A Dazzling Degree: How to Pursue Jewelry Design at Your Local Community College

A Dazzling Degree: How to Pursue Jewelry Design at Your Local Community College
Learn about the dazzling jewelry programs and certificates that are available at your local community college campus.
For those who are artistically inclined, creative, and motivated, there are rewarding career options in the field of jewelry design. According to reports, a jewelry designer earns an average income of just under $29,000 in the first year of work! After just five years of work, a jewelry designer can begin to earn an average of approximately $54,000 per year—and potentially more.  To begin an exciting and imaginative pathway in the field of jewelry design, students can start with programs at their local community college. 
Jewelry Design Programs and Opportunities
Although many believe that the art of jewelry design simply involves aesthetic skills and training, this career actually incorporates technical understanding. For example, as inexperienced designers begin to craft their first pieces of jewelry, some of the pieces may be too heavy, may feel cumbersome to the wearer, or may not be made of a sustainable and durable material. Furthermore, some jewelry designers have learned to specialize in the creation of allergy-free jewelry, which is created with specific non-irritating materials. 
Due to the industry’s technical demands, designers are often more successful when they have a trained background. With the rising interest in jewelry design careers, community colleges across the country are now offering both degree programs and individual courses to provide students with the essential skills to become successful in this field.
Offering a Certificate in Jewelry Design, North Seattle Community College (NSCC) in Washington enjoys reputable courses and expert instructors. As NSCC explains, the purpose of the jewelry program is to foster creativity, student achievement, and to teach participants how to demonstrate their skills and abilities in specific areas of jewelry study. 
To meet the Certificate in Jewelry Design requirements, a student must begin by working with an NSCC art advisor, who will help the student establish his or her goals, course schedule, and program details. Upon completing the 60-credit program, all Jewelry Design Certificate holders will have proved their completion of high-quality work, as students will be able to present a solid body of design work that reveals a mastery of both skills and materials. 
Adding to the diverse training benefits offered at NSCC, Austin Community College in Texas also provides students with an array of courses and focus areas. With a long list of course options, students can begin their study of jewelry in the Jewelry Techniques course, where students learn the basics of jewelry construction, focusing on skills such as:
  • Layout
  • Repair
  • Filling
  • Emery
  • Sawing
  • Soldering
  • Ring construction
  • Bezel setting
  • Industry standards
Upon completing this basic skills course, students can continue onto the more complex Jewelry Techniques courses, working their way through Jewelry Casting and Applied Jewelry Practices classes. 
This video offers a look at the engraving component of Austin Community College's Jewelry Design program.
With the necessary prerequisites completed, ACC students can add depth to their knowledge of high-end jewelry construction, as ACC offers an array of courses in the art of Stone Setting. In the Stone Setting classes, students learn how to skillfully craft a prong setting, how to re-prong a stone, how to engage in bright cutting techniques, and additional complex topics. Also in this realm of study, ACC has courses that focus on precious metals, which can add depth to a student’s overall knowledge and expertise in this field.   
In addition, for individuals who are both artistic and technologically savvy, ACC students can further their education by enrolling in the Computer-Aided Design and Manufacture for Jewelry course. Capitalizing upon innovative technology tools, students will learn how “To create solid models and tangible objects via STL file export to a computer numerical control prototyping system. Emphasis is placed on drawing set-up; creating and modifying geometry; storing and retrieving predefined shapes; placing, rotating, and scaling objects, adding text and dimensions; using layers; coordinating systems; as well as input and output devices.” 
With creative, practical, and real-world experiences, graduates from jewelry community college programs can begin their careers with sound experience and competitive credentials.
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