Careers

During your studies, you’ll photograph your work and create a portfolio. Your portfolio, along with connections you’ll make during field trips and through Student Services, will help you find employment opportunities once you’ve graduated. Our Bookbinding graduates work in a wide variety of careers in binderies and conservation labs.

Our graduates work in reputable institutions such as:

  • Universities such as Harvard, Columbia, Michigan State, Indiana University, Duke, Texas A&M, UCLA, and UC Berkeley
  • US National Archives and Records Administration
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Boston Athenaeum
  • National Park Service
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Boston Public Library
  • Huntington Library
  • Rare Book School
  • Winterthur / University of Delaware

Job Descriptions

Some roles in which are graduates work include:

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

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.”

Salary & Wages

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

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.

*Note: Due to privacy concerns, on-time completion rates are withheld in the Gainful Employment report when fewer than ten students in a graduating class received Title IV, or "federal," financial aid during their enrollment at NBSS. Because our programs are small, this information may be withheld or appear low in any given year. Typical earnings rates are based on the earnings of our graduates as reported to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and therefore may not be an accurate reflection of potential earnings in a given field.
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Questions? Contact Rob O'Dwyer, Director of Admissions, at 617-227-0155 x111 or admissions@nbss.edu.
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