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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 below avg
  • 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 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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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.

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 Mar 31, 2020

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.

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 [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

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.

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

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.

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 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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