Leather Tanning and Finishing Workers


Leather Tanning and Finishing Workers


Leather tanning and finishing workers make leather out of hides and skins by cleaning, tanning, currying, and finishing them. The leather they produce later is used to manufacture shoes, belts, luggage, gloves, saddles, and many other products.

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



No previous experience required for entry-level positions



Mechanical/Manual Dexterity


Personality Traits

Hands On


Leather tanning and finishing workers earn mean annual salaries of about $36,390, plus extra pay for overtime, weekend, and holiday work. Salaries range from minimum wage ($15,080 a year) to about $40,000. The U.S. Department of Labor reports the following mean annual earnings for leather and hide tanning and finishing workers by specialty in May 2018:

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Work Environment

Tanners work indoors and are employed throughout the year. Tannery production processes often are accompanied by unpleasant odors, and many workers must get used to lifting heavy objects such as soaked hides. These workers, and those involved in chemical processes, may wear protective boots and clothing to guard against the acids and other chemicals used. Other leather work, however, is clean a...


Suppliers of leather and leather goods from most developing countries have substantial cost advantage over U.S. producers because they pay much lower wages. U.S. imports of leather and leather goods have increased, leading to tannery closures and movement of tanneries to the developing countries. Employment of leather workers generally is expected to decline through the next decade, primarily b...