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Prepress Technician

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Life As a Prepress Technician

Prepress Technician Definition 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.

Life As a Prepress Technician: What Do They Do?

  • Examine unexposed photographic plates to detect flaws or foreign particles prior to printing.
  • Proofread and perform quality control of text and images.
  • Select proper types of plates according to press run lengths.
  • Generate prepress proofs in digital or other format to approximate the appearance of the final printed piece.
  • Scale copy for reductions and enlargements, using proportion wheels.
  • Operate presses to print proofs of plates, monitoring printing quality to ensure that it is adequate.

Things a Prepress Technician Should Know How to Do

When polled, Prepress Technicians say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

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.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Other Prepress Technician Job Titles

  • Photographic Lithographer
  • Make Up Arranger
  • Line Camera Operator
  • Lithographic Plate Maker
  • Stereotyper Apprentice

Job Opportunities for Prepress Technicians

There were about 34,600 jobs for Prepress Technician in 2016 (in the United States). There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Prepress Technician. The BLS estimates 3,000 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Prepress Technician are Idaho, Maryland, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Kentucky, Kansas, or North Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Prepress Technician Make?

Prepress Technicians make between $24,940 and $62,420 a year.


Prepress Technicians who work in District of Columbia, New Jersey, or Delaware, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Prepress Technicians in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $33,710
Arizona $39,910
Arkansas $35,880
California $42,670
Colorado $41,840
Connecticut $44,620
Delaware $51,020
District of Columbia $84,120
Florida $38,320
Georgia $40,320
Hawaii $37,310
Idaho $39,150
Illinois $48,110
Indiana $38,280
Iowa $35,930
Kansas $33,300
Kentucky $40,950
Louisiana $33,470
Maine $38,550
Maryland $44,840
Massachusetts $45,110
Michigan $41,320
Minnesota $48,000
Mississippi $35,990
Missouri $39,380
Montana $37,870
Nebraska $43,250
Nevada $45,000
New Hampshire $41,430
New Jersey $53,580
New Mexico $42,760
New York $45,860
North Carolina $40,830
North Dakota $36,840
Ohio $40,800
Oklahoma $36,590
Oregon $44,520
Pennsylvania $42,180
Rhode Island $40,810
South Carolina $38,940
South Dakota $33,930
Tennessee $37,480
Texas $38,980
Utah $38,050
Vermont $45,160
Virginia $42,770
Washington $41,750
West Virginia $35,880
Wisconsin $38,950

What Tools & Technology do Prepress Technicians Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Prepress Technicians may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Flash
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker
  • QuarkXPress
  • Adobe Systems Adobe FreeHand
  • Adobe Systems Adobe FrameMaker
  • Corel Painter
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Director
  • File transfer protocol FTP software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe LifeCycle Enterprise Suite

How to Become a Prepress Technician

Are there Prepress Technicians education requirements?


How many years of work experience do I need?


Who Employs Prepress Technicians?


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


Those who work as a Prepress Technician sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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