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Glassmaker Ceramics maker, decorator, finisher

Glassmakers produce a wide variety of objects, from bottles to windows for buildings and vehicles, and from crystal vases to test tubes.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements. To work in glass manufacturing, you’ll need a good standard of general education and you'll usually be trained on the job.

For craftwork, you'll need both technical skills and artistic ability. You could develop relevant skills with a college qualification in a subject like art and design. Many craft glassmakers have a foundation degree, HND or degree in a related subject like design crafts, applied arts or glass and ceramics.

Creative Choices have more details about working in glass manufacturing and glass crafts.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • good practical skills
  • creative ideas for craftwork
  • patience, and the ability to pay close attention to detail
  • good business skills if self-employed

3. What you'll do

You could work as a glassmaker in any of the following areas:

  • flat glass – windows and doors for buildings
  • containers – bottles, jars and tableware
  • scientific and laboratory equipment
  • automotive glass – vehicle windows and sunroofs
  • glass fibre – for insulation and optical cables
  • crystal ware – for wine glasses and gifts
  • industrial glassmaking – making large quantities of glass products, usually using computer-controlled machinery
  • craft work – designing and making products such as hand-blown glassware or stained glass in a small studio or workshop

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • mixing different ingredients and additives
  • heating the ingredients with cullet (scrap glass) to very high temperatures
  • shaping the mixture by either glassblowing or by kiln forming
  • carrying out processes like cutting, grinding, toughening or laminating
  • applying decorative techniques like engraving, sand or grit-blasting, stencilling and acid etching

If you work in a craft studio or workshop you'll usually be involved in the whole process of designing, making and decorating. You may also sell your products directly from your studio, at craft fairs, or through shops and galleries.

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000

Experienced: £18,000 and £22,000

Highly Experienced: £35,000 or more

Self-employed glassmakers set their own rates.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

In industrial glassmaking, you'll usually work up to 39 hours, Monday to Friday. If you're self-employed you'd set your own hours.

You'll work in a factory, studio or workshop. Some universities and hospitals also employ specialists in scientific glass. You'll need to wear goggles and protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

In a glass factory, you may have the opportunity to move into supervisory or management positions.

You could also start your own business.

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Last updated: 13 April 2017