Schools for Aspiring Offset Printing Press Operators

Dec 05, 2019

Printing is the third largest sector of the manufacturing industry. Offset printing press technology students learn to print designs, text and illustrations on various products. Certificate and associate's degree programs prepare graduates to become offset printing press operators.

Programs in printing press operation have various names, such as digital printing and flexography, graphic arts and imaging technology, and printing and publishing, among others. Programs can be found at some 2-year colleges throughout the U.S.

Schools with Printing Technology Programs

These colleges offer printing technology programs or training, or graphic design programs with printing courses.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition* (2018-2019)
Fullerton College Fullerton, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,138 in-state; $6,010 out-of-state
Danville Community College Danville, VA 2-year, Public Certificate, Diploma $4,710 in-state; $10,638 out-of-state
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,792 in-district; $2,795 in-state; $8,936 out-of-state
Central Texas College Killeen, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,700 in-district; $3,390 in-state; $7,050 out-of-state
Red Rocks Community College Lakewood, CO 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $4,158 in-state; $15,246 out-of-state
Waukesha County Technical College Pewaukee, WI 2-year, Public Associate's $4,405 in-state; $6,271 out-of-state
Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI 2-year, Public Training $4,565 in-state; $6,578 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing a school where you can study printing technology.

  • Students can choose between certificate programs that teach basic technical skills or associate's degree programs that teach both comprehensive technical skills and business skills.
  • Hands-on experience such as internships, job shadowing programs, group projects, capstone design projects or other features will help graduates compete in the job market.
  • Limited class sizes are more likely to provide students with adequate access to printing equipment and individualized instruction.
  • Review the employment rate of graduates to see which schools have the most graduates hired in their field.

Printing Technology Certificate

Basic skills taught in a certificate program include operation of both sheet- and Web-fed offset presses, bindery and finishing. Students also gain knowledge of environmental and safety regulations, optimum paper choice and ink selection for each project.

Associate's Degree in Printing Technology

Students learn chemical and mechanical safety practices, efficiency practices and customer service. They take advanced technical courses in the software programs commonly used in printing as well as general education classes in communications, English composition and psychology. These programs sometimes offer students a chance to choose a specialization, such as pre-press or finishing.

Aspiring printing press operators can pursue studies in printing technology or other relevant subjects, such as graphic design, at a number of 2-year colleges. Certificate and associate's degree programs are most common, though some schools offer diplomas or customized training options.

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