Associate's and bachelor's programs in printing management cover the basic terminology of printing as well as graphic design principles. Students become proficient in various computer graphics programs and gain an understanding of color matching, file conversion and digital image manipulation. At the bachelor's degree level, students also may take business management courses.
For both associate and bachelor degree programs, applicants need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students in an associate degree program can expect to complete the program in about 2 years, while those pursuing a bachelor's degree should expect to spend about 4 years in the program.
Associate Degree in Printing Management
Students in an associate degree programs learn about typesetting, color correction and different computer programs like the Adobe suite or Corel. Additionally, students learn techniques like the margin of error, called a bleed, which print shops build into each product. Macromedia Director and Flash are programs commonly used by students in the field. These are mainly used to teach students how to publish for the Internet. Compared with traditional media, the Internet has fewer useable colors, so students learn about the difference between HTML colors and Pantone colors as well as digital image manipulation.
Commonly, these programs cover the following subjects:
- Bindery and finishing
- Business management
- Cost estimation
- Desktop publishing
- Production management
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Bachelor's Degree in Printing and Digital Graphic Imaging Technology
Students in a bachelor's degree programs learn layout correction, image re-sizing and how to properly match colors. Color matching is done by utilizing the Pantone Matching System (PMS), a physical library of color swatches with corresponding numbers that match up with desired final colors. Students take classes to familiarize themselves with the history of printing techniques, cost estimation and production management. Many printing and imaging technology programs also offer courses in business management. In addition, students learn how to use a host of computer programs so graduates can work in Photoshop, InDesign and Corel with ease and reformat customer files to the needed specifications.
Material covered in these types of programs can include:
- Color management
- Digital images
- Electronic publishing & technical writing
- Health and safety standards
- Offset press
- Printing supervision
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 168,330 printing press operators employed across various fields as of May 2015. Entry-level workers also found employment as:
- Digital production manager
- Graphic imaging accountant
- Marketing associate
- Printing technology salesperson
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Unfortunately, job growth in this career field isn't expected to be favorable, according to BLS data. Prepress technicians were forecast to undergo a steep 25% downturn in employment opportunities from 2014 to 2024. These professionals took home a mean annual wage of $40,060 as of May 2015. Desktop publishers were anticipated to endure a 21% loss in job opportunities from 2014 to 2024. As of May 2015, desktop publishers collected a mean annual wage of $43,900.
Graduate programs in related fields are available for those interested in printing, publishing, graphic design and art. At the graduate level, programs specific to printing are focused on digital and print media as well as publication management. These programs prepare students for careers in product packaging, podcasting, mobile platforms and e-book publishing.
Programs in printing management at the associate's and bachelor's levels can prepare graduates for many types of careers involving printing such as digital production manager or printing technology salesperson.