Stained Glass Degree and Training Program Information

In stained-glass programs, students learn the fundamentals of stained and leaded glass design in hands-on environments. They might also gain a proficiency in restoring creations.

Essential Information

Classes in stained glass are offered by some community colleges as part of broader fine arts or historic preservation associate's degree programs. Applicants 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. Related apprenticeship programs take up to four years to complete. Apprentices may also need to be simultaneously enrolled in a formal education program.

  • Program Levels for Stained Glass Training Programs: Associate's degrees, workshop and apprenticeship certificates
  • Program Fields: Fine arts, historic preservation
  • Program Specializations: Options include frit layering and large copper foil projects
  • Prerequisites: High-school diploma or equivalent for associate's degrees, may need to be enrolled in a formal education program for apprenticeships
  • Program Length: Days or weeks for commercial workshops, two years for associate's degrees, up to four years for apprenticeships

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. Depending on the studio, classes are offered as single, multi-day or multi-week workshops at various skill levels, ranging from introductory to intermediate. Apprenticeship program durations run from one month to four years, mostly taking place in professional studios and specialized art training facilities. Some require the student to be currently enrolled in school and offer educational credit for work. 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 3% increase in employment opportunities for craft artists between 2012 and 2022, which is notably slower than the national average of 11% for all job sectors. For salaried craft artists, the BLS reported an average wage of $36,300, as of May 2014. Most craft artists work independently so actual figures may be slightly different.

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