Become a Printing Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Should I Become a Printing Manager?

Printing managers oversee the staff and daily operations of printing plants. Printing managers don't always work a typical 9-5 weekday schedule limited to 40 hours per week; evening and weekend shifts are required, and additional on-call work is also possible. Job duties involve coordinating activities with others, such as sales departments or vendors.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience for some employers
Degree Field(s) Business administration, industrial engineering
Experience 2-7 years of experience
Certification Voluntary
Key Skills Leadership skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, time-management skills, Microsoft Office Suite, Web press or printing, production experience
Salary (2014) $92,470 per year (Median salary for all industrial production managers)

Sources: job postings (January 2013), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

While there are no strict educational requirements for entering this career, many printing managers have bachelor's degrees in business administration or industrial engineering fields. Some colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in industrial management or printing management. Such programs prepare students for the supervisory and technical facets of print plant management. Courses include production operations and strategies, quality control, cost analysis, inventory, manufacturing processes, and project management.

Step 2: Get On-the-Job Training

While an undergraduate degree is good preparation for this career, recent graduates are unfamiliar with each particular printing plant's standards and processes. Plants provide new or prospective printing managers with company-sponsored training programs. These programs introduce trainees to the procedures specific to the company, including the plant's production processes, policies, departmental structure, and management methods.

Any training offered in printing-management-related tasks offered through an employer provides skills for advancement in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advancing to management requires starting with a first-line supervisory position and a degree and moving up after gaining training and experience. This allows them to gain the leadership experience essential for overseeing an entire printing plant.

Step 3: Earn Professional Certification

Printing managers demonstrate supervisory skills and increase employment opportunities by earning professional certification. The Association for Operations Management awards the Certified in Production and Inventory Management designation to knowledgeable manufacturing professionals. The certification process entails passing a set of exams focused on five topics, including resource management, scheduling, and operations control. Certification must be maintained by fulfilling continuing education requirements every five years.

Step 4: Consider a Graduate Degree for Advancement

Today's employers may prefer applicants with graduate degrees in industrial management or business administration. This is particularly true for positions at larger plants that have more complex manufacturing processes and require higher levels of management.

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