Bindery Machine Operator: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a bindery machine operator who maintains the equipment that produces printed materials. See the step-by-step process to get started and advance in this career.

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Should I Become a Bindery Machine Operator?

Bindery machine operators are expected to perform routine maintenance checks on equipment. They should also be familiar with safe cleaning procedures performed before and after production. Knowledge of repair techniques is essential.

Bindery operators need a sharp eye for quality control. The bindery machine operator should be able to spot problems quickly, stop production, reset the equipment and resume production as swiftly as possible. Time management is also vital since operators manage multiple projects simultaneously and schedule equipment usage and maintenance.

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Career Requirements

Education Required High school diploma or GED
Training Required On-the-job training provided by employer
Key Skills Maintenance and repair skills, time management, problem solving
Salary (2014) $31,420 per year (Mean salary)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Get On-the-Job Training

The majority of bindery machine operators learn their trade working from the bottom up. While still in high school, a prospective bindery machine operator may find entry-level positions that offer training in the use of small-scale production equipment. Print and copy center businesses utilize bindery machines and some offer on-site training programs for new employees that include equipment maintenance techniques as well as function procedures.

Step 2: Consider College Courses

Community colleges and vocational schools offer graphics courses and trade specific classes for aspiring bindery machine operators. The Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications, Inc. is a reliable place to begin searching for reputable programs.

Step 3: Get a Job

Most bindery machine operators work in larger print or publishing houses. Most work is done by machine and a bindery operator must be able to work with stamping, stitching, trimming, pressing and binding machines. The majority of larger facilities are moving towards computer driven equipment and the bindery machine operator should be comfortable working with emerging technologies.

The few bindery machine operators working in smaller publishing houses may be required to perform non-mechanized skills such as repair work and hand stitching techniques. Smaller houses also produce specialty design products for limited editions and other unique projects, bringing graphics skills into play.

Success Tip:

Some colleges offer both associate's and bachelor's degrees to prepare the student for a broader range of opportunities such as management positions. Most of these programs focus more attention on graphic arts rather than bindery machine operation.

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