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Working As a Craftsman

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources
  • Repetitive

  • $44,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Craftsman Do

Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles, and other objects that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value, rather than for a functional one.


Craft and fine artists typically do the following:

  • Use techniques such as knitting, weaving, glassblowing, painting, drawing, and sculpting
  • Develop creative ideas or new methods for making art
  • Create sketches, templates, or models to guide their work
  • Select which materials to use on the basis of color, texture, strength, and other qualities
  • Shape, join, or cut materials for a final product
  • Use visual techniques, such as composition, color, space, and perspective, to produce desired artistic effects
  • Develop portfolios highlighting their artistic styles and abilities to show to gallery owners and others interested in their work
  • Display their work at auctions, craft fairs, galleries, museums, and online marketplaces
  • Complete grant proposal and applications to obtain financial support for projects

Artists create objects that are beautiful, thought provoking, and sometimes shocking. They often strive to communicate ideas or feelings through their art.

Craft artists work with many different materials, including ceramics, glass, textiles, wood, metal, and paper, to create unique pieces of art, such as pottery, quilts, stained glass, furniture, jewelry, and clothing. Many craft artists also use fine-art techniques—for example, painting, sketching, and printing—to add finishing touches to their products.

Fine artists typically display their work in museums, in commercial or nonprofit art galleries, at craft fairs, in corporate collections, on the Internet, and in private homes. Some of their artwork may be commissioned (requested by a client), but most is sold by the artist or through private art galleries or dealers. The artist, gallery, and dealer together decide in advance how much of the proceeds from the sale each will keep.

Most craft and fine artists spend their time and effort selling their artwork to potential customers and building a reputation. In addition to selling their artwork, many artists have at least one other job to support their craft or art careers.

Some artists work in museums or art galleries as art directors or as archivists, curators, or museum workers, planning and setting up exhibits. Others teach craft or art classes or conduct workshops in schools or in their own studios. For more information on workers who teach art classes, see the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, and postsecondary teachers.

Craft and fine artists specialize in one or more types of art. The following are examples of types of craft and fine artists:

Cartoonists draw political, advertising, comic, and sports cartoons. Some cartoonists work with others who create the idea or story and write captions. Some create plots and write captions themselves. Most cartoonists have comic, critical, or dramatic talents, in addition to drawing skills.

Ceramic artists shape, form, and mold artworks out of clay, often using a potter’s wheel and other tools. They glaze and fire pieces in kilns, which are large, special furnaces that dry and harden the clay.

Fiber artists use fabric, yarn, or other natural and synthetic fibers to weave, knit, crochet, or sew textile art. They may use a loom to weave fabric, needles to knit or crochet yarn, or a sewing machine to join pieces of fabric for quilts or other handicrafts.

Fine-art painters paint landscapes, portraits, and other subjects in a variety of styles, ranging from realistic to abstract. They may use one or more media, such as watercolors, oil paints, or acrylics.

Furniture makers cut, sand, join, and finish wood and other materials to make handcrafted furniture. For information about other workers who assemble wood furniture, see the profile on woodworkers.

Glass artists process glass in a variety of ways—such as by blowing, shaping, or joining it—to create artistic pieces. Specific processes used include glassblowing, lampworking, and staining glass. Some of these processes require the use of kilns, ovens, and other equipment and tools that bend glass at high temperatures. These workers also decorate glass objects, such as by etching or painting.

Illustrators create pictures for books, magazines, and other publications and for commercial products, such as textiles, wrapping paper, stationery, greeting cards, and calendars. Increasingly, illustrators are using computers in their work. They might draw in pen and pencil and then scan the image into a computer program to be colored in, or they might use a special pen to draw images directly onto the computer.

Jewelry artists use metals, stones, beads, and other materials to make objects for personal adornment, such as earrings or necklaces. For more information about other workers who create jewelry, see the profile on jewelers and precious stone and metal workers.

Medical and scientific illustrators combine drawing skills with knowledge of biology or other sciences. Medical illustrators work with computers or with pen and paper to create images of human anatomy and surgical procedures, as well as three-dimensional models and animations. Scientific illustrators draw animal and plant life, atomic and molecular structures, and geologic and planetary formations. These illustrations are used in medical and scientific publications and in audiovisual presentations for teaching purposes. Some medical and scientific illustrators work for lawyers, producing exhibits for court cases.

Public artists create large paintings, sculptures, and installations that are meant to be seen in public spaces. These works are typically displayed in parks, museum grounds, train stations, and other public areas.

Printmakers create images on a silk screen, woodblock, lithography stone, metal etching plate, or other types of matrices. A printing press or hand press then creates the final work of art, inking and transferring the matrix to a piece of paper.

Sculptors design and shape three-dimensional works of art, either by molding and joining materials such as clay, glass, plastic, and metal or by cutting and carving forms from a block of plaster, wood, or stone. Some sculptors combine various materials to create mixed-media installations. For example, some incorporate light, sound, and motion into their works. 

Sketch artists, who are a particular type of illustrator, often create likenesses of subjects with pencil, charcoal, or pastels. Their sketches are used by law enforcement agencies to help identify suspects, by the news media to show courtroom scenes, and by individual customers for their own enjoyment.

Tattoo artists use stencils and draw by hand to create original images and text on the skin of their clients. With specialized needles, these artists use a variety of styles and colors based on their clients’ preferences.

Video artists shoot and record experimental video that is typically shown in a recurring loop in art galleries, museums, or performance spaces. These artists sometimes use multiple monitors or create unusual spaces for the video to be shown.

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How To Become A Craftsman

Most fine artists earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fine arts in order to improve their skills and job prospects. A formal educational credential is typically not needed for craft artists. Craft and fine artists improve their skills through practice and repetition.


Most fine artists pursue postsecondary education to earn degrees that can improve their skills and job prospects. A formal educational credential is typically not needed for craft artists. However, it is difficult to gain adequate artistic skills without some formal education. High school classes such as art, shop, and home economics can teach prospective craft artists some of the basic skills they will need, such as drawing, woodworking, and sewing.

A large number of colleges and universities offer bachelor's and master’s degrees in fine arts. In addition to offering studio art and art history, postsecondary programs may include core subjects, such as English, marketing, social science, and natural science. Independent schools of art and design also offer postsecondary education programs, which can lead to a certificate in an art-related specialty or to an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in fine arts.

In 2014, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredited approximately 320 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design. Most of these schools award a degree in art.

Medical illustrators must have a demonstrated artistic ability and a detailed knowledge of human and animal anatomy, living organisms, and surgical and medical procedures. They usually need a bachelor’s degree that combining combines art and premedical courses. Medical illustrators may choose to get a master’s degree in medical illustration. Three accredited schools offer this degree in the United States.

Education gives artists an opportunity to develop their portfolio, which is a collection of an artist’s work that demonstrates his or her styles and abilities. Portfolios are essential, because art directors, clients, and others look at them in deciding whether to hire an artist or to buy the artist’s work. In addition to compiling a physical portfolio, many artists choose to create a portfolio online so that potential buyers and clients can view their work on the Internet.

Bachelor’s or higher degrees in fine arts or arts administration are usually necessary for management or administrative positions in government, management positions in private foundations, and teaching positions in colleges and universities. Those who want to teach fine arts at public elementary or secondary schools usually must have a teaching certificate in addition to a bachelor’s degree. For more information on workers who teach art classes, see the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, and postsecondary teachers.


Craft and fine artists improve their skills through practice and repetition. They can train in several ways other than—or in addition to—formal schooling. Craft and fine artists can train with simpler projects before attempting something more ambitious.

Some artists learn on the job from more experienced artists. Others attend noncredit classes or workshops or take private lessons, which may be offered in artists’ studios or at community colleges, art centers, galleries, museums, or other art-related institutions.

Still other artists work closely with other artists or assist them on either a formal or an informal basis. Formal arrangements may include internships or apprenticeship programs. Artists hired by firms often start with relatively routine work. While doing this work, they may observe other artists and practice their own skills.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Craft and fine artists create artwork and other objects that are visually appealing or thought provoking. This endeavor usually requires significant skill and attention to detail in one or more art forms.

Business skills. Craft and fine artists must promote themselves and their art to build a reputation and to sell their art. They often study the market for their crafts or artwork to increase their understanding of what potential customers might want. Many craft and fine artists sell their work on the Internet, so developing an online presence is an important part of their art sales.

Creativity. Artists must have active imaginations to develop new and original ideas for their work.

Customer-service skills. Craft and fine artists, especially those who sell their work themselves, must be good at dealing with customers and potential buyers.

Dexterity. Most artists work with their hands and must be good at manipulating tools and materials to create their art.

Interpersonal skills. Artists often must interact with many people, including coworkers, gallery owners, and the public.


Craft and fine artists advance professionally as their work circulates and as they establish a reputation for their particular style. Many of the most successful artists continually develop new ideas, and their work often evolves over time.

Many artists do freelance work while continuing to hold a full-time job until they are established as professional artists. Others freelance part time while still in school, to develop experience and to build a portfolio of published work.

Freelance artists try to develop a set of clients who regularly contract for work. Some freelance artists are widely recognized for their skill in a specialty, such as illustrating children’s books or cartooning. These artists may earn high incomes and can choose the type of project they undertake.

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Craftsman Career Paths

Journeyman Foreman Superintendent
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Journeyman Foreman Project Manager
Division Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Journeyman Foreman Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Section Chief Superintendent
Operations Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Section Chief Superintendent Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Section Chief Platoon Sergeant Operation Supervisor
Fleet Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Non-Commissioned Officer Instructor Officer
Operations Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Non-Commissioned Officer Technician Systems Administrator
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Non-Commissioned Officer Technician Officer
Security Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Technician Production Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Assurance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Instructor Officer Operations Officer
Chief Of Operations
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Lead Teacher Site Manager
Site Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Property Manager Real Estate Manager
Acquisitions Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Lead Technician Technical Manager
Chief Technologist
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Production Supervisor Quality Assurance Supervisor
Systems Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Civil Engineer Environmental Engineer
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Maintenance Supervisor Crew Chief
Deployment Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Lead Technician Functional Lead
Functional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Evaluator Contracting Officer Deployment Manager
Unit Training Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Yearly Salary
Show Salaries
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Median 50%
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Median 50%
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Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Turkish Airlines
Highest Paying City
Ithaca, NY
Highest Paying State
Rhode Island
Avg Experience Level
5.7 years
How much does a Craftsman make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Craftsman in the United States is $44,700 per year or $21 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $29,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $68,000.

Real Craftsman Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Craftsman Pluralsight, LLC Farmington, UT Sep 11, 2015 $90,000
Software Craftsman Eighth Light Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 14, 2015 $70,800
Software Craftsman Eighth Light Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 18, 2015 $70,800
Gypsum/Stucco Craftsman Turkish-American Community Center, Inc. MD Apr 01, 2014 $70,395
Gypsum/Stucco Craftsman Turkish-American Community Center, Inc. MD Oct 18, 2014 $70,395
Terrazzo Craftsman Turkish-American Community Center, Inc. Lanham, MD Feb 28, 2015 $55,139
Terrazzo Craftsman Turkish-American Community Center, Inc. Lanham, MD Oct 23, 2014 $55,139
Carpentry Craftsman Turkish-American Community Center, Inc. MD Aug 12, 2014 $45,977
Carpentry Craftsman Turkish-American Community Center, Inc. MD Oct 25, 2013 $44,954
Craftsman Eastman Brass Insruments, LLC Hopedale, MA Sep 02, 2014 $42,162 -
Lead Roofing Craftsman Turkish-American Community Center, Inc. MD Nov 04, 2013 $40,863
Lead Roofing Craftsman Turkish-American Community Center, Inc. MD Mar 25, 2014 $40,863
Log Furniture Craftsman Coldspring Log Furniture Coldspring, TX Jun 16, 2008 $38,000
Terrazzo Craftsman The Jaffer Reachout Foundation Sanford, FL Oct 05, 2015 $37,378
Sheet Metal Craftsman Gallo Group, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 26, 2016 $36,940
Sheet Metal Craftsman Gallo Group, Inc. TX Apr 02, 2014 $36,940
Stonemason Craftsman Tampa Enterprises, Inc. Buford, GA Apr 28, 2016 $36,234
Sheet Metal Craftsman Gallo Group, Inc. TX Mar 01, 2015 $35,229

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Top Skills for A Craftsman

  1. Military Personnel
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Reviewed, monitored and updated over 3,000 Military Personnel Data System transactions while performing cross functional personnel support.
  • Ensured safety procedures are maintained at all times to include proper personal protective equipment are utilized.
  • Ensured quality customer service by providing and processing information related to safety and educational courses for both civilian and military members.
  • Directed/accomplished repair actions to include: removal/replacement of components, servicing and functional testing of ground support equipment with minimal downtime.
  • Assigned priorities and determines economy and practicality of manufacturing aircraft parts and related support equipment.


Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Craftsmen

  1. Oregon
  2. Maine
  3. Connecticut
  4. Nevada
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Rhode Island
  7. New York
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Vermont
  • (22 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)

Craftsman Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 6,580 Craftsman resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Craftsman Resume

View Resume Examples

Craftsman Demographics










Hispanic or Latino


Black or African American





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Foreign Languages Spoken


































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Craftsman Education


Community College of the Air Force


University of Phoenix


Ashford University


The Academy


University of Maryland - University College


Park University


Columbia Southern University


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach


American University


Wayland Baptist University


Liberty University


Grantham University


ECPI University


Strayer University


Troy University


Southern Illinois University Carbondale


Southwestern College


Trident University International


Kaplan University


Saint Leo University

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Electrical Engineering Technology


Criminal Justice


Automotive Technology


Electrical Engineering




General Studies


Computer Information Systems


Supply Chain Management


Precision Metal Working


Human Resources Management


Information Technology


Computer Science


Aerospace Engineering


Graphic Design


Fine Arts


Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians




Drafting And Design

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