Most people want to find a job they are passionate about and that makes them good money. There are dozens of jobs within the precious metals industry that are both fulfilling and pay well. As with any industry, opportunities depend on your location and skill level.
Precious metals workers are highly skilled and respected specialists. They span countless industries including blacksmithing, mining, jewelry, antique restoration, and more. Precious metals include gold, silver, iridium, rhenium, ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, and platinum.
Keep reading to learn more about the industry and the best-paying jobs in precious metals. By the end of this article, you will have a better idea if this industry is right for you.
What are precious metals?
Precious metals are rare metallic elements found in nature. They have high economic value due to their scarcity, beauty, usefulness, and history as a store of value. The three primary precious metals are gold, silver, and platinum. Other precious metals valued for their industrial uses are iridium and palladium.
Gold, silver, and platinum metals have been treasured for thousands of years. Throughout history, precious metals have been the foundation of the global economy.
While they aren’t widely used as currency in today’s world, precious metals are still used as investments and in industrial processes. Today, gold and silver are still sought-after assets for investors to hedge against inflation and instability in the economy.
What does a precious metal worker do?
A precious metal worker is anyone who works directly with precious metals. This definition covers a wide range of professions within the precious metals industry.
Key job categories in precious metals
Most precious metal jobs fall into one of the following categories:
- Crafting or repairing precious metals
- Selling precious metals
- Analysis or appraisal of precious metals
- Specializing in a specific process or type of precious metal
These categories cover a variety of jobs in the precious metals industry.
Now, let’s dive deeper into the specifics of the precious metals industry.
Jobs in the precious metals industry
Precious metals jobs have been around for thousands of years. Today, there isn’t a huge demand for workers in the precious metals industry. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t excellent opportunities available.
Key jobs in precious metals
The following are some of the most common jobs in the precious metals industry:
- Precious metal worker
- Precious metal broker
- Quality control specialist
- Metals production specialist
- Precious metals advisor
- Jewelry and coin specialist
- Jewelry salesman, designer, or appraiser
How many precious metals jobs are available?
There are approximately 32,400 employed precious metal workers in the United States. This accounts for 0.02% of U.S. employment in 2022. The industry itself is not projected to show any significant change over the next 10 years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects about 3,800 openings per year for precious stone and metal workers from 2020 to 2030. Keep in mind that the availability of precious stones and precious metals jobs vary by state.
How are precious metal workers paid?
According to BLS, the average salary for a precious metal worker in 2021 was $46,640 per year or $22.42 per hour. The following are the average precious metal worker salaries by the level of experience:
|Experience level||Average pay per year||Average pay per hour|
|Highest (Top 10%)||$77,330||$37|
|Senior (Top 25%)||$56,730||$27|
|Junior (Bottom 25%)||$32,650||$16|
|No experience (Bottom 10%)||$26,050||$13|
How to become a precious metal worker
Every highly skilled precious stone or metal worker had to start somewhere. Even though it is a coveted profession, the barrier to entry is not high.
Education requirements for a job in the precious metals industry
For most entry-level precious metal jobs, only a high school diploma or equivalent is required. There are several training programs, degrees, and certificates that you can complete. Having a college degree or additional accreditation will set you up to enter the precious metals industry at a higher level. The best-paying jobs in precious metals typically require both experience and additional accreditation.
If you have a reliable source of income and good credit, you may be able to acquire a personal loan to fund study or training as you transition into or move up a precious metals career path.
Where to start as a new precious metals worker
Just like with any profession, it takes time to build your skills as a precious metal worker. The most common way to enter into the precious metals industry is through an apprenticeship in a precious metals business. Through an apprenticeship or internship, you will get practical training in your chosen specialization. Not only is the technical knowledge valuable to growing your career, but these kinds of entry-level positions are a great way to start networking in the industry.
Don’t stop at searching job sites
While searching or signing up for alerts from a platform like Indeed can be a way to get leads, it is usually more effective to get more personal with your job search. To find a position in precious metals, search for precious metals businesses in your area.
If you want to be a jeweler, search for jewelry businesses near you. If you want to be a precious metals consultant, a quick online search can bring up a list of consulting businesses near you. You get the idea. Try contacting the businesses that you are interested in working for directly or even visiting their storefront to see if they could use a hand.
Best paying jobs in precious metals
The best-paying jobs in precious metals depend on your location and your skill set. More highly skilled workers will get paid more. Read this article by SuperMoney to learn what the top 20 highest-paying jobs in America are.
Check out this list of the jobs in the precious metals industry with the highest average yearly salary.
Precious metal broker
Precious metal brokers buy and resell precious metals second-hand. They work with new and used precious metals of many kinds. A precious metal broker is skilled in estimating the value of a precious metal piece using current market values.
Metals production specialist
Typical responsibilities of precious metals production specialists are determining the chemical composition of a product, selecting the method and temperature of the smelting process, processing ore to produce steel, and producing alloys with required properties. If you are interested in chemistry and materials sciences, this might be a fun job for you.
Quality control specialist
Quality control specialist is one of the best paying jobs in precious metals. The duties of a quality control specialist include precious jewelry product tests and assessments, identifying product defects, recording and reporting issues, and making necessary repairs.
Precious metals advisor consultant
A metal advisor consultant works closely with clients interested in investing in precious metals. Taking into account individual client desires, advisor consultants assess the market and determine which metals are best to buy and when to buy them.
Jewelry and coin consultant
A jewelry and coin specialist or consultant provides accurate appraisals and payouts for jewelry and coins. These specialists test, buy and sell precious metal products, coins, currency, and collectibles with excellent customer service.
Goldsmiths are precious metal workers that specialize in gold, although they can also work with various other precious metals. A goldsmith is usually an expert in shaping metal, intricate jewelry construction, jewelry repair, soldering pieces together, resetting stones, changing ring sizes, cleaning and polishing precious metal jewelry pieces, and grading precious stones.
The work and salary of a jewelry designer vary depending on experience level. Jewelry designers use their creativity, skills, and client desire to create fine jewelry from bracelets to wedding bands out of precious metals and stones.
Precious metal worker
Precious metal workers deal with precious metals and metal alloys in the production of jewelry, antique restorations, furniture, mining, blacksmithing, and more. Many industries employ precious metal workers.
Jewelry sales are where the most money is made within the precious metals industry. A salesperson in a jewelry store facilitates buying, selling, and evaluating precious metal and precious stone jewelry pieces. Jewelry salespeople often earn commission on their sales, so salary is highly determined by your level of sales success.
Highest paying industries for precious metal workers
We can estimate the average yearly salary for the best paying jobs in precious metals. However, salaries depend on which industry the job is within. If you are wondering which sub-industries related to the precious metals industry pay the highest, take a look at the approximations in the chart below.
|Industry||Average pay per year||Average pay per hour|
|Nondepository credit intermediation||$64,880||$31.19|
|Merchant wholesalers of durable goods||$58,580||$28.16|
|Management of companies and enterprises||$50,280||$24.17|
|Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores||$48,520||$23.33|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||$42,740||$20.55|
|Personal and household goods repair and maintenance||$41,710||$20.05|
|Nonferrous metal production and processing||$39,310||$18.90|
|Electronic shopping and mail-order houses||$37,960||$18.25|
Largest employers of precious metal workers
Do you want to know which industries employ the most precious metal workers? The list below shows the top ten:
- Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
- Miscellaneous manufacturing
- Merchant wholesalers of durable goods
- Personal and household goods repair and maintenance
- Specialized design services
- Professional, scientific, and technical services
- Nondepository credit intermediation
- Employment services
- Management of companies and enterprises
- Nonferrous metal production and processing
Is precious metals a good career path?
To land a high-paying job in the precious metals industry, you need specialized expertise. Otherwise, average salaries are not as high.
If precious metals are something you are interested in or even passionate about, it can be a fulfilling and exciting career path. The best way to find out if it is a good fit for you is to take courses or participate in an apprenticeship in the areas of your interest. We wish you the best of luck!
- The most common and valuable precious metals are gold and silver. They aren’t widely used as currency anymore but are commonly traded as financial assets and fine jewelry.
- Precious metals jobs make up about 0.02% of the United States job market and have an average salary of $46,640 per year. The best-paying jobs in precious metals are precious metal brokers and metals, production specialists.
- If you are interested in precious metals, it can be a great career path. Taking courses and becoming an apprentice are great ways to get started in the industry.
How much do precious metals traders make?
A precious metal trader can make an average of $100,000 per year. How much specific traders earn depends on their skill level, the value of products traded, and trading frequency.
What job works with precious metals and stones?
Many jobs work with precious metals and stones. Two of the most common of these jobs are jewelry designers and precious metal workers.
What precious metal is used most in the industry?
The three most common precious metals used in the precious metals industry are gold, silver, and palladium.
Still not sure if precious metals is your calling?
Choosing a career path is an important decision and can be difficult, so we certainly can’t fault you if want to keep exploring your options. Here are a couple of SuperMoney articles to help you along:
- Want a career with earning potential on par with athletes actors, and CEOs? Read Who Makes More Money: Athletes, Actors, National Leaders, Drug Lords, or CEOs? to see how much you’ll need to make.
- Looking to change careers? Before you do, make sure you read about the 10 Important Financial Decisions to Make Before a Career Change.
View Article Sources
- Commission Advisory: Beware Of Promises Of Easy Profits From Buying Precious Metals And Other Commodities — U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Should you pursue a career selling precious metals, make sure you avoid these unethical practices.
- Employment in the United States from 2012 to 2022 — Statista
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers — U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- 10 Important Financial Decisions to Make Before a Career Change — SuperMoney
- 15 Side Jobs You Can Easily Do From Home — SuperMoney
- Average Income of Side Jobs – 5 Steps to Finding The Right One For You — SuperMoney
- Top 20 High Paying Jobs in America — SuperMoney
- Who Makes More Money: Athletes, Actors, National Leaders, Drug Lords, or CEOs? — SuperMoney