Summary Report for:
51-5111.00 - Prepress Technicians and Workers
Format and proof text and images submitted by designers and clients into finished pages that can be printed. Includes digital and photo typesetting. May produce printing plates.
Sample of reported job titles: Desktop Operator, Electronic Prepress Operator (EPP Operator), Electronic Prepress Technician (EPP Tech), Plate Maker, Plate Mounter, Pre-Press Proofer, Pre-Press Technician, Prepress Operator, Prepress Stripper, Prepress Technician
Tasks | Tools & Technology | 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
- Enter, store, and retrieve information on computer-aided equipment.
- Enter, position, and alter text size, using computers, to make up and arrange pages so that printed materials can be produced.
- Maintain, adjust, and clean equipment, and perform minor repairs.
- Operate and maintain laser plate-making equipment that converts electronic data to plates without the use of film.
- Examine photographic images for obvious imperfections prior to plate making.
- Operate presses to print proofs of plates, monitoring printing quality to ensure that it is adequate.
- Monitor contact between cover glass and masks inside vacuum frames to prevent flaws resulting from overexposure or light reflection.
- Transfer images from master plates to unexposed plates, and immerse plates in developing solutions to develop images.
- Examine unexposed photographic plates to detect flaws or foreign particles prior to printing.
- Lower vacuum frames onto plate-film assemblies, activate vacuums to establish contact between film and plates, and set timers to activate ultraviolet lights that expose plates.
- Examine finished plates to detect flaws, verify conformity with master plates, and measure dot sizes and centers, using light boxes and microscopes.
- Perform close alignment or registration of double and single flats to sensitized plates prior to exposure to produce composite images.
- Remove plate-film assemblies from vacuum frames and place exposed plates in automatic processors to develop images and dry plates.
- Position and angle screens for proper exposure.
- Inspect developed film for specified results and quality, using magnifying glasses and scopes, forwarding acceptable negatives or positives to other workers or to customers.
- Punch holes in light-sensitive plates and insert pins in holes to prepare plates for contact with positive or negative film.
- Unload exposed film from scanners, and place film in automatic processors to develop images.
- Place masking paper on areas of plates not covered by positives or negatives to prevent exposure.
- Mount negatives and plates in cameras, set exposure controls, and expose plates to light through negatives to transfer images onto plates.
- Operate and maintain a variety of cameras and equipment, such as process, line, halftone, and color separation cameras, enlargers, electronic scanners, and contact equipment.
- Perform tests to determine lengths of exposures, by exposing plates, scanning line copy, and comparing exposures to tone range scales.
- Mix solutions such as developing solutions and colored coating solutions.
- Activate scanners to produce positive or negative films for the black-and-white, cyan, yellow, and magenta separations from each original copy.
- Select proper types of plates according to press run lengths.
- Reposition lamps and adjust aperture controls to provide high quality images.
- Analyze originals to evaluate color density, gradation highlights, middle tones, and shadows, using densitometers and knowledge of light and color.
- Set scanners to specific color densities, sizes, screen rulings, and exposure adjustments, using scanner keyboards or computers.
- Perform minor deletions, additions, or corrections to completed plates, on or off printing presses, using tusche, printing ink, erasers, and needles.
- Correct minor film mask defects with litho tape or opaquing fluid.
- Position color transparencies, negatives, or reflection copies on scanning drums, and mount drums and heads on scanners.
- Arrange and mount typeset material and illustrations into paste-ups for printing reproduction, based on artists' or editors' layouts.
- Scale copy for reductions and enlargements, using proportion wheels.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Automated film processor — Automated film processors
- Densitometers — Printing densitometers
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras — Digital still cameras
- Digital image printers — Commercial digital printers
- Electronic media or data duplicating equipment — Compact disk CD duplicators; Digital video disk DVD duplicators
- Flexographic printer — Flexographic plate processors
- Lithographic equipment — Lithographic plate processors
- Photogravure printing machines — Gravure cylinder engravers
- Plotter printers — Commercial digital plotters
- Printing presses — Digital printing presses
- Scanners — Drum scanners; Flat bed scanners
- Stackers — Plate stackers
- Thermal transfer printer for commercial printing applications — Newspaper platesetters; Thermal platesetters
Technology used in this occupation:
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe FrameMaker; Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign; Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker; Esko ArtPro (see all 5 examples)
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe LifeCycle Enterprise Suite; Global Graphics Software Harlequin
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software; Corel Painter; LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast Ai Studio (see all 7 examples)
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Internet protocol IP multimedia subsystem software — File transfer protocol FTP software; ProjectSend *
- Optical character reader OCR or scanning software — Hamrick Software VueScan
- Video creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Director
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- 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.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- 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.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Detailed Work Activities
- Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
- Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
- Select production equipment according to product specifications.
- Mix ingredients to create specific finishes.
- Inspected printed materials or other images to verify quality.
- Monitor equipment operation to ensure that products are not flawed.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Mix substances to create chemical solutions.
- Operate photographic developing or print production equipment.
- Enter commands, instructions, or specifications into equipment.
- Clean production equipment.
- Immerse objects or workpieces in cleaning or coating solutions.
- Drill holes in parts, equipment, or materials.
- Program equipment to perform production tasks.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Operate digital imaging equipment.
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 53% responded “Very important results.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 39% responded “Some freedom.”
- Electronic Mail — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 46% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 38% responded “More than half the time.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 54% responded “Some freedom.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 43% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 48% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 34% responded “Very important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 39% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 57% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|25||High school diploma or equivalent|
Interest code: RC
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$17.89 hourly, $37,200 annual|
|Employment (2012)||43,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Decline (-3% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||10,900|
|Top industries (2012)|
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- Printing Workers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.