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Summary Report for:
51-5112.00 - 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: 1st Pressman, 2nd Pressman, Flexographic Press Operator, Offset Pressman, Press Leader, Press Operator, Pressman, Printer, Printing Press Operator, Printing Pressman

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Collect and inspect random samples during print runs to identify any necessary adjustments.
  • Examine job orders to determine quantities to be printed, stock specifications, colors, or special printing instructions.
  • Verify that paper and ink meet the specifications for a given job.
  • Start presses and pull proofs to check for ink coverage and density, alignment, and registration.
  • Change press plates, blankets, or cylinders, as required.
  • Obtain or mix inks and fill ink fountains.
  • Feed paper through press cylinders and adjust feed and tension controls.
  • 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.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Flexographic printer — Flexo presses; Flexographic presses
Offset printing presses — Offset presses; Offset printing equipment; Sheet-fed presses; Web presses
Photocopiers — Digital copiers; Photocopying equipment
Platemakers — External drum imagesetters; Flat-bed imagesetters; Printing platemakers; Thermal platemaking equipment
Printing presses — Digital printing presses; Multicolor presses; Sheetfed presses

Technology used in this occupation:

Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign; Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker; Enfocus PitStop Pro; QuarkXPress
Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software; 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
Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Graphics software; Image editing software

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Knowledge

Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

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Skills

Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
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.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
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.
Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

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Abilities

Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
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 there is a problem.
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).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
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.
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.
Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

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Work Activities

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.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
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.

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Work Context

Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
Spend Time Standing — How much does this job require standing?
Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — How important is it to this job that the pace is determined by the speed of equipment or machinery? (This does not refer to keeping busy at all times on this job.)
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?

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Job Zone

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, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

There are 22 recognized apprenticeable specialties associated with this occupation:
Job Printer; Letterer (Professional and Kindred); Proof-Press Operator; Offset-Press Operator I; Offset Press Operator Dial; Platen-Press Operator; Sketch Maker I (Printing and Publishing); Printer-Slotter Operator; Printer, Plastic; Rotogravure-Press Operator; Wallpaper Printer I; Web-Press Operator; Cylinder-Press Operator; Lithograph-Press Operator, Tinware; Lithograph Press Operator; Embossing-Press Operator; Embosser; Steel-Die Printer; Ben-Day Artist; Assistant-Press Operator; Engraving-Press Operator; Engraver, Machine

To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities, please consult the U.S. Department of Labor State Apprenticeship Information external site website.

For general information about apprenticeships, training, and partnerships with business, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship external site website.

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
71   High school diploma or equivalent
22   Some college, no degree
  Less than high school diploma

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Interests

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.
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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Work Styles

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.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
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.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

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Work Values

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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Related Occupations

51-4011.00 Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic Green Occupation
51-4031.00 Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic Green Occupation
51-4032.00 Drilling and Boring Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic   Green Occupation Green
51-4033.00 Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
51-4035.00 Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
51-4041.00 Machinists   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook   Green Occupation
51-5113.00 Print Binding and Finishing Workers
51-7041.00 Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Wood
51-9121.00 Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
51-9196.00 Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages (2012) $16.68 hourly, $34,690 annual
Employment (2012) 178,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 31,400
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Printing Press Operators

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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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.

  • Printing Workers external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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