Etchers and engravers are involved in etching wood, metal, rubber and other materials that are used for decorative or identification purposes. They adjust the size and depth of cuts for engraving by adjusting the height of machine-arm gauges and worktables. This field also includes workers such as pantograph engravers, silk screen etchers and etcher-circuit processors.
To ensure that quality is achieved, they may examine engravings for rough spots, burrs, irregular and incomplete engraving and quality of cut. Before engraving, they compute, calculate and measure the dimensions of patterns, designs and lettering used. This also includes cleaning and polishing engraved areas. Etchers and engravers also engrave and print designs, patterns, trademarks, lettering or etching on curved or flat surfaces of many different types of materials.
They are involved in examining diagrams, sketches, samples, photographs and blueprints to determine how designs should be cut, engraved or etched onto work pieces. Etchers and engravers may also print proofs to view designs and to verify engraving accuracy, reworking as necessary. To cut designs onto surfaces, they may need to sandblast areas of exposed glass using spray guns.
- Most workers in this field have at least a high school diploma.
- Training can be obtained through apprenticeships.
- Knowledge of computers and electronic components will become important as the production process becomes more automated.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that embalmers held approximately 8,920 jobs in May 2009.
- The average annual wage for embalmers in May 2009 was $29,690 according to the BLS.
Work Environment for Etchers and Engravers
Similar to prepress technicians and workers, etchers and engravers typically work in air-conditioned and clean environments. They may be subject to pressure and stress to work tight schedules and meet deadlines.
Education, Training and Licensing
Most etchers and engravers possess a high school diploma. To prepare for work in this field, individuals can obtain apprenticeships with more experienced etchers and engravers. They must have knowledge of production processes, raw materials and quality control in order for work to be completed according to specifications. New advances in technology may also mean that workers in this field learn about computer components used in automating the process. This includes understanding computer processors, circuit boards, chips, hardware and software and electronic equipment as well as computer programming.
Employment Figures, Projections, Outlook and Earnings for Etchers and Engravers
According to research published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), etchers and engravers held approximately 8,920 jobs in May 2009. Most of these jobs were for store retailers and manufacturing. Other jobs were in printing and related support services, coating, engraving, heat treating and allied activities.
BLS records for May 2009 indicate that the average annual wage for etchers and engravers was $29,690. The middle 50% earned between $21,730 and $35,190. While the lowest 10% had a yearly salary of $17,470 or less, the highest 10% earned upwards of $44,300 annually.