Printing Press Operators
Set up and operate digital, letterpress, lithographic, flexographic, gravure, or other printing machines. Includes short-run offset printing presses.
Sample of reported job titles: Digital Press Operator, Flexographic Press Operator, Offset Press Operator, Offset Pressman, Press Operator, Pressman, Printer, Printing Press Operator, Printing Pressman, Web Press Operator
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Start presses and pull proofs to check for ink coverage and density, alignment, and registration.
- Examine job orders to determine quantities to be printed, stock specifications, colors, or special printing instructions.
- Adjust ink fountain flow rates.
- Verify that paper and ink meet the specifications for a given job.
- Collect and inspect random samples during print runs to identify any necessary adjustments.
- Feed paper through press cylinders and adjust feed and tension controls.
- Monitor automated press operation systems and respond to fault, error, or alert messages.
- Load presses with paper and make necessary adjustments, according to paper size.
- Secure printing plates to printing units and adjust tolerances.
- Clean ink fountains, plates, or printing unit cylinders when press runs are completed.
- Change press plates, blankets, or cylinders, as required.
- Obtain or mix inks and fill ink fountains.
- Input production job settings into workstation terminals that control automated printing systems.
- Clean or oil presses or make minor repairs, using hand tools.
- Maintain time or production records.
- Monitor inventory levels on a regular basis, ordering or requesting additional supplies, as necessary.
- Monitor environmental factors, such as humidity and temperature, that may impact equipment performance and make necessary adjustments.
- Download or scan files to be printed, using printing production software.
- Adjust digital files to alter print elements, such as fonts, graphics, or color separations.
- Direct or monitor work of press crews.
- Download completed jobs to archive media so that questions can be answered or jobs replicated.
- Control workflow scheduling or job tracking, using computer database software.
- Set up or operate auxiliary equipment, such as cutting, folding, plate-making, drilling, or laminating machines.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
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- Calendar and scheduling software — Job scheduling software
- Data base user interface and query software — Printers Software Inc. Presidio; Printing management system software
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign ; Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker; Enfocus PitStop Pro; QuarkXPress
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat ; Adobe Systems Adobe LifeCycle Production Print ES3; Xerox FreeFlow Print Server
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Electronics for Imaging EFI Monarch; Electronics for Imaging EFI Pace
- Financial analysis software — Xerox ProfitQuick
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Graphics software; Image editing software
- Industrial control software — AABACH Graphic Systems DIGRA
- Inventory management software — Inventory tracking software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Project management software — Job tracking software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
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- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
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- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Inspected printed materials or other images to verify quality.
- Operate photographic developing or print production equipment.
- Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
- Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of production materials or products.
- Collect samples of materials or products for testing.
- Evaluate quality of materials or products.
- Load materials into production equipment.
- Feed materials or products into or through equipment.
- Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Download data.
- Clean production equipment.
- Install mechanical components in production equipment.
- Mix ingredients to create specific finishes.
- Enter commands, instructions, or specifications into equipment.
- Program equipment to perform production tasks.
- Lubricate production equipment.
- Direct operational or production activities.
- Record operational or production data.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Monitor environmental impacts of production or development activities.
- Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
- Operate cutting equipment.
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- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 81% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 81% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 55% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 63% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Contact With Others — 43% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 49% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 40% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 52% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 49% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 59% responded “40 hours.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 35% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 39% responded “Very important results.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 45% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 29% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 30% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Consequence of Error — 37% responded “Fairly serious.”
- Deal With External Customers — 34% responded “Extremely important.”
- Physical Proximity — 39% responded “I work with others but not closely (e.g., private office).”
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|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|73||High school diploma or equivalent
|6||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: RC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$18.21 hourly, $37,880 annual|
|Employment (2020)||160,900 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||14,700|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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