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Stained Glass Degree and Training Program Information

While there are no degree programs available specifically in stained glass, some community colleges offer classes in stained glass as part of fine arts associate's degree programs. Commercial non-credit workshops and apprenticeships are also available. In these programs, students learn the fundamentals of stained and leaded glass design in hands-on environments. They might also gain proficiency in restoring stained glass creations.

Essential Information

Classes in stained glass are offered by some community colleges as part of broader fine arts associate's degree programs. Other stained glass training options are available through private facilities or through the continuing education departments of community colleges. Students may participate in the workshops offered by these facilities, wherein they learn glass fusing techniques as well as dis-assembly methods. Apprenticeship programs in stained glass may also be available. Some 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 (stained glass classes would be part of a broader Fine arts or Historic Preservation Associate's degree program), Commercial non-credit classes, Workshops, Apprenticeships
  • Program Specializations: Frit layering, large copper foil projects, kaleidoscopes, glass fusing, and Tiffany glass art
  • 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 that include stained glass courses, up to four years for apprenticeships

Associate's Degree in Fine Arts

Stained glass classes can be found in different types of associate's degree programs. Some are in fine arts while others are a part of historic preservation programs. While the degree programs lead students down different career paths, classes at associate's levels all teach the basics in the art of creating stained glass. Community colleges offer the majority of these classes. Applicants to these associate's degree programs must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Classes in fine arts programs include hands-on instruction and projects, while those found in restoration programs tend 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 offer non-credit classes. Depending on the studio, classes are offered as single and multiple day workshops or as programs lasting several weeks. Classes are available for skill levels ranging from introductory to intermediate. Some of the studios teach specialized subjects, such as frit layering, large copper foil projects, kaleidoscopes, glass fusing, and Tiffany glass art.

There are also apprenticeship programs available for hands-on training in stained glass art. Program durations run from one month to four years. Most programs take place in professional studios, but some are available through specialized art training facilities. Some of the programs require the student to be currently enrolled in school and offer educational credit for work. There are also international study apprenticeships available that encourage English-speaking students to apply.

Training programs are available at all skill levels and some programs tailor studies to coincide with a student'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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