Printing Press Operator

Save your shop time and money by inspecting your printers.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$20,000 – $54,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Printing Press Operators do?

A Printing Press Operator makes sure each print job in the shop is done properly. This is more than a point of pride. Printing machines can print an incredible amount of material in a very short period of time. As a Printing Press Operator, if you don’t catch and correct an error early, it could mean the entire print job must be redone, at the expense of the print shop.

If you work as a Printing Press Operator for a large print shop, you may have an assistant to help you with the job. If you work for a smaller shop, you likely tackle each task under your own steam.

You’re given a set of printing plates, which you load onto your press. You also load the ink and paper, then do a test run of a few copies. You look over those copies carefully, making sure that the ink isn’t too faint or too dark and that the images are straight. If necessary, you make adjustments.

As the press run continues, you monitor the ink and paper levels. You may be working with a press that alerts you when levels are low, or you may have an older system that provides no alerts at all.

You return home at night awash in color. Running a large press is a messy job, and you’re likely to get stained in the process. You may also become a stickler for all print jobs (even those that aren’t yours), unable to look at a newspaper or magazine without observing the print job closely.

Should I be a Printing Press Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • Also known as: Cutting-and-Creasing-Press Operator, Engraving Press Operator, Flexographic Printing Press Operator See More

    How to become a Printing Press Operator

    Printing Press Operators generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Printing Press Operator-related education!
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