There are currently an estimated 43,000 potters in the United States. The potter job market is expected to shrink by -2.6% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are potters?

CareerExplorer rates potters with a F employability rating, meaning this career should provide poor employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 5,100 potters. That number is based on the retirement of 6,200 existing potters.

Are potters in demand?

Aspiring potters will continue to face employment challenges. Historically, these artisans, who are often self-employed, have had to supplement their income with work in other fields or by assuming related part-time functions, such as teaching ceramics. This trend is likely to persist. Exerting further financial pressure on the potter community is the fact that many in the field are paid on a commission basis for crafting items for businesses or individuals. This means that it is not uncommon for potters to face fluctuating and uncertain incomes, as only the most successful among them receive major commissions for their work. In addition, gaining exposure in galleries, which is one of the keys to distinction and stature, is highly competitive, even rare. A limited number of opportunities occurs in the clay product and refractory manufacturing industry, which produces large numbers of specific items. On the other hand, this mass production could negatively impact the marketability of independent potters. Regardless of whether they are working on their own or as an employee, potters’ livelihoods are impacted by economic conditions, as art of all kinds is generally purchased more frequently when consumers can afford to spend more money on nonessentials. Demand from private collectors may be less susceptible to downturns in the economy; but private collections account for a very small portion of the potter marketplace. Experienced potters looking to advance in this career typically seek opportunities in community arts work; gallery and arts management; or with art schools.

What’s the supply of potters?

The potter industry is concentrated in California, Texas, Pennsylvania

Potter job market by state

State Name Employed Potters
California 4,930
Texas 3,110
Pennsylvania 2,760
Ohio 2,690
Florida 2,280
Wisconsin 1,490
Illinois 1,490
Indiana 1,340
Massachusetts 1,160
Missouri 1,130
New York 1,060
Tennessee 1,050
Oklahoma 1,040
Georgia 1,020
Virginia 960
North Carolina 890
New Jersey 890
Utah 850
Minnesota 830
South Carolina 830
Washington 740
Iowa 740
Kansas 680
Kentucky 520
Arizona 400
Colorado 360
Arkansas 360
Mississippi 330
Nevada 330
Oregon 310
New Hampshire 270
West Virginia 260
Maryland 250
Alabama 210
Connecticut 180
Maine 160
Montana 150
Nebraska 150
Vermont 130
Louisiana 120
Delaware 110
North Dakota 60
Rhode Island 60
South Dakota 50
New Mexico 50
Idaho 50