The print in magazines, newspapers, on packaging, and even fabric, is the work of skilled prepress technicians and print press operators plying their age-old trade of offset printing with very current technology. Prepress technicians make the final check to ensure text and images are perfect on their way to the printed page. They manipulate text and pictures to prepare pages and use great precision with laser plate-making equipment for printing. With a strong eye for detail, they check text and images for accuracy and correct color to ensure plates are faultless before printing. According to the specifics of job orders, printing press operators set up and operate printing machines, including digital, lithographic, flexographic, and gravure equipment. They collect random samples during a print run to make adjustments and prevent misprints. They change press plates or cylinders when needed. Good eyesight and a strong sense of color are helpful in these fields. The work is very detail-oriented, and deadline pressures can make it stressful. Employers typically look for technical training or an associate’s degrees in desktop publishing, graphic arts, or printing production. Jobs as a printing press operator may require only a high school diploma or equivalent. Technology is still reshaping prepress and press operations, and a key to success is adaptability, along with updating skills on an ongoing basis.
What they do:
Format and proof text and images submitted by designers and clients into finished pages that can be printed. Includes digital and photo typesetting. May produce printing plates.
On the job, you would:
Generate prepress proofs in digital or other format to approximate the appearance of the final printed piece.
Proofread and perform quality control of text and images.
Enter, position, and alter text size, using computers, to make up and arrange pages so that printed materials can be produced.
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
notice when problems happen
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
Desktop publishing software
Adobe Systems Adobe FrameMaker
Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
Document management software
Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Systems Adobe LifeCycle Enterprise Suite
high school diploma/GED or associate's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.