How to Become A Sculptor

Fine artists who specialize in creating three dimensional artworks using different mediums, such as wood, metal, and clay, are called Sculptors. If you think that you have what it takes to pursue a career in this field, then you should give this article a read. It will explain to you how to become a sculptor in the U.S.

Should I Become a Sculptor?

If you are inquisitive, investigative and artistic, then a career in sculpting would be ideal for you. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has not published separate data for Sculptors, therefore we will use the category of Craft and Fine Artists as our reference point. Take a look at the table below to find out about the salary and career prospects of these professionals.

Education Required

Formal educational is not required, however acquiring a postsecondary education is highly recommended.

Major Requirement

A specialty in Fine Arts (such as sculpting/drawing) is recommended.


Licenses are not required.


Long-term on-the-job training.

Key Skills

Dexterity, Artistic Ability, Creative Skills, Interpersonal Skills, and Business Skills.

Annual Mean Salary (2019)

$63,030 (Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators)

Job Outlook (2018-28)

1% (Craft and Fine Artists)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook for Sculptors

According to the data published by BLS, Craft and Fine Artists will have few employment growth opportunities from 2018 to 2028.

The growth in this profession depends on a variety of factors – some of the most important ones include the buying potential of the customers and the state of the economy. It has been observed that businesses and individuals purchase more artwork when the economic conditions are stable. And the demand for artwork decreases when the economic conditions begin to deteriorate. However, even in difficult economic times, there is always some demand for art pieces, which is driven by private art collectors and art museums.

Since there are a limited number of vacancies available in this profession, thus Craft and Fine Artists should expect to face tough competition. Competition among self-employed artists will also remain fierce, as the majority of them sell their work through the same online stores.

Despite tough competition in the industry, many collectors, art studios, and galleries are always trying to hunt talented artists. Artists who have mastered their craft and have developed their marketing skills are expected to find decent job prospects.

Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has further categorized Craft and Fine Artists into three categories which include:

  • Artists and related workers
  • Craft Artists
  • Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators

Since the third category is the most relevant, therefore we will discuss the employment prospects and salary estimates of Fine Artists. The state that had the highest level of employment of Fine Artists in 2019 was California, with 2,220 jobs, followed by New York (1,700), Florida (880), Texas (700), and Ohio (500). That year, the highest paying state for Fine Artists was New York, which paid an annual mean wage of $97,360. Other states that made it to the list included California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington.

Steps to Become a Sculptor

Step 1: Obtain a High School Degree

The first step would be to obtain a high school diploma or a GED. With a diploma in hand, you would be all set to apply to an art school.

Step 2: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts

After completing high school, you can enroll in a 4-year long Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and can major in Sculpting. This program covers modules related to Art History, Advanced Ceramics and Sculpting.

Step 3: Pursue a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts

While a Master’s degree is not mandatory, you can still think about pursuing it in order to polish your sculpting skills. You can enroll in a 2-year long Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and can specialize in Sculpting. Apart from studying the necessary modules, you will also be expected to complete a graduate sculpture thesis project.

Step 4: Become an Apprentice

After completing your education, you should enroll in an apprenticeship program. Working with a master sculptor will help you learn more about the art of sculpting. You are also advised to join professional associations, such as the Sculptor's Guild, which offer a variety of apprenticeship opportunities.

Step 5: Develop a Clientele and Sell Your Work!

After developing your portfolio, you should work towards establishing a relationship with other artists and art gallery owners. You can also create an online portfolio to access international clients, such as private buyers and museums.

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