Should I Become a Printing Pressman?
Printing pressmen, also known as printing press operators, oversee the printing press process, which includes preparing, maintaining and operating printing machinery. They may work with offset printing equipment or use plateless methods, such as digital or ink-jet printing. Printing pressmen need physical stamina to lift and carry materials; they may also spend most of their shift on their feet, operating machinery. Evening and weekend work may sometimes be required.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Degree Field||Postsecondary options include graphic communications, graphic design or a related field|
|Experience||No experience is required for entry-level positions|
|Key Skills||Mathematics, communication and mechanical skills; keen attention to detail; computer skills; ability with a variety of printing equipment|
|Additional Requirements||Physical strength, ability to tolerate noisy working environments|
|Salary (2014)||$35,100 (median yearly salary)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine.
Step 1: Get a High School Diploma
No strict guidelines exist for entering this career; however, the minimum educational requirement is typically a high school diploma. On-the-job training is common in the field.
Step 2: Consider Postsecondary Education
Some aspiring printing pressmen choose to receive training through postsecondary institutions. Some community colleges and technical schools offer associate's degree programs in graphics communications and related fields. These programs usually take two years to complete and prepare students for entry-level positions in print machine operation. Curricula focus on various aspects of the printing process through courses in press technology, production management, publication design, product finishing, printing techniques and typography.
- Pursue internship opportunities. Some postsecondary programs offer work experience or internship programs, which can be valuable to aspiring printing press operators. Internships allow students to learn how to use the common printing presses and equipment in a real-world setting. Job applicants with hands-on experience on their resumes may be more attractive prospects to employers in the printing field.
- Take computer courses. Printing pressmen use a number of computer programs in their work, including word processing programs, graphic imaging software, desktop publishing software and print management system software. With the movement of printing technology towards digital methods, it is essential for aspiring printing press operators to possess familiarity and confidence with the most commonly used software programs. Coursework focused on sharpening skills in software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop may be available to students.
Step 3: Find an Entry-Level Position
After securing employment, entry-level printing press operators go on to receive necessary on-the-job training in which they fulfill basic tasks, such as loading and unloading paper and cleaning printing presses. As they gain experience and become familiar with the printing process, press operators are allowed to operate machinery.
Step 4: Gain Experience to Advance Career
While printing press operators may begin by working with only one type of machinery, they may go on to operate a variety of presses as their careers continue. Additionally, printing press operators may have to take further training during their careers to keep up with advances in printing technology.