How to Become a Sculptor

Sculptor Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $43,700
Avg. Pay / hour $21.01
Education 2-4 Years
Job Outlook 18%

Are you passionate about art and form?

Love to create beautiful works of art?

If so, then you might like to become a sculptor.

Sculptors make pieces of three-dimensional art from a wide range of materials.

Bronze, plaster, and clay are all commonly used by sculptors.

Working as a sculptor can be very rewarding.

You can spend your day perfecting your craft and then admiring your finished work.

You get to express whatever you are feeling or convey whatever message you wish to your audience.

Sound like a pretty good job? For this reason, becoming an artist such as a sculptor can be very competitive.

You might need to work for years before you start seeing a return.

If you have the talent, the ambition, and love art and sculptures, then you might like to become a sculptor.

Education Requirements to Become a Sculptor

There are many different paths that people take to become a sculptor.

Some go to fine art school or college where they learn their art the classical way.

Others simply go out on their own and feel their way through.

Some sculptors travel the world searching for inspiration and watching the best perform their craft.

If you decide to go to college, you’ll get to learn all the proper methodologies and work with many different materials, and you’ll also learn art history which is a very important part of being a sculptor.

By learning about the artists and art of the past, you can shape your own view of your art.

When it comes to art, practice makes perfect.

Even if you’re a high school student now, it’s never too early to start learning.

Like any creative art, you have to do it to get good at it.

Working with different forms and materials is a good way to gather a strong portfolio of work.

While you’re at college, being a part of student exhibitions or art shows is a great way to get started.

It’s a good experience and also exposure to what life is like in the art world.

When you are ready, it’s time to go public with your work.

A sculptor makes their wage by selling their artwork, and there are a few ways to do this.

A way to a good start would be to make smaller pieces and sell them at craft markets or over the internet.

You could also approach art galleries and see if they are interested in representing you.

Getting a full-time job as a sculptor is difficult, as there are no ‘companies’ out there hiring many employees.

You might be able to find work creating models for an architecture firm, or working within 3D computer modeling, but as a sculptor, there are not many full-time positions available.

Many artists support themselves with a part-time job in another industry.

Sculptor Job Description

When you become a sculptor your job is to design and produce sculptures.

They could be made of a whole range of materials, including plaster, clay, marble, or different types of metals.

More artists are beginning to work with more modern and abstract materials also.

A sculptor begins with a series of drawings or ideas.

They then start working with the material to perfect the form.

Some materials need to be fired, set, or polished.

A piece could take hours or even years to complete.

The sculptor must also market themselves and their services.

The greater your reputation as an artist, the more you can charge for your work.

Appearing in exhibits and magazines is a great opportunity for publicity.

You might also promote yourself online or through social media, and entering competitions is also a great way to gain exposure.

Sculptor Salary and Career Path

If you’re looking for a secure job and salary, then you might like to rethink your decision to become a sculptor.

It’s truly something you should only do if you are passionate about it.

It can be very difficult to make ends meet doing this full time, however, there are some sculptors who make a very comfortable living from their craft.

An artist with a salaried job will make a median salary of $42,000 a year, however, this kind of position may be hard to find for a sculptor.

The earnings of a sculptor without a permanent job vary.

Some other roles you might be interested in could include:

The pathway to becoming a sculptor is not without challenge.

If this is your true passion though, then it will prove rewarding should you choose to follow it.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Idaho- NA -
Kansas- NA -
Michigan- NA -
New Hampshire$42,580
New Jersey$81,830
New Mexico$45,250
New York$120,510
North Carolina$45,330
Pennsylvania- NA -
South Carolina- NA -

The top earning state in the field is New York, where the average salary is $120,510.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New York - $120,510
Connecticut - $107,140
New Jersey - $81,830
Minnesota - $72,820
Oregon - $69,470
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators, OCC Code 27-1013, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a sculptor do?

Sculptors are creative fine artists who express their ideas in three-dimensional form by creating sculptures or statues.

A sculptor would mold or join materials together to create the art piece.

Sculptors can use practically any material for their works.

Marble, metal, stone, glass, plastic, wood, ice, clay, gold, fabric, paper, sand…

Nowadays, some sculptures can even be made of sound, lights or motion.

Sculptors might make a maquette before beginning to work on the actual piece.

A maquette helps the professional visualize his ideas and test some shapes.

Sculptors can be freelancers or work for firms.

However, sculptors can also be hired by museums or parks, for example, to create a particular piece.

How much do sculptors make?

The wage of a sculptor will typically start from around $10 per hour.

On average, sculptors make a little more than $14 per hour, though highly experienced or well-known professionals can earn around $34 and more.

Top-level sculptors can make over $70.000 annually.

In case you are a newbie, then you can expect to earn around $22.000 per year.

However, if you are self-employed the salary would fully depend on the success of your projects.

Bear in mind, that competition can be extremely high.

How much does it cost to become a sculptor?

You certainly don’t need to have a formal degree to become a sculptor.

However, if you are considering acquiring an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fine arts, bear in mind that in public schools in-state students pay lower tuition rates.

The cost of a bachelor’s degree ranges from $13.000 to over $60.000 (depending on whether or not the school is private and on the overall prestige).

The annual cost of an associate’s degree ranges from $8.000 to $20.000.

You would have to additionally pay for your books, supplies, and accommodation.

In case you won’t be going for formal education, the cost of a single sculptor class starts from around a hundred dollars.

What is the demand for sculptors?

The demand for fine artists (including sculptors, illustrators, and painters) is expected to go up in the near future (for the first time since 2004).

Over the next years, the expected annual increase will be around 18%.

However, the overall demand for fine artists highly depends on the economic situation in the country.

People tend to spend money on art, when things are going well and when they know what to expect from tomorrow.

How long does it take to become a sculptor?

In case you want to acquire a formal degree, it will take you 2 or 4 years to earn an associate’s or a bachelor’s.

If you want to become a master of fine arts in sculpture, it will take you an additional 2 years.

You might want to consider participating in an internship (even if you are not acquiring a formal education).

You will be able to learn new skills and techniques.

Join a professional organization to be able to find an internship quicker.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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