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Jewelry DesignThe Internet has changed the business landscape drastically for jewelry designers. Whereas before designers were once forced to hock their designs and jewelry in limited jewelry stores and personal word of mouth, technology has opened up an entire new avenue for jewelry designers to market themselves and their products. Online stores and personal websites make it easy for anyone with a passion in jewelry design to get paid for a passion or a hobby.

Despite all of the movement online, online jewelry design degree programs are still far and few between. Only the most recent programs offered by some of the best online education providers in the country will lead directly to a certificate or a design, and that is because most jewelers hone their craft and learn their trade at vocational schools or through apprenticeships with jewelers or jewelry manufacturing plants. That said, a degree in jewelry design and repair or even fine arts will give students a firm background in subjects like gem identification, jewelry retailing, jewelry repair, and colored stone essentials. This background, no matter where it is learned, is important for employers, especially ones who are looking for candidates who will require less on-the-job training. And because of that, graduates of an online jewelry design program may actually carry a distinct advantage over other prospective employees based on their advanced and detailed knowledge of the field already.

Another reason students should consider a degree in jewelry design is because the market is already saturated with jewelry designers and repairmen, which makes it more difficult to stand out and makes it crucial to provide yourself with every potential advantage, no matter how small. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2010, there were 39,200 people employed as jewelers and precious stone and metal workers in the United States, and the number of jobs is expected to decrease over the next decade as more and more jewelry design is pushed out of the country.

This shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing your dream of becoming a jeweler however; instead it should highlight the need to make yourself as appealing and indispensable as possible to potential employers. The best way to prove yourself worthy of one of the dwindling jobs is to impress potential employers with your expansive and diverse knowledge of the field, and to prove to them that you have a firm grasp on all the skills and techniques that come with being a widely respected jeweler. One of the best ways to go about impressing employers is to earn your online jewelry design degree and prove that you paid attention throughout your education.

Choosing an Online Jewelry Design Degree Program

Choosing an online jewelry design degree program can be a complex and arduous task given the number of different paths interested parties can take to becoming a jewelry or precious metal and stone worker. If you are absolutely positive you want to focus on jewelry design and nothing else, there are online programs offered by trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges that might be an excellent fit. If you think you are interested in jewelry design but don’t want to tie yourself to one career track, then maybe a more general fine arts program or fashion design program might be more suitable given your indecision.

But if you truly want to become a jewelry designer, then regardless of the path you take, you would be wise to consider a few things before you enroll in a program. First, you should make sure that if you are choosing a broader degree program, make sure they have classes in jewelry design, see if they offer specialties or focuses in jewelry design, and ensure that your instructors aren’t just general design experts but also have some insight into the world of jewelry design and jewelry retail, because the field is so specialized that any nuanced information you can gather could potentially help you be successful down the road.

You also want to make sure your online program is equipped with some of the best design education technology around. It is easy to learn jewelry design when you can walk into a lab or factory and learn about the materials and designs from experience. It is a lot more difficult to pick up on design tricks and strategies when you are mainly using a computer. The work is still hands-on, but without the best design software available, details about how to design and retail jewelry may end up getting lost in the shuffle.

Finally, you want to pick a program that has a strong understanding of art and design. There are some schools that offer a jewelry design program or fine arts degree that only offer the program because they know the subject is popular. This doesn’t mean that in order to get the best jewelry design education you need to attend an art or fashion school. It just means that whatever program you choose shouldn’t be the only art-related program that is offered. If it is school or university, make sure they are committed to the arts and believe in the fields. If it is a trade or vocational school, make sure they have a history of success in the field and care about art in general, not just jewelry design. Inevitably, you want to find a program that is just as passionate about educating young jewelers as you are about becoming a jeweler.

Online Jewelry Design Course Types

It has already been pointed out in this space that there are countless paths that lead to a career as a jewelry designer but it should be pointed out again anyway. Online jewelry design course types come in many shapes and sizes, so it is important to differentiate between all of them before you go ahead and choose which type of programs and course will fit best for you.

For starters, the Manufacturing Jewelers’ and Silversmiths’ of America quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics as saying that the opportunities in the field “will be best for graduates from training programs for jewelers and gemologists”. But the question is, what type of training programs are they talking about. Specific jewelry design training is most likely to be offered at trade and vocational schools where you may not receive a university degree, but you do receive a highly specialized and detailed training course in the art of jewelry design. These courses typically last six months to a year and will be looked upon favorably by employers who recognize that graduates from these programs typically require less on-the-job training.