Scientific Glass Blower

The scientific glass blower manufactures glass instruments and apparatus. These are used both in laboratories and in fieldwork by scientists and engineers in their research, development and tutorial duties. Scientific glass blowers also work in industry, particularly in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

Scientific glass blowers are often required to assist in the design of prototype equipment and thus play a major role in the success or failure of a project. The work entails the shaping and forming of a variety of types and shapes of glass according to the specifications given. The glass can be machined, ground, drilled, blown, bent, fused (welded), twisted, drawn and parted.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • enjoy creating things with your hands
  • able to visualise objects in three dimensions
  • observant and patient
  • enjoy working with delicate materials
  • well-disciplined in the use of safety equipment
  • able to work independently
  • some artistic inclination

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 10 Certificate.

What to Study

There are 3 ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a fixed contract between company and apprentice, ranging in duration from between 18 months and 4 years. At the end of the contract, the apprentice writes a trade test leading to professional certification.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme ranging from about a year to 3 years. A learnership comprises theoretical and practical training. Practical training is conducted on site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets experience whilst training.

3. TVET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (NCV) similar to the new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.

All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a TVET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest TVET College. TVET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MerSETA or ChietaSETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.


  • research institutions such as the CSIR
  • universities
  • Sasol
  • pharmaceutical and chemical industries
  • self-employment, doing freelance work

Getting Started

  • try to get part-time or holiday work with a glass manufacturer
  • speak to scientific glass blowers about this work
  • contact the Department of Labour about learnership possibilities in your area

Related Occupations

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer