What Is a Press Operator?

A career as a press operator requires you to incorporate color theory, pay attention to detail and manage a press. More about this career's job duties and training requirements are ahead. Schools offering Communication & Emerging Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Training and Skills Do I Need?

You are likely to receive on-the-job training and specialize in a specific type of press. Types of printing presses include digital, screen printing, gravure, flexographic, small offset and large sheetfed presses. A press operator often begins by learning to help set up and maintain the press by loading, unloading and cleaning the machine. Some apprenticeships are available, but according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they are becoming less common; postsecondary training programs are more frequently available (www.bls.gov).

A postsecondary program generally leads to a certificate or associate's degree; most take 18-24 months to complete and include an internship or hands-on component. Courses include chemistry, color theory, physics and electronics. Mechanical abilities and mathematical aptitude are also important skills in order to calculate the materials needed for the job.

What Are My Job Duties?

As a press operator, also known as a printing machine operator, you prepare a printing press for a print job, operate and monitor its progress, and maintain the machine so it functions properly. Presses vary greatly; some use traditional methods, such as letterpress or lithography, and some use plateless methods, such as digital or ink-jet printing.

In order to prepare a print press, you install the printing plate, ink the presses, load the appropriate paper, and make adjustments as necessary. While a print job is running, your responsibilities include continuous monitoring to ensure the ink and paper is stocked and the press is functioning as expected. Additionally, any problems that arise must be quickly corrected so as not to waste paper and ink. Once the job is completed, you clean the press and make any necessary repairs.

A press operator can experience significant amounts of physical and mental stress. There are often deadlines to be met; the rooms and machines are often noisy; and the shifts may be varied.

Where Could I Work?

You might find a press operator job in the printing, newspaper, paper manufacturing, advertising or public relations industries. Many jobs in printing and newspapers are located in large metropolitan areas, such as Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC., Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • DeVry University

    DeVry University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at DeVry University:

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Arizona: Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix
    • California: Alhambra, Anaheim, Bakersfield, Colton, Daly City, Elk Grove, Fremont, Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, Oxnard, Palmdale, Pomona, San Diego, San Jose, Sherman Oaks
    • Colorado: Colorado Springs, Greenwood Village, Westminster
    • Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Tampa
    • Georgia: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Decatur, Duluth, Stockbridge
    • Illinois: Addison, Chicago, Downers Grove, Elgin, Gurnee, Naperville, Tinley Park
    • Indiana: Indianapolis, Merrillville
    • Maryland: Bethesda
    • Michigan: Southfield
    • Minnesota: Edina
    • Missouri: Kansas City, Saint Louis
    • North Carolina: Charlotte, Morrisville
    • New Jersey: Cherry Hill, North Brunswick, Paramus
    • Nevada: Henderson
    • New York: New York, Rego Park
    • Ohio: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Seven Hills
    • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
    • Oregon: Portland
    • Pennsylvania: Fort Washington, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
    • Tennessee: Memphis, Nashville
    • Texas: Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Irving, Richardson, San Antonio, Sugar Land
    • Utah: Sandy
    • Virginia: Arlington, Chesapeake, Manassas
    • Washington: Bellevue, Federal Way, Lynnwood
    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • University of Phoenix

    University of Phoenix responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Phoenix:

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • California: Lathrop, Salida, San Diego
    • Colorado: Lone Tree, Westminster
    • Georgia: Atlanta, Sandy Springs
    • Michigan: Detroit, Southfield
  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design

    Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Florida: Winter Park
  • Sanford-Brown

    Sanford-Brown responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Sanford-Brown:

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Florida: Orlando, Tampa
    • Illinois: Chicago
    • Nevada: Henderson
    • Texas: San Antonio
    • Washington: Tukwila
  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster Career School

    Penn Foster Career School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster Career School:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

 More Schools