Career Definition of an Engraving Technician
An engraver uses tools to impress pictures, designs or words onto the surfaces of metal, wood, and other materials. The many uses of engraving include printing, identification, and decoration. People with this specialized know-how often work in the jewelry and printing industries; both jobs are concentrated in large cities. Etchers and engravers will find the most work in areas such as Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, and Boston, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov in 2017.
|Education||Typically obtained via technical school programs or apprenticeship|
|Job Skills||Detail-oriented, dexterous, patient, mechanically and creatively inclined|
|Average Salary (2017)*||$33,860 (etchers and engravers)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||1% (etchers and engravers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Potential jewelry engravers can obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in the engraving arts from some four-year schools, or they can earn a certificate in jewelry making and repair from some community colleges. Most engravers, however, are trained in vocational and technical schools, distance-learning programs, and through apprenticeships. Typical classes include types of engraving and knowledge of materials. The continuing technical nature of printing work makes it particularly desirable for students of print engraving to take courses in chemistry, physics, and electronics, and to get a thorough grounding in color theory.
Printers need good vision, attention to detail, and mechanical, mathematical, software, and communications skills. Engravers working as bench jewelers need manual dexterity, hand-and-eye coordination, and a great deal of patience. Artistic ability and fashion sense are especially prized for jewelers.
Career and Economic Outlook
Of the 37,700 workers classified in 2016 as jewelers and precious stone and metal workers, which could include engravers, about one-third were self-employed, according to the BLS. Job openings for etchers and engravers will grow only 1% from 2016 through 2026, per the BLS. According to the same source, the mean annual salary earned by etchers and engravers was $33,860 in May 2017.
Alternate Career Options
Examples of similar careers in this field include:
Craft and Fine Artist
Craft and fine artists produce aesthetically appealing and practical handmade items, and they usually specialize, such as in painting, pottery, illustration, woodworking or quilting, among many others. They may display or sell their work through galleries or take commissions. For many craft and fine artists, this isn't their only job; it's uncommon for craft and fine artists to earn a living solely through their artwork. While there's no minimum education requirement, craft and fine artists may find that postsecondary schooling can help them develop their artistic skills, especially in specialty areas like medical illustration. The BLS predicts that craft and fine artist jobs will increase 6% from 2016-2026; the agency also reports that this occupation paid a median salary of $49,160 in 2017.
A welder uses special tools and processes to heat pieces of metal so that they're permanently attached. Welders can work in a variety of industries, from construction to transportation, manufacturing, and more. They perform welding tasks in accordance with project specs and the types of materials being joined. Prospective welders can complete a postsecondary technical school program or on-the-job training. Industry certification is available, and some employers may require it. Employment of welders is expected to increase 6% from 2016-2026, per the BLS. Welders earned a median salary of $40,240 in 2017.