Etchers and Engravers

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About the Job

Engrave or etch metal, wood, rubber, or other materials. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers, and silk screen etchers.

It is also Called

  • Zinc Plate Cutter
  • Wood Engraver
  • Wood Block Artist
  • Wet Process Technician
  • Wax Engraver
  • Textile Engraver
  • Stone Engraver
  • Steel Engraver
  • Steel Die Engraver
  • Soft Metals Hand Engraver
View All

What They Do

  • Select and insert required templates into pattern frames beneath the stylus of a machine cutting tool or router.
  • Brush or wipe acid over engraving to darken or highlight inscriptions.
  • Carve designs and letters onto metal for transfer to other surfaces.
  • Fill etched characters with opaque paste to improve readability.
  • Sketch, trace, or scribe layout lines and designs on workpieces, plates, dies, or rollers, using compasses, scribers, gravers, or pencils.
  • Sandblast exposed areas of glass to cut designs in surfaces, using spray guns.
  • Insert cutting tools or bits into machines and secure them with wrenches.
  • Remove completed workpieces and place them in trays.
  • Determine machine settings, and move bars or levers to reproduce designs on rollers or plates.
  • Start machines and lower cutting tools to beginning points on patterns.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: RC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Relationships and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Preparation Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.


In 2016, the average annual wage in California was $37,950 with most people making between $22,780 and $58,120


avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 1,100 people in California. It is projected that there will be 1,200 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 10 openings due to growth and about 10 replacement openings for approximately 20 total annual openings.