Ceramics designer or maker

ceramicist potter
Design, arts and crafts
Create Produce

Career outlook for ceramics designer or maker

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would design and produce practical goods like cups, plates, bowls and other items made of clay for people to use.

You’d come up with ideas for kitchenware, tableware, tiles and decorative items which people will find attractive as well as useful.

You would need to be able to explain ideas through sketches or computer images. You will also need to have good communication skills.

If you work for a large company you might work with clients who will commission your company to produce goods for them. You’d use materials including bone china, hard porcelain, earthenware and stoneware.

You would interpret the product requirements, called 'briefs', and create designs that the company can mass produce. You might also oversee the production, although increasingly this now happens abroad.

As a self-employed designer-maker you would design one-off items or create just a few copies of each design. You might make the items yourself by hand or using a mould or potter's wheel. You’d also decorate them yourself with paint and glazes and fire them in a kiln.

You’d sell your creations:

  • From your own studio, gallery or shop
  • At craft fairs or exhibitions
  • Through other shops or galleries

You’d need to make sure that your products are likely to appeal to the public. You’d keep up to date with trends by carrying out research and attending trade fairs and exhibitions.

Working conditions


As a ceramics designer employed by a company, you will usually work around 40 hours a week, you may need to do extra hours to meet deadlines. If you are a self-employed or freelance designer/maker, your hours will vary according to the amount of work you have.


You will usually work in a studio or workshop.


You may have opportunities to travel to visit manufacturers (often overseas), or make research visits to trade shows or to particular places linked to a design theme.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Innovative
  • Attention to detail
  • Self esteem
  • Negotiating

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but most people have a qualification in art and design, specialising in ceramic art or 3D craft design.

To enter a 3D design Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) requires National 4/5 qualifications and two Highers.

To enter a degree (SCFQ level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers at BBC. Most courses ask for a portfolio of your work.

There are currently no specific ceramics degree courses in Scotland; entry to other UK courses will usually require Highers, Advanced Highers or a relevant HNC/HND and a portfolio.

Gray's School of Art at Robert Gordon University offers a degree course in Three Dimensional Design. Entry requirements are three Highers at BBC including English and Art and Design.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Administration
  • ICT
  • Finance
  • Business
  • Languages
  • Social studies
  • Religious and moral education

You will also need

You normally need good eyesight and normal colour vision.