Ice Sculpter
How to Become an

Ice Sculpter

The complete career guide to be an Ice Sculpter: 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

An ice sculpter carves beautiful sculptures from a block of ice. Because ice is perishable, this career path is unique and requires efficiency coupled with precision.

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What is an Ice Sculpter?


To be an Ice Sculpter, you would have to manage the following responsibilities:

  • Use a wide arsenal of sculpting tools such as rasps, modelling clay carving tools, wire, chisels, hammers, grinders and bankers to pay close attention to the sculpting project.
  • Visit the site where the sculpture is commissioned and measure the area closely, in order to choose the appropriate materials to make the vision into a reality.
  • Engage in the design process which may include taking photos, sketching and experimenting with different materials for artistic expression.
  • Work on tight deadlines while also paying close attention to detail for accurate sculptures that meet the requirements of the client.

Day In The Life

Your life can be very thrilling as an ice sculpter. Since warming ice becomes hard to carve and loses its binding properties, you have to demonstrate great skill and urgency when undertaking each project. Once an idea is sketched out regarding the design, you enter a chilled storage freezer to work on pure ice that is often imported from abroad. Using dry ice is a common method to extend the shelf life of the ice while it is a work in progress.

Utilizing a large handsaw or chainsaw, you will carve out the initial shape after which you will use other tools like a chisel or angle grinder for smaller details. Each block piece may take up to three and a half hours to complete and requires you to take regular breaks. Gaps between work can involve jumping up and down or clapping your hands to keep the body’s blood circulation going.

Work Schedule

Ice sculpters have to work in uncomfortable settings like a nine by six meters freezer that is pre-set to ice cold temperatures to preserve the ice. Typically, work starts early around 8.30 am in the morning and you will have to become familiar with protective winter clothing such as thermals, ski jacket, leather gloves, beanie, boots lined with wool. Work hours can be irregular depending on the complexity of the sculpture, going till late nights like midnight. Many sculpters hold another job due to the erratic nature of work inflow. Self-employed sculpters work on their own time as long as they stick to deadlines.

Growth Of The Job

The employment of fine artists such as ice sculpters is expected to increase at 2 percent between 2014 to 2024, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job opportunities in this field are largely dependent on the state of the economy, with fierce competition for both full-time and contract positions. Studios and private clients are always scoping out creative talent for ice sculptures. Keeping a well organised portfolio of your past projects will help you stand out when looking for better employment opportunities. It is also essential to keep track of the latest developments in this industry, such as a growing interest in using modern equipment or technologies to carve figures and 3D forms. While you may not intend to use them, knowledge of technical ceramics or 3D printed art can give you new perspective on your artwork. Once you have established yourself as a promising ice sculpter, you can advance at a company or open an independent business.

Typical Employers

Ice sculpters are in demand by high profile clients such as private parties, conventions, luxury restaurants, hotels and so on. You could be hired by big or small organizations to create more basic sculptures and hone your techniques alongside more experienced professionals.

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How To Become an Ice Sculpter

Most artists get into this career path through natural talent, while some attend art school to refine their skills. There is no specific educational requirement to enter this field but a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts can give ice sculpters better opportunities for advancement through a deeper understanding of previously unknown techniques, materials and methods. During a formal program, you would acquaint yourself with valuable coursework in business, marketing and studio work, as well as expand your networks through training and internships. While curriculum vary based on the focus of the program, e.g. Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, formal training can help expand your work prospects in a number of ways.

Ice Sculpter 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




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Ice Sculpter salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Ice Sculpter'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 Ice Sculpters

  • 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


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Ice Sculpter 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 Ice Sculpters

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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