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Career and Education Opportunities for Craftsmen in Charleston, West Virginia

If you want to be a craftsman, the Charleston, West Virginia area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for craftsmen sees this job pool growing by about 7.2% over the next eight years. Craftsmen generally create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.

The income of a craftsman is about $7 hourly or $16,300 annually on average in West Virginia. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $13 hourly or $29,080 annually on average. Craftsmen earn less than people working in the category of Art and Design generally in West Virginia and less than people in the Art and Design category nationally. People working as craftsmen can fill a number of jobs, such as: designer, furniture maker, and calligrapher.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can study to be a craftsman, among seventeen schools of higher education total in the Charleston area. Given that the most common education level for craftsmen is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a craftsman if you already have a high school diploma.


Craftsman video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, craftsmen create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.

Craftsmen develop functional or decorative objects by hand, using a variety of methods and materials. They also design product packaging, display and pricing strategies. Equally important, craftsmen have to attend craft shows to market products. They are often called upon to advertise products and work, using media such as internet advertising and brochures. They are expected to design creative concepts for craft objects. Finally, craftsmen fabricate patterns or templates to guide craft production.

Every day, craftsmen are expected to be able to control and manipulate objects at a fine level of detail. They need to control objects and devices with precise control. It is also important that they move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices.

It is important for craftsmen to apply finishes to objects being crafted. They are often called upon to design designs using specialized computer software. Somewhat less frequently, craftsmen are also expected to research craft trends and customer buying patterns so as to inspire designs and marketing strategies.

Craftsmen sometimes are asked to develop prototypes or models of objects to be crafted. And finally, they sometimes have to talk with customers to gauge customer needs or obtain feedback.

Like many other jobs, craftsmen must be thorough and dependable and believe in innovation and creative thought.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Charleston include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.


University of Charleston - Charleston, WV

University of Charleston, 2300 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston, WV 25304. University of Charleston is a small university located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,431 students and an admission rate of 66%. University of Charleston has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies.

West Virginia State University - Institute, WV

West Virginia State University, Rte 25, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State University is a small university located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,347 students and an admission rate of 57%. West Virginia State University has a bachelor's degree program in Art/Art Studies which graduated six students in 2008.


Certified Decorative Artist: The Certified Decorative Artist applicant must pay the required fees and submit one piece of work for judging.

For more information, see the Society of Decorative Painters website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.