Here is a list of frequently asked questions, both from prospective students as well as employers looking to hire our graduates. If your question is not answered here, please contact us.
When do the terms start?
Our courses typically run from August through November and January through May. The exact start and end dates change year to year, but this is generally when our courses take place.
Why doesn’t Portland Jewelry Academy offer shorter or weekend courses?
In order to have sufficient time to teach the difficult content in our courses, we need more hours than the weekends and shorter term classes can provide. Since we’re an institution that focuses on starting careers in the industry, it’s vital not to leave anything out.
How much does it cost to attend Portland Jewelry Academy?
It varies. Each course page includes a course cost breakdown where we tell you the total cost of taking that course. With this we tell you what your paying for (i.e. tools, tuition, materials, etc.) and how much each component costs. Some of these things, like materials (gold, silver, gemstones) have variable prices due to changing market costs. The prices listed on our website are our closest guess for what you’ll be charged. You’ll receive an invoice upon acceptance that has updated costs.
If I already have tools, do I have to buy new ones?
No, we just require that you come with all the tools on our tool list. If you have some or all of them already, please reach out to us and we’ll verify that you have what you need for the course.
Why do I have to buy so many tools for the courses at Portland Jewelry Academy?
These are not only the tools you use to learn, but the ones you will be expected to bring to work with you when you’re hired on as a bench jeweler after graduation. It also takes time to truly master what you learn here, in order to continue improving your work when you leave Portland Jewelry Academy, you’ll need all the tools you had while studying here. We’re in the business of setting people up for successful bench jewelry careers and a major part of that is making sure to have all the right tools.
What is the process of finding a job as a bench jeweler?
Like any job you’ll start with providing a resumé to a potential employer, which will be followed by a personal interview. After that you may be asked to perform a bench test. This is where you generally spend a few hours working at a bench to prove that you can do what you’ve claimed on your resumé.
Can I pay the application fee online?
No, this is your first lesson as a bench jeweler. Once in the industry, you will often find yourself completing transactions via cash and check since the price markups from wholesale aren’t usually enough to economically justify the processing fees from other forms of payment.
Is there financing available?
Unfortunately, due to our small school size we are not compatible with federal and state aid programs. However, there are a variety of independent organizations that offer trade scholarships. Two that we know of are beajeweler.com and Women’s Jewelry Alliance.
I’m from out of town, how do I find housing?
Since we are a small private institution, the best we can offer is some guidance toward resources that students have had success with in the past. We know that craigslist.com, apartments.com, and padmapper.com are great for finding apartments in this city. Additionally, students who don’t plan to stay here long-term have had success making agreements with Airbnb owners and through room rental services.
Is there parking?
No, our building does not have a parking lot. There are many paid lots throughout downtown, but we know that paying for parking everyday can get very expensive. Within our city is a great public transit system and to learn more about it you can visit TriMet.org. Additionally Portland is an incredibly bikeable city! This is a great option if you don’t want to for parking or bus fare everyday.
I need to hire a bench jeweler for my shop, do you have a career board I can post to?
We have an alumni facebook page where we post job listings. Feel free to email us with everything (including any relevant links) and we will be sure to post it to our facebook page that all alumni with a facebook account have access to.
I need some jewelry repairs and/or adjustments, can I come to Portland Jewelry Academy for student work?
No, our students don’t have the time to complete outside work. Our courses are rigorous and keep our students busy building their skills to be able to work on your jewelry once they graduate.