Pre-press operator Pre-press technician
Pre-press operators carry out a range of tasks in the printing industry, like getting artwork from a client and supplying the printing plates used on a press.
1. Entry requirements
You'll need A levels, or GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English and maths. A qualification in a subject like graphic design, graphic communication or art and design could help you get into this career.
You'll need colour-normal vision.
You'll need a collection of your work (a portfolio) to show employers.
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.
2. Skills required
- creativity and an eye for detail
- the ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure
- IT skills to use desktop publishing and graphics software
3. What you'll do
Your day-to-day tasks could include:
- using desktop publishing software and graphics software to create artwork
- scanning and retouching images
- checking a whole document for accuracy (proofreading)
- preparing artwork for transfer to film
- transferring the final image from film onto printing plates, using an imagesetter (known as platemaking)
Starter: £16,000 to £20,000
Experienced: £22,000 to £25,000
Highly Experienced: Up to £30,000
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environment
You'll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, possibly in shifts, including nights.
You may work at a printing firm or in a specialised pre-press or design company.
If you work for a printer, you may have to wear protective clothing when handling inks or cleaning and maintaining machinery.
6. Career path and progression
With training and experience, you could become a pre-press manager or move into print administration jobs like estimator or production controller.
Most employers in the pre-press industry will offer training, either through NVQs at a local college or short courses offered by the British Printing Industries Federation.
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Last updated: 18 August 2017