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Sculptors create original three-dimensional artworks in traditional media (for example, wood, clay, metal, stone) and nontraditional media (for example, sound and virtual reality).

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,800
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Artisan, Artist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Sculptors (5136.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists (F036) 
  • 2011 NOC: Painters, sculptors and other visual artists (5136) 
  • 2016 NOC: Painters, sculptors and other visual artists (5136) 
Interest Codes
The Sculptor is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in synthesizing ideas to create artistic forms from metal, stone and other materials in order to express ideas, feelings and moods by shaping, carving and sculpting materials such as clay, ice, paper, stone, wood and metal


Interest in precision working to carve and shape materials to desired forms using hand and power tools, welding and metalworking equipment, and masonry tools


Interest in speaking with models when directing them to pose; and in using established techniques of sculpting and arranging objects for compositions

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 15, 2016

The boundaries between categories in the visual arts are much less distinct today than they once were. Traditionally, sculptors have used materials such as stone, bronze, concrete, wood, clay and plaster. Today, many sculptors use materials and methods normally associated with other disciplines. For example, they may work in, and experiment with, photography, metals of all kinds, fired ceramics, electricity, video and digital media, sound, wax, ice, plastics, performance art, fibre, textiles and other materials. They may produce only one or a limited number of copies of each piece of work.

Some sculptors choose to design their work entirely on a computer using three-dimensional (3D) software and fabricate their sculptures with digital tools (for example, computer numeric controls or CNC machines, 3D printers, computer controlled laser cutters). Others may create the design using software then use conventional methods to produce the work.

Digital tools allow sculptors to:

  • fabric artworks that previously were impossible to create by conventional means
  • produce accurate models for presentation
  • work out design problems before fabricating the sculpture
  • position the proposed work in the desired context before production
  • produce digital animations of the work positioned on the site to give clients a precise idea of how the work will appear.

Sculptures range in size from a small coin to several hundred acres of "live art." There are many new and emerging areas as sculptors experiment with new materials, installation techniques and mixed media applications. In some cases, sculptors employ the assistance of engineers, mechanics and other technical experts.

Many sculptors study different techniques and experiment with different materials on an ongoing basis. They keep up to date with what is going on in the art world by reading and attending exhibitions at art galleries.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Sculptors' working conditions vary with their media. They may use a variety of hand tools and power tools. Some materials and tools require attention to safety practices to prevent injury.

Studios may be clean and well ventilated, or they may have less than ideal working conditions. Flying particles, falling objects, fumes, heat and chemicals are common occupational hazards. Sculptors may work at home, wherever large pieces are situated or in studios located in artist-run centres or warehouses.

The work can be physically demanding. Lifting requirements vary depending on the medium.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Sculptors need the following characteristics:

  • initiative, self-discipline and determination
  • self-promotion and marketing skills
  • artistic talent and creativity
  • the ability to translate their ideas into finished products and critique their own work
  • the ability to communicate their ideas on paper (to prepare proposals)
  • the ability to deal with criticism.

They should enjoy working independently.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 15, 2016

There are no formal education requirements for sculptors. However, they need: 

  • some knowledge of art history, composition and contemporary art criticism 
  • a portfolio of their best work (for example, a website with biographical information, digital images of artwork and other relevant information) 
  • training in the safe use of materials, tools and equipment 
  • small business skills (marketing and financial management skills in particular).

Prospective sculptors should look for education programs that have the best blend of technical and creative course materials for their particular interests and needs. Some galleries may prefer to feature sculptors who have a Bachelor's or Masters degree in Fine Arts.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

Keyano College

Portage College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 15, 2016

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Sculptors may receive commissions or fees paid in advance that allow them to buy materials and cover some living expenses while they finish a site-specific or major work. However, few sculptors can support themselves on their art work alone. Many teach recreational, secondary school or post-secondary courses; work in foundries; do related work such as mass production design or mould making; or work in other fields to cover their living costs and studio rent.

Sculptures may be commissioned by special request, or sold in retail markets or through agents. Sculptors may display their art in:

  • galleries and museums
  • restaurants and clubs
  • office buildings and public spaces
  • parks, exhibit grounds and international expositions.

They also may market their work electronically through television or the internet. Sometimes, film makers rent available ready-made sculptures.

Emerging sculptors can get a start by entering art competitions, art festivals or arranging their own shows in their homes or artist-run centres. Before approaching gallery owners, sculptors should do some research to identify galleries that have a style compatible with their own. Sculptors usually have one gallery representative per city.

The Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts purchase artworks and offer grants for promising sculptors to enable them to study and work for a few months or a year at a time.

Sculptors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5136: Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Some sculptors receive commissions or fees paid in advance that allow them to buy materials and cover some living expenses while they finish site-specific or major works.

Sculpture prices vary considerably depending on the sculptor's reputation, size of the piece, materials used and availability of the sculptor's work. Most galleries deduct a commission ranging from 50% to 70%.

A few well established sculptors hire agents to handle marketing, bookkeeping and sales transactions. Agents may add or deduct a 20% to 40% commission.

Sculptors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5136: Painters, sculptors and other visual artists.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Painters, sculptors and other visual artists occupational group earned on average from $24.63 to $32.72 an hour. The overall average was $27.52 an hour. More recent data is not available.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Alberta Foundation for the Arts website:

Canada Council for the Arts website:

Sculptors Society of Canada (SSC) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 24, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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