Engraver or Etcher



OFO No: 661602





Other names for Engraver / Etcher:

  • Etcher
  • Glass Embosser
  • Glass etcher
  • Hand Engraver
  • Pantographer


Youtube clip – What is Engraving?

For training options in South Africa – scroll down


What is an Engraver or Etcher?

An Engraver or Etcher is a trained individual who is able to put images or lettering onto various items.

The difference between engraving and etching:

  • Engraving: physically removes bits of metal by scraping, cutting or lasering into the metal using tools
  • Etching: uses acids to chemically ‘eat’ away at the metal

Items that are usually engraved:

  • Jewellery, Watches and Clocks
  • Trophies and Plaques
  • Pens, Keyrings and Badges
  • Cutlery
  • Photo frames, mugs and flasks
  • Knives, torches and tools
  • Dog tags etc etc

Items that are usually etched:

  • Glass: windows, door glass, glasses, fruit bowls, decanters etc
  • Copper or Zinc: to create fine-art pieces
  • Wood and Plastics:  can be used for corporate gifts – logos onto wine boxes etc
  • Metal or Stone: laser etching can get very fine detail – etch almost anything onto metal or stone

What does an Engraver or Etcher do?

  • decides which method would fit the design to be put onto item
  • prepares the article: cleans, removes marks, sands and smooths
  • sets up the equipment – makes adjustments etc
  • positions artwork in exactly the right place
  • starts the machines and works slowly
  • examines engraving/etching continually – quality control
  • cleans and polishes
  • looks after equipment:  cleans and services etc

Are you . . . ?

  • accurate?
  • detail orientated?
  • good with your hands?
  • a person with steady hands?
  • a person with good eye sight?
  • mechanically orientated?
  • a good speller?

How do I become an Engraver or Etcher?


  • Apprenticeship
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Mechanical Engineering (Machining) (Tool, Jig an Die Maker) NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Foundry Operations (Metal Tooling) Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Foundry Operations (Machine moulding) NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Foundry Operations (Foundry Melting) NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Design Foundation NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) for Artisans: CLICK HERE
  • If you have already been working a long time as a Engraver or Etcher without qualifications, you may be able to get your qualification through RPL
  • Trade Test


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Boilermaker … or … Jewellery Designer

Is becoming a Engraver or Etcher the right career choice for me?