traditional stores, and offshoring have greatly affected the number of jobs available to graduates with jewelry design degrees.

Job competition is predicted to be heavy for assembler and polisher positions within manufacturing companies and graduates with lower degrees. Bench jewelers and jewelry design professionals who refine skills through educational programs and work experiences are predicted to have favorable employment opportunities within retail stores with online sales offerings as the economy recovers and the demand for custom jewelry rises. Jewelers who establish a reputation for quality products, personalized service, and distinguish their skills for sizing, cleaning, and repairs, gradually build strong client bases.

As many employers have difficulty replacing master jewelers, as well as difficulty sourcing and retaining experienced jewelers, graduates who complete formal degree programs with knowledge of CAD/CAM and jewelry repair may find increased employability with the potential for more stable careers. Independent designers who establish their skills and reputation may find employment within customized or boutique jewelry settings. Jewelry design graduates may find advancement opportunities by displaying their knowledge, precision, attention to detail, and experience by beginning at entry level positions, continuing education, and expanding their skills to more advanced jobs with greater responsibilities.

Many more experienced jewelry design professionals gain promotions to master jeweler positions within jewelry retail and manufacturing companies. Some may even leave the field to pursue instructor positions within vocational schools, colleges, or universities or begin their own, self operated jewelry and repair businesses. As with most design careers, professionals who complete formal training programs, specialize knowledge, gain work experience, and display creativity and skill often build long lasting careers in the field of jewelry design.

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