Engraving Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

An engraver (also called an etcher) works with flat or curved metal, rubber, wood or various other materials by hand or machine for decoration, printing and identification purposes. These range from a short-term certificate in metal engraving to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

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How to Choose an Engraving School

Engravers and etchers work with hard and soft metals or other materials. A number of non-profit and for-profit schools in the U.S. offer training programs for aspiring engravers.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Type of program
  • Student-to-teacher ratio
  • Facilities
  • Accreditation

Type of Program

There are few accredited, standalone engraving programs at schools and colleges; most schools teach engraving skills in conjunction with a specific application like gunsmithing, jewelry or printmaking. Thus, prospective students might need to consider how they intend to use engraving while selecting a relevant program.

Student-To-Teacher Ratio

Individuals may want to seek schools that offer low student-to-teacher ratios in order to receive individualized instruction.

Facilities

Students may also want to seek schools that offer widescreen monitors or projectors so they have magnified viewing of instructor demonstrations. Schools that offer after-hour access to machines and laboratories can aid in additional training.

Accreditation

Accreditation may be a factor in selecting an engraving school, although some professional engravers may teach courses independent of accredited institutions.

Overview of Engraving Programs

Metal Engraving Certificate

Metal engraving certificates can be earned in less than one year. These programs may focus on metals such as gold and silver and precious gems and stones. This program includes coursework such as scroll cutting and design, lettering and calligraphy and engraving applications. Other topics may include:

  • Acid etching
  • Inlay techniques
  • Scene work

Associate of Applied Science in Gunsmithing

There are gunsmithing degree programs that put emphasis on engraving. These programs prepare students for entry-level employment in the firearm and metal industries. Coursework covered may include workplace dynamics, management principles and basic engraving. Other topics may include:

  • Firearms repair
  • Aesthetics
  • Design and implementation techniques

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking

Engraving is found within some BFA programs in printmaking or engraving, though engraving degrees are not as common. These degree programs cover coursework in lithography and etching at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Additional courses may include printing in monotype, silkscreen and woodcut. These programs may include portfolio projects, collaborative public art projects and workshops and lectures by visiting professionals. Processes covered include:

  • Plate and stone lithography
  • Etching
  • Engraving
  • Aquatint
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