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:
Set up and operate digital, letterpress, lithographic, flexographic, gravure, or other printing machines. Includes short-run offset printing presses.
On the job, you would:
Start presses and pull proofs to check for ink coverage and density, alignment, and registration.
Examine job orders to determine quantities to be printed, stock specifications, colors, or special printing instructions.
Adjust ink fountain flow rates.
Engineering and Technology
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
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
use your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down
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 Photoshop
Desktop publishing software
Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker
Document management software
Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Systems Adobe LifeCycle Production Print ES3
high school diploma/GED or certificate after high school usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.