Classes in stained glass are offered by some community colleges as part of broader fine arts or historic preservation associate's degree programs. Applicants to these 2-year programs must have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Other training options are available through private facilities or community college continuing education departments, which have workshops that discuss glass fusing techniques and disassembly methods. Specialization subjects include frit layering, large copper foil projects, kaleidoscopes, glass fusing and Tiffany glass art. Depending on the studio, classes are offered as single, multi-day or multi-week workshops at various skill levels, ranging from introductory to intermediate.
Related apprenticeship programs take months or up to four years to complete. Some apprenticeships require the student to be currently enrolled in school and offer educational credit for work.
Associate's Degree in Fine Arts
While specific degree programs lead students down different career paths, classes at the associate's level all teach the basics of creating stained glass and include hands-on instruction and projects. Restoration program curriculum tends to be lecture-based. Not all courses are for credit. Subjects covered include:
- American stained glass history
- Stained glass design
- Technology of stained glass
- Leaded stained glass
- Stained glass restoration techniques
Training in Stained Glass
Many commercial stained glass studios have non-credit classes. Apprenticeship programs mostly take place in professional studios and specialized art training facilities. There are also international study apprenticeships accessible that encourage English-speaking students to apply.
Training programs are available at all skill levels and some tailor studies to coincide with a pupil's specific interests. Some of the training includes work in:
- Modern and ancient techniques
- Enamels, grisaille and matting
- Making replacement glass for restorations
- Dis-assembly and reinsertion of panels
- Historic data and image recording
- Business management for artisans
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a stained glass education program have a wide variety of career options. With further education or specialization training, students may go on to become:
- Art teachers
- Custom art window designers
- Stained glass window restorers
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Although there is no specific data available for stained glass artisans or restorers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers information for craft artists in general (www.bls.gov). This agency predicted a 1% increase in employment opportunities for craft artists between 2014 and 2024, which is notably slower than the national average for all job sectors. For salaried craft artists, the BLS reported an average wage of $35,710, as of May 2015. Most craft artists work independently so actual figures may be slightly different.
Students interested in creating stained glass can study their craft in fine art or historic preservation associate's degree programs, training workshops or apprenticeships. Graduates may work as craft artists, window designers, art teachers and more.