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Printing Press Operators

Set up and operate digital, letterpress, lithographic, flexographic, gravure, or other printing machines. Includes short-run offset printing presses.   (O'Net 51-5112.00)

Reported job titles:   1st Pressman, 1st Pressman On Web Press, 2nd Pressman, 3rd Pressman, Aniline Press Worker, Assistant Offset Press Operator, Assistant Pressman, Back Up Machine Operator, Backer, Bag Press Operator, Bag Printer, Balloon Design Printer, Batteryman, Ben-Day Artist, Binding Printer, Block Printer, Box Press Operator, Box Printer, Braille Transcriber, Bronzer, Calico Printer, Carton Stamper, Cellophane Press Operator, Cloth Printer, Cloth Printing Back Tender, Collating Machine Operator, Collator, Collator Operator, Computer Typesetter-Keyliner, Copper Plate Printer, Coverer, Cut and Print Machine Operator, Cut Pressman, Cut-Press Operator, Cutting and Printing Machine Operator, Cylinder Press Operator, Cylinder Press Operator Apprentice, Decorating Equipment Setter, Decorating Machine Operator, Design Printing Machine Set-Up Operator, Design Printing Machine Setter, Devil Dog, Die Mounter, Die Stamping Press Operator, Digital Color Press Operator, Digital Press Operator, Digital Print Operator, Digital Printer Operator, Digital Production Operator, Duplex Trimmer, Electrotype Caster, Electrotype Finisher, Electrotype Molder, Electrotyper, Electrotyper Apprentice, Embosser, Embosser Apprentice, Embossing Machine Operator, Embossing Press Operator, Embossing Press Operator Apprentice, Embossograph Operator, Engraver Set-Up Operator, Engraving Press Operator, Engrosser, Feeder, Flexo Press Operator, Flexographic Press Operator, Flexographic Press Set-Up Operator, Flexographic Printing Press Operator, Floor Covering Printer, Folding Rules Printing Machine Operator, Form Designer, Forwarder, Galley Worker, Gilder, Glove Printer, Gold Blower, Gold Layer, Gold Leaf Printer, Gravure Press Operator, Gravure Press Set-Up Operator, Head Bander and Liner Operator, Identification Printing Machine Setter, Info Print Press Operator, Ink Printer, Instant Print Operator, Job Hand, Job Press Operator, Job Printer, Job Printer Apprentice, Journeyman Press Operator, Journeyman Pressman, Kelly Machine Operator, Label Printer, Large Sheetfed Press Operator, Laser Printing Operator, Lead Press Operator, Lead Pressman, Lead Pressman-Roto Gravure Printing, Letterer, Letterpress Setter, Letterset Press Set-Up Operator, Line-Up Examiner, Lithoduplicator Operator, Lithograph Press Feeder, Lithograph Press Operator, Lithograph Printer, Lithographic Press Operator, Lithographic Proofer Apprentice, Lithographing Machine Operator, Lithoplate Maker, Machine Carton Marker, Machine Engraver, Machine Printer, Machine Sign Writer, Machine Silk Screen Printer, Mandrel Press Hand, Manufacturing Assistant, Manufacturing Associate, Manufacturing Operator, Marbler, Marker, Marking Machine Operator, Master Printer, Metal or Wood Blocker, Microfiche Duplicator, Mounter, Music Copyist, Music Grapher, Name Plate Stamper, Nipping Machine Operator, Offset Duplicating Machine Operator, Offset Duplicating Machine Set Up Operator, Offset Lithographic Press Operator, Offset Lithographic Press Setter, Offset Lithographic Press Setter and Set-Up Operator, Offset Machine Operator, Offset Press Operator, Offset Pressman, Offset Printer, Offset Printing Operator, Offset Printing Pressmen, Offset-Press Operator, Offset-Press Operator Apprentice, Pantograph Setter, Paper Products Printer, Photo Offset Printer, Photoengraving Sketch Maker, Photographic Process Screen Maker, Pin Ticket Machine Operator, Plastic Printer, Plate Printer, Plate Sensitizer, Plate Setter, Platen Press Feeder, Platen Press Operator, Platen Press Operator Apprentice, Precision Printing Worker, Prepress Proofer, Press Assistant, Press Feeder, Press Helper, Press Leader, Press Operater, Press Operator, Press Operator Apprentice, Press Operator Assistant, Press Operator Helper, Press Operator Printing, Press Technician, Pressfitter, Pressman, Pressroom Foreman, Print Line Operator, Printer, Printer Apprentice, Printer Assistant, Printer Slotter Operator, Printer's Devil, Printing Machine Operator, Printing Offset Duplicating Machine Operator, Printing Plate Setter, Printing Press Machine Operator, Printing Press Operator, Printing Press Operator Apprentice, Printing Pressman, Proof Press Operator, Proofer, Ratoprinter, Roller Operator, Roller Print Tender, Rolling Machine Operator, Rotary Lithographic Press Operator, Rotary Screen Printing Machine Operator, Roto Gravure Press Operator, Rotogravure Press Operator, Rotoprinter, Rounder, Rounder Hand, Rounding Machine Operator, Rubber Printing Machine Operator, Screen Making Technician, Screen Print Operator, Screen Printer, Screen Printing Equipment Setter, Screen Printing Machine Operator, Screen Printing Machine Operator Helper, Screen Printing Press Operator, Semiconductor Package Symbol Stamper, Sheetfed Press Operator, Silk Printer, Silk Screen Operator, Silk Screen Printer, Silk Screen Printer Helper, Silk Screen Processor, Silk Screener, Six Color Press Operator, Sketch Maker, Specialty Materials Printing Machine Setter/Set-Up Operator, Stamper, Stamping Press Operator, Steam Table Worker, Steel Die Press Set Up Operator, Steel Die Printer, Steel Plate Printer, Stencil Machine Operator, Stencil Printer, Stereotype Caster, Stereotype Finisher, Stereotype Molder, Stereotyper, Stippler, Strickler Attendant, Strike Off Machine Operator, Strip Machine Operator, Striping Machine Operator, Tab Card Press Operator, Tab Cutting Machine Operator, Tag Press Operator, Tape Rules Printing Machine Operator, Tension Worker, Textile Screen Maker, Textile Screen Printer, Ticket Printer, Ticketer, Tinning Machine Set Up Operator, Tinware Lithograph Press Operator, Tip Printer, Top Printing Press Operator, Transfer Machine Operator, Type Caster, Type Copyist, Typesetter, Vigoureux Printer, Wad Printing Machine Operator, Wallpaper Printer, Web Feeder, Web Offset Press Feeder, Web Press Operator, Web Press Operator Apprentice, Web Press Roll Tender, Web Pressman, Webfed Offset Press Operator
  • Career Video
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  • Tasks
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  • Abilities
  • Work Activities
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  • Work Styles
  • License Information
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    Career Video
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    for Printing Press Operators
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     Location Pay
    Percentile Wages Average
    10% 25% 50%
    75% 90%
     Vermont Hourly $ 12.59   $ 15.98   $ 18.49   $ 22.27   $ 24.78   $ 18.84  
    Yearly $26,190   $33,250   $38,470   $46,330   $51,540   $39,190  
     Burlington-South Burlington, VT Metropolitan NECTA Hourly $ 12.94   $ 16.53   $ 20.29   $ 23.77   $ 27.92   $ 20.12  
    Yearly $26,910   $34,370   $42,190   $49,450   $58,080   $41,840  
     Southern Vermont Balance of State Hourly $ 13.23   $ 16.11   $ 18.74   $ 21.73   $ 23.62   $ 18.43  
    Yearly $27,510   $33,520   $38,980   $45,200   $49,130   $38,340  
     Northern Vermont Balance of State Hourly $ 11.77   $ 15.48   $ 17.25   $ 18.96   $ 23.47   $ 17.49  
    Yearly $24,470   $32,190   $35,890   $39,450   $48,810   $36,390  
    What are Percentile Wages?
    source: Occupational Employment Statistics, Vermont Labor Market Information, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, released April 2018.

    Employment Trends
    for Printing Press Operators
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    Location Employment Annual % change
    Annual job openings
    (due to change and
    2016 2026
    Vermont 332 322 -0.3% 33
    source: Employment Projections, Vermont Economic & Labor Market Information, in cooperation with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, statewide estimates released July 2018.

    Industries of Employment
    for Printing Press Operators
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    Industry Percent of Total
    Printing and related support activities 55.7%
    Paper manufacturing 7.0%
    Publishing industries (except Internet) 6.7%
    Self-employed workers, all industries 5.1%
    Advertising, public relations, and related services 4.3%
    source: Employment Projections, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Employment Matrix, released July 2018.

    for Printing Press Operators
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  • 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.
    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators  updated July 2012

    for Printing Press Operators
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  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • 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.
    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators  updated July 2012

    for Printing Press Operators
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  • 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.
    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators  updated July 2012

    for Printing Press Operators
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  • 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.
    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators  updated July 2012

    Work Activities
    for Printing Press Operators
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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.
  • 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.
    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators  updated July 2012

    for Printing Press Operators
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  • 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.
    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators  updated July 2013

    Work Styles
    for Printing Press Operators
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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.
  • 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.
    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators  updated July 2012

    State of Vermont License Information
    that may be required for Printing Press Operators
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    No state licenses listed for this occupation.

    Education and Training Requirements
    for Printing Press Operators
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators  updated July 2012

    offering instructional programs related to Printing Press Operators
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      Related Instructional Programs
    • Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production.
    • Graphic Communications, Other.
    • Printing Management.
    • Printing Press Operator.
     Search for schools offering these programs at
    source: National Center for Education Statistics 2000 Classification of Instructional Programs .

    Other Resources
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  • Labor Exchange Information
  • A source for occupational characteristics, such as age, gender, race, and years of education and an alternative source for occupational wage rates. Limited to people looking for jobs and the jobs advertised through VDOL Vermont Job Link.
  • Look for statewide information over the latest 12 months for Printing Press Operators.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a nationally recognized source of career information, designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives. Revised every two years, the Handbook describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
    Go to Occupational Outlook Handbook
    Handbook occupations related to Printing Press Operators :
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    Related Occupations
    Occupations with skill requirements similar to Printing Press Operators
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  • Cutting and Slicing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
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    source: Occupational Information Network: Printing Press Operators 

 State of Vermont Department of Labor