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Digital Printing Machine Operator

Digital printing machine operators use laser printers, computerized high-speed colour copiers, and other printing machines to print text, illustrations, and designs on paper.

Also Known As

Copier Operator, Photocopier Operator, Printing Machine Operator

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 9471: Printing Machine Operators

2006 NOC-S

  • J181: Printing Machine Operators

2011 NOC

  • 9471: Plateless printing equipment operators

2016 NOC

  • 9471: Plateless printing equipment operators

2021 NOC

  • 94150: Plateless printing equipment operators

2023 OaSIS

  • 94150.00: Plateless printing equipment operators
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Digital printing machine operators run machines that print images. Their duties and responsibilities vary with the type of machine. In general, they:

  • Review work orders to determine print job specifications such as ink colour and number of copies required
  • Set up and adjust printing machines (for example, fill ink reservoirs and load paper stock)
  • Use a keyboard or console to input instructions
  • Monitor print runs, troubleshoot problems, and make adjustments as required

Some operators perform routine maintenance such as cleaning machines and replacing worn parts. In small shops, duties may include answering telephones and responding to customer questions. Printing machine operators also may:

  • Provide price quotes and write up print orders
  • Scan documents to end users, such as by email
  • Maintain supply inventories and keep records of print orders and shipments

In some settings, digital printing machine operators may be in charge of binding and finishing. For more information, see the Binding and Finishing Machine Operator occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Working conditions vary. In companies with many machines, the work setting may be a large plant. Smaller print shops that employ 8 to 10 people are most often located in industrial bays or retail locations. Operators may need to work shifts. Working overtime to meet deadlines is common.

Digital printing machine operators frequently lift heavy loads of paper. They spend a lot of time standing, bending, and stooping. Workplace hazards include moving heavy machinery, handling chemicals, and being exposed to solvent fumes. They must follow standard safety practices and understand occupational health and safety legislation.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Printing Machine Operators

2006 NOC: 9471

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in copying information to input codes and to key programming data on console keyboards of computerized machines


Interest in operating printing machines


Interest in setting up and making adjustments to printing machines, such as filling ink and paint reservoirs and loading stock

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Digital printing machine operators need:

  • Literacy and numerical skills
  • Good colour vision
  • Good hand-eye co-ordination
  • The ability to pay careful attention to details
  • The ability to work under deadline pressure
  • The ability to troubleshoot output problems such as colour issues, pixilation, and misfiling
  • A tolerance for long periods on their feet
  • Tact and discretion when dealing with customers’ materials

Those who work directly with customers also need good customer service skills.

Printing machine operators should enjoy taking a methodical approach to programming printers and to operating and troubleshooting machines. They need a good understanding of digital data-to-print systems. They should be comfortable working with little supervision.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Plateless printing equipment operators

2016 NOC: 9471

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 63 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 06, 2021 and Apr 23, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Set up and make adjustments to printing machines
Tasks: Operate and monitor printing machines during print run and make adjustments
Tasks: Review work order to determine job specifications
Tasks: Clean machines and replace worn parts
Attention to detail
Tasks: Input codes and key in programming data on console keyboard of computerized machines
Experience: Will train
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Printing machine
Construction Specialization: Organized
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Computerized high speed colour copiers
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education Varies

Digital printing machine operators often learn on the job. They may work with database information and graphics. They must update their skills often to keep up with changing technology. Employers may prefer to hire high school graduates who have related training or experience with computer-operated equipment. Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training is an asset.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Digital printing machine operators work for:

  • Government
  • Rapid printing services
  • Commercial printers
  • Large organizations that have in-house printing facilities

Experienced operators may become estimators (quote prices for customers) or production managers. Or they may move into marketing and sales.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 9471: Plateless printing equipment operators occupational group, 79.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 9471: Plateless printing equipment operators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Digital printing machine operators who work for government printing services earned between $23 and $28 an hour (2018 estimate). Those who work for other types of employers tend to earn at the lower end of this range.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Plateless printing equipment operators

2016 NOC: 9471
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 9471 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $22.00 $16.39 $15.70
Overall $15.41 $26.00 $19.15 $16.59
Top $17.80 $37.50 $25.91 $20.65

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information


Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Canadian Printing Industries Association (CPIA) website:

Printing and Graphics Industries Association of Alberta (PGIA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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