Leather Tanning and Finishing Workers


Employment Prospects


Tanneries employ some leather workers, but employment in this area of work is expected to continue to decline over the next decade. Jobs may be available in other areas of leather production, such as leather clothing, accessories, handbags, luggage, or shoes and boots. These jobs are available in many parts of the United States. Those with experience in tanning or leather production may want to pursue a sales career.

Starting Out

While state employment offices and school career services centers may help job seekers find work in the leather industry, the most common way of obtaining a job is by applying directly to tanneries. Labor unions and apprenticeship committees also help applicants get started in this industry. 

Advancement Prospects

Workers almost always start as laborers in this field. With experience, however, they can move into jobs as machine operators. As their knowledge of leather increases, they may become graders, inspectors or, with further education, buyers or sales representatives. Those who prefer to remain in leather production may wish to become supervisors or even plant managers.

Tips for Entry

Read trade journals such as Leather International (http://www.leathermag.com) to learn more about the field.

Join a school or local group interested in DIY or construction projects. This will allow provide exposure to using machines and tools.

Conduct information interviews with leather tanning and finishing workers and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.