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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.

  • Avg. Salary $40,946.00
  • Avg. Wage $20.24
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
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: Printing Machine Operators (9471) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Printing Machine Operators (J181) 
  • 2011 NOC: Plateless printing equipment operators (9471) 
  • 2016 NOC: Plateless printing equipment operators (9471) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Digital Printing Machine Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Printing Machine Operators

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

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 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 More

Updated May 06, 2016


Digital printing machine operators run machines that print images. Their duties and responsibilities vary depending on the type of machine but, in general, operators:

  • 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
  • may perform routine maintenance functions such as cleaning machines and replacing worn parts.

In small shops, they also may:

  • answer telephones and customer questions
  • provide pricing quotes and write up print orders
  • send faxes
  • maintain supply inventories and keep records of print orders and shipments.

In some settings digital printing machine operators also may be responsible for binding and finishing (for more information, see the Binding and Finishing Machine Operator occupational profile).

Working Conditions
Updated May 06, 2016

Working conditions vary. In large companies that employ many digital printing machine operators, they may work in large plants. Smaller print shops that employ 8 to 10 people usually are located in an industrial bay or retail location. Shift work may be required and overtime often is required to meet print deadlines.

Digital printing machine operators frequently lift loads of paper weighing up to 20 kilograms and do a considerable amount of standing, bending and stooping. Workplace hazards include moving machinery, handling chemicals and exposure to fumes from solvents. They must follow standard safety practices and be knowledgeable about occupational health and safety legislation.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated May 06, 2016

Digital printing machine operators need the following characteristics:

  • good 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 the pressure of deadlines and find creative solutions to problems
  • the ability to stand for long periods
  • tact and discretion when dealing with customers' material.

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

All printing machine operators should enjoy taking a methodical approach to programming printers, operating and troubleshooting machines, and working with little supervision.

Educational Requirements
Updated May 06, 2016

Digital printing machine operators may be trained on the job. They may work with database information and graphics, and must be willing to update their skills frequently 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.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 06, 2016

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 06, 2016

Digital printing machine operators are employed in:

  • rapid printing services
  • commercial printers
  • large organizations that have in-house printing facilities.

Experienced operators may become estimators who quote prices for customers or production managers or move into marketing and sales.

Digital printing machine operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 9471: Printing machine operators. In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated May 06, 2016

Salaries for digital printing machine operators are usually at the lower end of this range although those employed by government printing services earned between $22 and $27 an hour (2015 estimate).

Plateless printing equipment operators

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $27.00 $17.98 $15.55
Overall $15.24 $31.00 $20.24 $18.88
Top $16.40 $37.00 $24.30 $24.00

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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

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 May 06, 2016

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 09, 2016. 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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