Art Restorer
How to Become an

Art Restorer

The complete career guide to be an Art Restorer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $54,170
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Art restorers are highly qualified fine artists that utilize their scientific expertise to preserve, repair and restore a wide range of cultural artwork and antiquities.


What is an Art Restorer?

Duties

Art restorers are expected to fulfill the following duties on a regular basis:

  • Assess the condition of an artwork or other artifacts, for the purpose of restoring and reassembling them, including designing and fabricating any missing parts to bring back their original look.
  • Create detailed records on completed as well as ongoing operations, with information such as the current condition of artifacts, restoration techniques utilized, options offered for treatment, etc.
  • Stay up to date on their knowledge of architecture and art history, to be able to implement the best possible restoration techniques with an aesthetic awareness.
  • Estimate and share the cost of restoring an artwork with clients’, as well as the timeline possible.

Day In The Life

You can have a varying workload as an art restorer. On an average day, you can expect to continue working on art restoration projects such as cleaning textiles, pottery, furniture and other materials using solvents, solutions and polishes. Some assignments can be restoring precious documents, metals, artwork, books and paintings. Besides working on the specific artifacts themselves, art restorers work with museums to address the type of preservation techniques required to maximize their lifespan, e.g. controlling humidity and temperature, placing registration numbers on artwork for records, supervising other staff or team members on handling and storing the objects in the rightful place.

Work Schedule

The work schedule of an art restorer depends on the type of job they are involved with. If you gain a full-time role, you can expect to work around 40 hours per week at regular office hours in a comfortable environment. If there is artwork to be restored at an on-site location, you may occasionally travel to museums, libraries, university campuses and art institutes as required.

Growth Of The Job

There are many opportunities to grow in a lucrative career sector like art restoration. If you prefer working with a cultural institution as a professional artist, then you can gain bigger projects overtime through the right experience and education. Many experienced art restorers gain the opportunity to be a part of an art institute or museum’s full-time staff, with responsibilities such as taking charge of a collection of art and using the latest technology like X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer to conserve collections of artwork.

With an established reputation, art restorers often take on prized paintings owned by private collectors or working on historically significant murals and mosaics on-site. Other coveted work includes repairing damaged ceramics from different time periods and cleaning or restoring paintings at galleries or museums.

Typical Employers

As an art restorer, you can find work with antique stores, historical societies, laboratories, libraries, antique stores, archives, museums, galleries, government agencies, private conservation enterprises, and various businesses that are involved in art conservation and restoration, especially with fine art and historic artifacts. Some art restorers prefer to work freelance or part-time, while others covet a full-time position with such employers.


How To Become an Art Restorer

In the olden days, art restorers would train with experienced professionals to master the tools of the trade. Skills and techniques were handed down generation after generation, from one restorer to the other. However, in today’s world with advanced technology and a highly competitive field, art restorers hone their craft at an art school or university, with a master’s degree in art conservation, fine arts or a relevant subject area. Coursework to be focused on could be art materials structure, research methods and analysis, cleaning methods and chemical processes of restoration. Once you complete a master’s program successfully, combining it with a few years of experience can give you the competitive edge in the market as an art restorer. Many educational institutions offer a 1 to four years fellowship program post degree completion.

Besides educational qualifications, you must be passionate about art and possess quick analytical thinking and organisational skills. Restoring artwork can be strenuous work, involving crouching or slumping in uncomfortable positions, especially for ceilings, wall panels or floors. You must have superior physical strength and stamina to move around heavy objects, stretch to reach far corners of a mural or painting and climb to heights when necessary. Adopting modern methods such as chemical tests and x-rays can bring you better opportunities for advancement in art conservation.


Art Restorer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$29,250

Average

$54,170

High Range

$99,140

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$14/hr

Average

$26/hr

High Range

$48/hr

How do Art Restorer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Art Restorer's can make an average annual salary of $54,170, or $26 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $29,250 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #337 Nationally for All Careers


Highest Education Among Art Restorers

  • 1.9%   Doctorate
  • 12%   Masters
  • 45%   Bachelors
  • 9%   Associates
  • 18.4%   College
  • 10.7%   High School
  • 3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

26,300

2024 Est. Jobs

27,100

Job Growth Rate

3%

Est. New Jobs

800

How does Art Restorer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 800 jobs for a total of 27,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #519 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Art Restorers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 14,300 100 0%
Independent artists, writers, and performers 3,400 200 0%
Other miscellaneous store retailers 600 --- ---

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