Careers

We’re committed to providing the highest quality training, and to supporting our alumni as they embark on successful, rewarding careers. Students, alumni, and faculty benefit from our ongoing relationships with individuals and organizations.

NBSS alumni practice craft traditions across a wide range of roles. Many are self-employed, while others work as private contractors or employees of corporations, small businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and schools. In fact, 80% of our faculty members are NBSS alumni.

General career information by industry is listed below. You can find specific employment data for each of our Full-Time programs on their individual pages.

Bookbinding Careers

Our highly-skilled Bookbinding graduates work in a wide variety of careers, from bindery owners to conservators. Graduates go on to work in jobs as:

  • End processors
  • Conservation technicians
  • Project conservators
  • University faculty; Book Conservation
  • Bindery owners
  • Book conservators
  • Bookbinders and box makers for private clients
  • Paper conservators

Our graduates work in reputable institutions like:

  • New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • Houghton Library, Harvard University
  • College and university book conservation laboratories
  • Winterthur/University of Delaware
  • Huntington Library, Los Angeles
  • Burns Library, Boston College
  • Boston Athenaeum
  • Frederick Law Olmstead site
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Newberry Library, Chicago
  • National Library of New Zealand, Wellington, NZ
  • Columbia University libraries

JOB DESCRIPTIONS

Below, you’ll find general information on bookbinders and conservators. Please note that our job classifications are not an exact match to those defined by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Therefore, job prospects, wages, and salaries may differ. There are two DOL job classifications which describe the work that bookbinding graduates do: Bookbinders and Conservators.

According to the DOL, Bookbinders use a wide range of skills, some of which are performed mechanically. Hand skills are recognized by the DOL as well:

“A small number of bookbinders work in hand binderies. These highly skilled workers design original or special bindings for limited editions, or restore and rebind rare books. Some binders repair books and provide other specialized binding services to libraries.”

The DOL classifies Conservators this way,

“Conservators manage, care for, preserve, treat, and document works of art, artifacts, and specimens—work that may require substantial historical, scientific, and archaeological research. They use x rays, chemical testing, microscopes, special lights, and other laboratory equipment and techniques to examine objects and determine their condition and the appropriate method for preserving them. Conservators document their findings and treat items to minimize their deterioration or to restore them to their original state. Conservators usually specialize in a particular material or group of objects, such as documents and books, paintings, decorative arts, textiles, metals, or architectural material.”

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

The following information is from the US Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015, Bookbinders and Museum Technicians and Conservators:

  • Bookbinders held about 6,430 jobs in 2010, Museum Technicians and Conservators held about 10,390.
  • The number of job openings for Bookbinders is expected to be 900 during the 2008-18 decade, and 2,800 for Museum Technicians and Conservators.

SALARY AND WAGE DATA

There are many factors that determine salary and wages, including:

  • Education
  • Training
  • Years and type of experience
  • Economic conditions
  • Location
  • Employee type

This information from the DOL shows the outlook for Bookbinders and Museum Technicians and Conservators as of May 2010:

Bookbinders:
Annual salary average: $33,840 | Hourly wage average: $16.92

Museum Technicians and Conservators:
Annual salary average: $37,310 | Hourly wage average: $20.34

Payscale.com offers the following information based on the type of business in which you work:

College or university workers:
Annual salary average: $47,468 | Hourly wage average: $17.34

Non-profit organization workers:
Annual salary average: $44,675 | Hourly wage average: $17.30

Cabinet & Furniture Making Careers

Graduates of our Cabinet & Furniture Making program work in a wide variety of careers, from running independent custom shops to working for larger manufacturers, real estate developers, contractors, or designers. Some of our graduates have worked as:

  • Furniture conservators at national museums
  • Furniture and prototype makers for high-end furniture manufacturers
  • Owners of furniture design and building shops
  • Managers of residential renovations for top designers and architects
  • Construction managers for 9000 sqft apartment building
  • Lead carpenters, site superintendents, and senior project managers
  • Antique furniture restorers and furniture builders
  • Restoration carpenters
  • Woodworking teachers
  • Managers of cabinet shops for custom home builders
  • Installers for high-end kitchens for custom designers
  • Architectural woodworkers
  • Boat builders and yacht interior joiners
  • Board drafters for period residential furniture
  • Cabinet Department Supervisors
  • Prototype Makers
  • Design Associates for high-end interior designers
  • Managers of Product Engineering

JOB DESCRIPTIONS

Below we’ve gathered general information on wages, salaries, and industry growth for cabinet and furniture makers. Keep in mind that job classifications from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) do not exactly match the skills you’ve learned at the School.

The closest DOL job classification is “Woodworking,” which includes mass production/unskilled workers and subcategories like model makers and patternmakers; woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders; furniture finishers; and cabinetmakers and bench carpenters.

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

The information below is from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Woodworkers held about 237,200 jobs in 2014.

  • 98,100 were cabinetmakers and bench carpenters
  • 17,100 were furniture finishers
  • 122,100 were machine setters, operators, and tenders.

Employment of woodworkers is expected to change by less than 1% during the 2014-24 decade. In general, opportunities will be better for highly skilled woodworkers than for those with specialties susceptible to automation and competition from imported wood products.

For more detailed information, see the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics about Woodworkers.

SALARY AND WAGE DATA

There are many factors that determine specific salaries, including education, training, years and type of experience, and others. Payscale estimates that in 2016, woodworkers with 5 or more years of experience made an average salary of $43,570. The median salary for woodworkers (of all experience levels) working employers was $49,298. The median salary for contract woodworkers was $29,000. For more detailed information, visit the Payscale website.

Carpentry Careers

Graduates of our Carpentry program enjoy careers like residential remodeling, contractor work, project management, and many others. Some of the jobs our graduates have held include:

  • High-end remodeling and cabinetmaking
  • Finish carpenter for large contractor
  • Job supervisor for high-end renovator/remodeler
  • Assistant project manager, commercial construction company
  • Owner, design and build company
  • Owner, remodeling business
  • Demolition and remodeling
  • New home construction
  • Carpenter for the State of Massachusetts
  • Owner, residential remodeling company
  • Carpenter for a commercial contractor

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

The following information is from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Carpenters work throughout the country in almost every community and make up the second largest building trades occupation. Usually, employees with previous classroom training start at a higher level than those without training. Some carpenters change employers each time they finish a project. Others alternate between working for a contractor and working independently.

Carpenters held about 945,400 jobs in 2014.

  • About 30% of all carpenters were self-employed.
  • 20% worked in residential building construction.
  • 12% worked in nonresidential building construction.
  • 11% worked as finishing contractors.

Employment is expected to increase by 6% during the 2014–24 decade, stimulated by:

  • Population growth to meet people’s housing and other basic needs
  • Energy conservation, particularly in the industrial sector
  • Home remodeling
  • Construction and repair of roads and bridges, financed by the Federal and State governments.

Job opportunities will be good for those with the most training and skills. Carpenters with specialized or all-around skills will have better opportunities than those who can perform only a few simple, routine tasks.

For more information, see the U.S. Department of Labor statistics for Carpentry.

SALARY AND WAGE DATA

According to Payscale, the median annual salary for carpenters was $43,736 in 2016. The median hourly rate was $19. The following averages are for specific carpentry-related jobs in 2016:

  • Journeyman Carpenter - Median annual salary: $48,904 | Median hourly wage: $24.
  • Lead Carpenter – Median annual salary: $49,569 | Median hourly wage: $22
  • Assistant Project Manager – Median annual salary: $54,205 | Median hourly wage: $17
  • Carpenter Foreman – Median annual salary: $56,791 | Median hourly wage: $24
  • Construction Foreman – Median annual salary: $54,701 | Median hourly wage: $21
  • Construction Laborer – Median annual salary: $38,576 | Median hourly wage: $14
  • Finish Carpenter – Median annual salary: $43,065 | Median hourly wage: $20
  • Handyman – Median annual salary: $39,694 | Median hourly wage: $20

Locksmithing & Security Technology Careers

Graduates of our Locksmithing & Security Technology program have plenty of career options, such as:

  • Locksmith
  • Crew supervisor locksmith
  • Safe repairer
  • Lock technician
  • Certified Master Locksmith (CML)
  • Service technician
  • Certified Master Safecracker (CMS)
  • Forensic locksmith
  • Road service locksmith
  • Safe technician
  • Certified Master Safe Technician (CMST)
  • Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL)

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Locksmiths and Safe Repairers held about 17,800 jobs in 2015. The Occupational Information Network (O*Net) predicts that there may be a decline of locksmithing careers from 2014-2024. However, the projected decline is less than 2%, and they estimate there will be roughly 10,700 job openings from 2014-2024.

SALARY AND WAGE DATA

Payscale estimates that the average annual salary for a locksmith was $37,064 in 2016. The average hourly wage was $16. Employment levels, wages, and salaries for locksmiths vary by industry and state.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the industries with the highest levels of employment for locksmiths in 2015 are as follows:

  • Investigation and Security Services – Median annual salary: $38,760 | Median hourly wage: $18.63
  • Colleges and Universities – Median annual salary: $48,990 | Median hourly wage: $23.55
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools – Median annual salary: $43,450 | Median hourly wage: $20.89
  • State Government – Median annual salary: $54,880 | Median hourly wage: $26.39
  • General Medical/Surgical Hospitals – Median annual salary: $52,210 | Median hourly wage: $25.10

The top paying industries for locksmiths are:

  • Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing - Median annual salary: $62,220 | Median hourly wage: $29.92
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services - Median annual salary: $58,370 | Median hourly wage: $28.06
  • Foundation, Structure, and Building Exterior Contractors - Median annual salary: $56,990| Median hourly wage: $27.40
  • Local Government - Median annual salary: $54,880 | Median hourly wage: $26.39
  • Junior Colleges - Median annual salary: $54,000 | Median hourly wage: $25.96

Finally, the top paying states for locksmiths are:

  • California – Median annual salary: $50,330 | Median hourly wage: $24.20
  • Florida – Median annual salary: $34,310 | Median hourly wage: $16.50
  • Texas – Median annual salary: $39,190 | Median hourly wage: $18.84
  • New York – Median annual salary: $44,110 | Median hourly wage: $21.21
  • New Jersey – Median annual salary: $47,310 | Median hourly wage: $22.75

Jewelry Making & Repair Careers

Graduates of the Jewelry Making & Repair program work as jewelry designers for major companies, jewelry repairers, and owners of custom jewelry stores. Our graduates have held jobs as:

  • Goldsmiths
  • Fashion jewelry designers
  • Fine jewelry designers
  • Design Directors for jewelry manufacturers
  • Retail jewelry store owners
  • Studio and gallery owners
  • Hand Engravers
  • Stone setters
  • Gold buyers

According to the Occupational Information Network (O*Net), job titles for jewelry makers include:

  • Precious metal workers: Silversmith, Caster, Goldsmith, Artist, Fabricator, Pewterer, Bench Mechanic, Restoration Silversmith, Platinum Smith,
  • Jewelers: Bench Jeweler, Jeweler, Goldsmith, Earrings Fabricator, Gemologist
  • Gem and Diamond Workers: Gemologist, Diamond Cutter, Lapidarist, Diamond Setter, Quality Control Specialist, Diamond Picker, Facetor, Diamond Grader, Diamond Polisher, Diamond Sawer

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

The U.S. Department of Labor uses the classification of “Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers,” which includes bench jewelers, mold and model makers, assemblers, engravers, polishers, gemologists, laboratory graders, and jewelry appraisers. Although jewelry stores and repair shops are found in every city and many small towns, most jobs are in larger metropolitan areas.

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers held about 39,800 jobs in 2014.

  • 27% worked in retail clothing and accessory stores
  • 16% worked in jewelry manufacturing
  • 10% worked with merchant wholesalers

Employment for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers is expected to decline by 11% in the 2014-24 decade. Most opportunities will be for bench jewelers who have design and repair training. Additionally, the need for skilled jewelers will rise as the older generation retires.

SALARY AND WAGE DATA

Most jewelers begin with a base salary, then begin charging per piece as they become more skilled. Jewelers who work in retail stores may earn a commission for each piece of jewelry they sell. Many jewelers also get employee benefits, including reimbursement for work-related courses and discounts on jewelry purchases.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimated the average annual salary for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers as $37,060 in 2015. Average hourly wages were $17.82.

According to Payscale, the median annual salary for jewelers was $40,309 in 2016. The median hourly wage was $15. Wages for more specific positions are as follows:

  • Precious stone and metal workers - Median annual salary: $46,996 | Median hourly wage: $15
  • Jewelry designers – Median annual salary: $50,081 | Median hourly wage: $19

Piano Technology Careers

Graduates of our Piano Technology Program have a variety of career choices. Our graduates have held jobs like:

  • Registered Piano Technician (RPT)
  • Piano technician and manager in the piano technical services departments of colleges and universities
  • Piano tuner for recording studios
  • Owner, piano tuning and repair business
  • Owner, instrument rental business
  • Piano technician at various Steinway Piano Galleries
  • Piano technician for Tanglewood and Sundance summer music festivals
  • Piano rebuilder
  • Piano repairman/restorer
  • Consultant for a piano company
  • Piano tuner for cruise ship company

JOB DESCRIPTIONS

The closest job classification the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) uses is “Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners.” This classification includes repair of percussion, stringed, reed, and wind instruments. May specialize in one area, such as piano tuning. The classification does not include repair and tuning of electronic instruments.

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners held about 7,730 jobs in 2015. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) predicts there will be a 2% to 4% growth rate from 2014-24, with roughly 1,900 job openings within that decade.

SALARY AND WAGE DATA

According to O*NET, the average annual salary for musical instrument repairers was $35,660 as of 2015, with an average hourly rate of $17.14. Payscale reports that the median hourly wage in 2016 was $14.00. However, they also note that experience has a moderate effect on income. Additionally, Income for this occupation varies widely based on industry and location. The U.S. DOL reports the following:

Industries with the highest levels of employment for musical instrument repairers:

  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, and Musical Instrument Stores – Average annual salary: $38,330 | Average hourly wage: $18.43
  • Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance– Average annual salary: $33,970 | Average hourly wage: $16.33
  • Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing– Average annual salary: $43,580 | Average hourly wage: $20.95
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools– Average annual salary: $50,670 | Average hourly wage: $24.36
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools– Average annual salary: $46,700 | Average hourly wage: $22.45

Top paying industries for musical instrument repairers:

  • Performing Arts Companies – Average annual salary: $60,880 | Average hourly wage: $29.27
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools– Average annual salary: $50,670 | Average hourly wage: $24.36
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools– Average annual salary: $46,700 | Average hourly wage: $22.45
  • Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing– Average annual salary: $43,580 | Average hourly wage: $20.95
  • Miscellaneous Durable Goods Wholesalers– Average annual salary: $42,480 | Average hourly wage: $20.42

Top paying states for musical instrument repairers:

  • Texas– Average annual salary: $39,840 | Average hourly wage: $19.15
  • California– Average annual salary: $41,700 | Average hourly wage: $20.05
  • Illinois– Average annual salary: $38,410 | Average hourly wage: $18.47
  • Florida– Average annual salary: $31,240 | Average hourly wage: $15.02
  • New York– Average annual salary: $40,070 | Average hourly wage: $19.27

For more information on career outlook and additional resources, visit The Piano Technicians Guild.

Preservation Carpentry Careers

Graduates of our Preservation Carpentry program go on to be self-employed restoration carpenters, owners of full-service design/build companies, and more. Some of the jobs our graduates have held are:

  • Carpentry teacher at historic site
  • Chief of conservation
  • Lead carpenter
  • Owner, contractor and historic millwork provider
  • Owner, historic sash and windows company
  • Owner, repair and restore double hung windows
  • Owner, restoration and custom millwork company
  • Owner’s project manager
  • Project leader and carpenter, exhibits specialist program
  • Project manager
  • Restoration carpenter
  • Shop supervisor

Graduates of the School have worked for reputable businesses and organizations like:

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK AND WAGE INFORMATION

More than 90% of our graduates work in related fields. However, it’s difficult to find statistical employment data for specialized trades like preservation carpentry. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) classifies this as Carpentry, which includes many specialized trades. Visit the DOL website to explore the general outlook for carpentry careers.

Payscale reports wage data for the Historic Preservation Industry. This classification doesn’t match the description for preservation carpentry exactly, but you can use it as a general guide. According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a construction superintendent in the historic preservation industry was $40,461 as of 2016. Comparatively, the average annual salary for carpenters was $43,736.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Job openings for preservation carpenters depend heavily on geographic location. Areas with high concentrations of historic properties will have more opportunities for preservation carpenters. Visit the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) to see a map.

Of course, there are many more places than those listed in the NRHP that need skilled preservation carpenters. Visit the following pages to view opportunities in historic preservation:

Violin Making & Repair Careers

Graduates of our Violin Making & Repair program often work as self-employed luthiers. Others go on to be shop owners of full service string instrument shops. They repair, restore, and build violins and cellos.

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

Please keep in mind that the job classifications defined by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) do not match the highly specialized skills of graduates from NBSS. Therefore, it’s difficult to be specific when looking at wage and employment data.

The closest job classification the DOL uses is “Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners,” which includes repair of percussion, stringed, reed, or wind instruments, often with a specialization in one area. The classification does not include repair and tuning of electronic instruments. This classification falls into the same category as our Piano Technician Career page.

SALARY AND WAGE DATA

According to O*NET, the average annual salary for musical instrument repairers was $35,660 as of 2015, and an average hourly rate of $17.14. Payscale reports that the median hourly wage in 2016 was $14.00. However, they also note that experience has a moderate effect on income. Additionally, Chron.com reports that the average income for a luthier as of 2013 is $52,000. Income for this occupation varies widely based on industry and location. The U.S. DOL reports the following:

Industries with the highest levels of employment for musical instrument repairers:

  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, and Musical Instrument Stores – Average annual salary: $38,330 | Average hourly wage: $18.43
  • Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance– Average annual salary: $33,970 | Average hourly wage: $16.33
  • Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing– Average annual salary: $43,580 | Average hourly wage: $20.95
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools– Average annual salary: $50,670 | Average hourly wage: $24.36
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools– Average annual salary: $46,700 | Average hourly wage: $22.45

Top paying industries for musical instrument repairers:

  • Performing Arts Companies – Average annual salary: $60,880 | Average hourly wage: $29.27
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools– Average annual salary: $50,670 | Average hourly wage: $24.36
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools– Average annual salary: $46,700 | Average hourly wage: $22.45
  • Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing– Average annual salary: $43,580 | Average hourly wage: $20.95
  • Miscellaneous Durable Goods Wholesalers– Average annual salary: $42,480 | Average hourly wage: $20.42

Top paying states for musical instrument repairers:

  • Texas– Average annual salary: $39,840 | Average hourly wage: $19.15
  • California– Average annual salary: $41,700 | Average hourly wage: $20.05
  • Illinois– Average annual salary: $38,410 | Average hourly wage: $18.47
  • Florida– Average annual salary: $31,240 | Average hourly wage: $15.02
  • New York– Average annual salary: $40,070 | Average hourly wage: $19.27

For more information, visit the following resources:

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