Manufacturers rely on glass blowers to cut, shape and fuse glass to make vases, pitchers, bowls and electronic control monitors. Glass blowers use torches to melt and shape glass products, following blueprints and sketches of finished products. Those who work in the art industry design and create figurines and glass sculptures. If you can picture yourself molding and shaping glass while wearing a welder's mask, the job of glass blower may be the perfect career. You'll need a high school degree and training. In return, you can expect to earn a relatively low salary compared to other occupations.
Salary and Qualifications
The average annual salary for glass blowers was $30,240 as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you were among the top 10 percent in earnings, you'd make over $45,340. To become a glass blower, you'll need a minimum of a high school degree and one to 12 months' training as an apprentice. Other essential qualifications include attention to detail, creativity, manual dexterity and interpersonal, customer service, sales and marketing skills.
Salary by Industry
Glass blowers' salaries varied in different industries. They earned the highest annual salaries of $50,750 working for colleges, universities and professional schools in 2012, based on BLS data. They also earned relatively high salaries working for the federal executive branch of government, at $47,140 per year. If you worked at a company that makes navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments, you'd make $41,590 annually. At an electric equipment company or glass products manufacturer, you'd earn $40,630 or $33,860.
Salary by State
In 2012, glass blowers earned the highest average salaries of $39,480 in Vermont, according to the BLS. They also earned high salaries in Massachusetts and New Jersey -- $37,770 and $36,720 per year, respectively. In California, your salary would be closer to the industry average for all glass blowers, at $30,270 annually. You'd make $28,140 and $26,090, respectively, in Texas and Nebraska.
The BLS projects an 8-percent increase in jobs for molders, shapers and casters, including glass blowers, slower than the 14-percent average for all jobs. Glass blowers may find more job opportunities if the economy improves, as many work in manufacturing. If you work in the arts and crafts industry, you can expect a 5-percent increase in jobs, according to BLS data. Competition for glass blowers is stiff in arts and crafts, meaning a glut of qualified workers exceeds the number of available jobs. You may find more job openings with studios, art galleries and through independent buyers, because these employers or markets tend to offer more opportunities than other employers in the arts and crafts industry.
2016 Salary Information for Craft and Fine Artists
Craft and fine artists earned a median annual salary of $49,250 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, craft and fine artists earned a 25th percentile salary of $32,210, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $70,210, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 53,300 people were employed in the U.S. as craft and fine artists.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: What Craft and Fine Artists Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Jobs for Occupations Not Covered in Detail: Molders, Shapers and Casters, Except Metal and Plastic
- The Job Explorer: Glass Blower Duties
- i Seek Careers: Glass Blowers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Molders, Shapers and Casters, Except Metal and Plastic
- SchoolsintheUSA.com: Glass Blower
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Craft and Fine Artists
- Career Trend: Craft and Fine Artists
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images