Etchers and Engravers
51-9194.00

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

Sample of reported job titles: Acid Etch Operator, Award Machine Operator, Chemical Engraver, Electronic Engraver, Engraver, Etcher, Laser Engraver, Photo Engraver, Screen Making Technician, Wet Process Technician

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Inspect etched work for depth of etching, uniformity, and defects, using calibrated microscopes, gauges, fingers, or magnifying lenses.
  • Examine sketches, diagrams, samples, blueprints, or photographs to decide how designs are to be etched, cut, or engraved onto workpieces.
  • Clean and polish engraved areas.
  • Prepare workpieces for etching or engraving by cutting, sanding, cleaning, polishing, or treating them with wax, acid resist, lime, etching powder, or light-sensitive enamel.
  • Engrave and print patterns, designs, etchings, trademarks, or lettering onto flat or curved surfaces of a wide variety of metal, glass, plastic, or paper items, using hand tools or hand-held power tools.
  • Prepare etching chemicals according to formulas, diluting acid with water to obtain solutions of specified concentration.
  • Use computer software to design patterns for engraving.
  • Expose workpieces to acid to develop etch patterns such as designs, lettering, or figures.
  • Adjust depths and sizes of cuts by adjusting heights of worktables, or by adjusting machine-arm gauges.
  • Cut outlines of impressions with gravers, and remove excess material with knives.
  • Measure and compute dimensions of lettering, designs, or patterns to be engraved.
  • Neutralize workpieces to remove acid, wax, or enamel, using water, solvents, brushes, or specialized machines.
  • Examine engraving for quality of cut, burrs, rough spots, and irregular or incomplete engraving.
  • Transfer image to workpiece, using contact printer, pantograph stylus, silkscreen printing device, or stamp pad.
  • Set reduction scales to attain specified sizes of reproduction on workpieces, and set pantograph controls for required heights, depths, and widths of cuts.
  • Print proofs or examine designs to verify accuracy of engraving, and rework engraving as required.
  • Position and clamp workpieces, plates, or rollers in holding fixtures.
  • Remove wax or tape from etched glassware by using a stylus or knife, or by immersing ware in hot water.
  • Guide stylus over template, causing cutting tool to duplicate design or letters on workpiece.
  • Start machines and lower cutting tools to beginning points on patterns.
  • Determine machine settings, and move bars or levers to reproduce designs on rollers or plates.
  • Remove completed workpieces and place them in trays.
  • Insert cutting tools or bits into machines and secure them with wrenches.
  • Sandblast exposed areas of glass to cut designs in surfaces, using spray guns.
  • Sketch, trace, or scribe layout lines and designs on workpieces, plates, dies, or rollers, using compasses, scribers, gravers, or pencils.
  • Fill etched characters with opaque paste to improve readability.
  • Brush or wipe acid over engraving to darken or highlight inscriptions.
  • Select and insert required templates into pattern frames beneath the stylus of a machine cutting tool or router.
  • Observe actions of cutting tools through microscopes and adjust stylus movement to ensure accurate reproduction.
  • Carve designs and letters onto metal for transfer to other surfaces.

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Technology Skills

  • Computer aided design CAD and computer aided manufacturing CAM system — Computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing CAD/CAM engraving software
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — Delcam ArtCAM Express; Gravograph GravoStyle; Western Engravers Supply Vision EXPERT
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator Hot technology
  • Operating system software — Microsoft Windows Hot technology
Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 96% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 59% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 51% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 51% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Telephone — 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 43% responded “Occasional contact with others.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 31% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 37% responded “Very important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 30% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Electronic Mail — 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 41% responded “40 hours.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 37% responded “Every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 59% responded “Serious.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 22% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 40% responded “Less than half the time.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Knowledge

  • 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.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 54%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 33%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required
  • 13%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

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Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$17.59 hourly, $36,590 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
9,900 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Slower than average (1% to 5%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
1,300
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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