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Ceramic Arts and Ceramics

Program Description

Just the Facts

Ceramic Arts and Ceramics. A program that prepares individuals creatively and technically to express emotions, ideas, or inner visions by producing art works out of clay and similar materials. Includes instruction in handbuilt and wheelthrown techniques; molding; slips and glazes; trimming and decorating; firing and kiln operation; oxidation; mixed media; ceramic murals; and personal style development.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

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Additional Information

In the past, many potters learned their craft by apprenticing under professional potters or taking part-time courses. Today, things are not that simple.

"If people are serious about it as a profession, they would need to apply themselves full time," says Bruce Cochrane. He is a ceramics professor.

Several colleges and technical schools in North America offer diplomas or associate's degrees. Many universities offer bachelor's or master's degrees in fine arts with a specialization in ceramics.

Every program requires students to submit comprehensive portfolios of their work as well as high school transcripts. "The portfolio is often worth more because it shows a person's interest and experimentation with the medium," Cochrane notes.

Many colleges also require written applications that ask you to write an essay. You must answer questions like: What about ceramics appeals to you? What have you done to explore this medium? What do you hope to achieve through the program?

Some programs may even require formal interviews.

Ceramics programs require hard work and devotion. Picture this. You go to the studio to work on one of your pieces at 9 a.m. on Monday. You're there until 8 p.m. each and every day that week and Sunday is your only day off. Come Monday, it's back to the studio you go!

"[Students] get out of it what they put into it," says Cochrane. "We set up expectations, and if people fulfill those requirements, they will be working very hard."

Many colleges also encourage art majors to take at least one course in another medium, like painting or drawing, in case they find one they like better.

"High school students who hope to be artists, whether in painting, sculpture or ceramics, will need not only a good foundation in college prep classes, but in drawing and any other art classes that are available in their high school," says Linda Hansen Mau. She is a ceramics professor at De Anza College in California.

"But more important than art classes is a good basic education in English, math and science. There is a lot of chemistry in ceramics and artists all need to be able to communicate their ideas not only visually, but verbally," she says.

Ceramics students usually have to pay for their own materials (like clay and glazes). Students will also need to purchase tools. And since some programs require extra courses, like English, students may also have to buy textbooks.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Artists and Related Workers

Ceramics Monthly
An international magazine about ceramics

Blue Muse Ceramics
A listing of artists and suppliers


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