The traditional way of starting any trade or artisan craft is through apprenticeship. It’s a path we have spoken generally about on the blog before. This time, however, as we enter the New Year, we wanted to specifically talk about the Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser Apprenticeship Program. It’s something we are incredibly proud to offer, continuing the tradition and heritage of stained glass artisans who come up in the Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser studio.

Over a Century of Experience & Fresh Vigor

In 2014 the Studio announced the return of our esteemed Master Apprenticeship Program! It’s a historic program, but it’s focus sort of fell by the wayside for a decade or so, until the Studio President and CEO John Phillips, Jr. refocused efforts and made training up the next generation of stained glass artisans a priority.

“It is important to give career-oriented stained glass enthusiasts a direction and proper education in stained glass.  Given the 115-year history of the studio and the lineage of its artisans, an apprenticeship certification from Willet Hauser Architectural Glass is a significant and valuable achievement to anyone making a career in the study of stained glass.”

— John Phillips, Jr. President, and CEO

What the Master Apprenticeship Program Entails

Three years, three major areas of study – the Master Apprenticeship Program does it all, teaching Studio Work, Field Work, and Design Work over the course of it.

The First 18 Months – Apprentice

The program begins with a basic apprenticeship during the first 18 months. During which apprentices will be introduced to each aspect of the trade. Apprentices complete a designated set of hours developing their skills in stained glass fabrication, draft work, drawing, glass painting, on-site installation, as well as restoration and preservation. All of these are fundamental aspects of stained glass craftsmanship that an apprentice has to know and once they’ve mastered them it’s time to move into becoming a Master Apprentice.

The Second 18 Months – Master Apprentice

Once an apprentice has completed the first half of the program successfully it’s time for them to choose the specific direction they would like to advance in and focus their efforts on for their studies as a Master Apprentice. The new Master-Apprentice will select a major in either Studio Work, Field Work, or Design Work and the program is then tailored to their chosen field. Studio Work encompasses creation, fabrication, and restoration – all work that is performed, naturally, in a studio. Field Work meanwhile covers preservation, on-site restoration, and installation of new art – all work that is performed out in the field, at the location where the art will be.

Additional Coursework

In addition to the work performed in the studio, apprentices complete outside coursework in related areas. Courses like Drawing, Computer Arts, History, and Glass Studies are also pursued, traditionally online, at a community college, or through studio affiliated programs and workshops. In addition, apprentices are expected to take part in monthly in-house classes, run by journeymen and upper management. 

All of this is to better serve artisans going forward by creating robust, well-rounded educations.

Progressing Through the Program

Throughout the entire course, hours are documented, and each phase of the program must be completed and passed successfully in order to move forward. It’s much like any secondary education or trade school – you can’t move onto the later things without demonstrating mastery of the first. Once the apprenticeship is completed, a committee of journeymen and upper management from the studio will review each phase of the apprentices’ work. This is to determine that the work done and the skills on display represent the level of expertise needed to continue on. When the apprentice has been deemed worthy and their work and program successful, the apprentice is given Journeyman status, with full benefits!

As a certified journeyman, the craftsperson is able to perform the trade of stained glass, supervise apprentices, and become self-employed! Completing the program also comes with a Certificate of Completion, useful in assisting the new Journeyman in gaining work at another studio or work in another aspect of the industry, if they so desire.

How to Begin?

The Associated Crafts & Willet Hauser Master Apprenticeship Program journey begins with a single step – sending in a resume and applying for a position in the studio! Once hired, a probationary period begins where the would-be apprentice works in the sales force or in the studio for the duration. When that probationary period ends if the individual has shown an interest and desire to practice the craft they are invited into the program!

Ready to Make a Change and Learn a Trade?

To apply, resumes should be emailed to the Studio’s Human Resource Department at or Contact Us for more information! Remember, those three years are going to pass anyway, so why not spend them learning a trade and building your skillset?