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Printing Press Operator

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All About Printing Press Operators

Career Description Set up and operate digital, letterpress, lithographic, flexographic, gravure, or other printing machines. Includes short-run offset printing presses.

Life As a Printing Press Operator

  • Maintain time or production records.
  • Collect and inspect random samples during print runs to identify any necessary adjustments.
  • Secure printing plates to printing units and adjust tolerances.
  • Adjust digital files to alter print elements, such as fonts, graphics, or color separations.
  • Clean ink fountains, plates, or printing unit cylinders when press runs are completed.
  • Verify that paper and ink meet the specifications for a given job.

What Every Printing Press Operator Should Know

These are the skills Printing Press Operators say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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

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

Other Printing Press Operator Job Titles

  • Printing Offset Duplicating Machine Operator
  • Printing Machine Operator
  • Strip Machine Operator
  • Web Pressman
  • Rotary Lithographic Press Operator

Is There Going to be Demand for Printing Press Operators?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 178,700 jobs in the United States for Printing Press Operator. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Printing Press Operator. There will be an estimated 15,800 positions for Printing Press Operator per year.


The states with the most job growth for Printing Press Operator are Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Kansas, Kentucky, or Hawaii. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Printing Press Operator Make?

Printing Press Operators make between $22,690 and $58,710 a year.


Printing Press Operators who work in District of Columbia, Alaska, or Minnesota, make the highest salaries.

How much do Printing Press Operators make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $30,740
Alaska $48,140
Arizona $34,240
Arkansas $35,480
California $39,380
Colorado $39,370
Connecticut $38,600
Delaware $42,280
District of Columbia $80,680
Florida $33,640
Georgia $34,000
Hawaii $43,120
Idaho $32,650
Illinois $44,050
Indiana $34,610
Iowa $35,090
Kansas $34,350
Kentucky $33,540
Louisiana $31,280
Maine $35,380
Maryland $39,850
Massachusetts $42,890
Michigan $36,070
Minnesota $44,670
Mississippi $32,690
Missouri $42,920
Montana $33,320
Nebraska $35,110
Nevada $36,040
New Hampshire $43,250
New Jersey $45,580
New Mexico $32,220
New York $41,770
North Carolina $37,090
North Dakota $35,410
Ohio $36,730
Oklahoma $30,430
Oregon $37,920
Pennsylvania $39,150
Rhode Island $41,250
South Carolina $35,770
South Dakota $35,720
Tennessee $38,170
Texas $38,710
Utah $35,550
Vermont $40,570
Virginia $38,690
Washington $42,060
West Virginia $30,630
Wisconsin $38,430
Wyoming $34,540

What Tools do Printing Press Operators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Printing Press Operators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • Graphics software
  • Inventory tracking software
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker
  • QuarkXPress
  • Image editing software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe LifeCycle Production Print ES3

How to Become a Printing Press Operator

What education or degrees do I need to become a Printing Press Operator?


What work experience do I need to become a Printing Press Operator?


Who Employs Printing Press Operators?


Below are examples of industries where Printing Press Operators work:


Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Printing Press Operator might also be interested in the following careers:

Career changers with experience as a Printing Press Operator sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


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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