What Is the Average Salary of a Jewelry Repair Technician?
Are you creative, detail-oriented and passionate about working with metals? If so, you might thrive in the field of jewelry repair. Read on to find out how your salary may be affected by several factors, including your employer, location and experience. Schools offering Gunsmithing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Average Salary Overview
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that jewelers and precious stone and metal workers in general made an average annual salary of $38,840 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The bottom 10% made $19,600 a year or less, and the top 10% made $61,940 a year or more. In addition, PayScale.com reported that jewelers had a median salary of $37,584 in January 2014.
Salary by Industry
According to the BLS, jewelers and precious stone and metal workers employed by jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores made an average salary of $42,760. While those working in other miscellaneous manufacturing made an average wage of $34,540, those who worked in personal and household goods repair earned an annual mean wage of $34,930 in the same year. Professionals working in the other professional, scientific and technical services industry made the highest average salary of $64,210.
Depending on your employer, your salary may be slightly more or less. For example, if you work in a boutique jewelry store, your salary might be higher. Similarly, if you're self-employed and have a large client base, you'll likely make more than a bench jeweler in retail.
Salary by Location
The BLS reported that New York, California, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts employed the most jewelers and precious stone and metal workers as of May 2012. Mean earnings for these states were $40,650, $40,140, $34,130, $33,040 and $47,500, respectively. Workers who received the highest average pay were employed in New Jersey ($49,920), Connecticut ($48,640), Massachusetts ($47,500), South Carolina ($46,960) and Pennsylvania ($45,320). States like Virginia, Florida, Utah, Alaska, Montana and North Dakota were some of the states listed as having the lowest average wages of $20,120-$33,750.
Salary by Experience
PayScale.com reported that as of January 2014, jewelers with 5-9 years of experience made $28,662-$38,974 a year. Those with 10-19 years of experience earned $38,000-$58,958, while those with 20 years of experience or more earned $50,868-$91,975.
While jeweler and precious stone and metal worker employment is expected to decline at a rate of 10% over the 2012-2022 period, the BLS highlighted that job opportunities in repair would be best for those who completed formal training in a diploma, certificate or degree program in gemology or jewelry repair. You can find these programs offered through technical schools, professional organizations and community colleges. Many facilities also offer the option to pursue distance-learning online. You can expect to complete a training program that includes jewelry design and casting in 6-12 months; a course in solely jewelry repair may be shorter.
Whether you train in a professional course or on-the-job at a retail business or manufacturer, you'd need skills in fixing, modifying and cleaning jewelry. You may start as a bench jeweler and receive specific training in such skills as soldering and resizing customer jewelry, resetting stones and fixing broken links or clasps. As you gain experience or pursue additional education, your employer might expand your job tasks to include other responsibilities, including sales, product design or fabrication, and your salary may increase to reflect this.
Though optional, pursuing certification through the Jewelers of America (JA) may help you to advance your career, increase your value to employers and increase salary potential. Depending on your level of professional experience, you can choose from four levels of JA certification: Certified Bench Jeweler Technician (CBJT), Certified Bench Jeweler (CBJ), Certified Senior Bench Jeweler (CSBJ) and Certified Master Bench Jeweler (CMBJ). Tests consist of a timed practical demonstration of skills ranging from 18-39 total project hours observed by a self-selected proctor and a 2-hour, open-book written exam.
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