Career Information Hotline

Toll Free 1-800-661-3753

Edmonton 780-422-4266

Guest Account Sign In Sign Up
Occupational Profile

Printing Press Operator

Printing press operators set up and operate sheet- and web-fed presses that print single or multiple colours on paper.

Related Video(s)
Printing Press Operator (7:24)

  • Avg. Salary $52,524.00
  • Avg. Wage $27.22
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook N/A
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Printing Machine Operator

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

28%
28%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Printing Press Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Printing Press Operators
NOC code: 7381
METHODICAL

Interest in comparing information to monitor regular press runs for quality consistency using computer control consoles, to make adjustments, and to check samples for ink coverage, alignment and registration; and in removing and cleaning plates at the end of press runs

OBJECTIVE

Interest in setting up and adjusting in-line binding and finishing equipment

directive

Interest in speaking with press crew to direct their activities and ensure that safety procedures are adhered to; and in reviewing job orders to determine job specifications, such as production time, colour sequence and quantities required, and in advising press crew of job specifications

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

Duties
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Printing presses range from small one-man, sheet-fed lithographic presses to very large web offset presses that require several operators. Their duties and responsibilities vary depending on the type of press, but in general, press operators:

  • review job orders to determine production time, colour sequence, quantities required and other paper and ink specifications
  • load paper (which requires an understanding of the climatization of the paper and the effects of curl on the usability of the stock)
  • install and adjust plates
  • load and mix ink colours
  • prepare ink fountains and feeder units
  • adjust settings to control colour and consistency of reproduction
  • set up the press and check samples for ink coverage and density, alignment and registration
  • monitor quality consistency during production runs and make adjustments as necessary
  • remove and clean plates after a press run
  • perform press and feeder maintenance functions.

Different problems can arise during a run depending on the type of plates, paper, ink and chemicals used, and the humidity and temperature in the press room. Press operators must keep presses running to capacity and, at the same time, ensure that ink and chemicals are in proper balance and reproduction meets quality standards.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Printing press operators usually work in climate controlled press rooms. Shift work often is required and working overtime to meet print deadlines is common.

Printing press operators stand for long periods and do a considerable amount of bending and reaching. They frequently lift paper, ink rollers and other items weighing up to 10 kilograms. Workplace hazards include moving machinery, handling chemicals and exposure to fumes from solvents and loud noises from machinery. 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 Dec 14, 2016

Printing press operators need the following characteristics:

  • good vision and accurate colour perception
  • good hand-eye co-ordination
  • average hearing
  • mechanical ability
  • the ability to stand for long periods
  • the ability to pay careful attention to details
  • flexibility and an interest in learning new technologies
  • the ability to work under the pressure of deadlines
  • good oral and written communication skills.

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, setting up and adjusting presses, and working in a team environment.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Printing press operators generally acquire their skills by learning on the job. Printing and publishing is an evolving industry, and they must be prepared to handle change by learning new skills. Computer skills and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training are definite assets.

There are no standard education requirements for printing press operators. However, employers generally prefer to hire graduates of related training programs or high school graduates who have experience operating machines or equipment.


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.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Printing press operators are employed by:

  • newspaper publishers
  • magazine publishers
  • commercial printers
  • large corporations that have in-house printing facilities.

Where operating large presses requires a press crew, experienced operators may advance to lead hand, foreman, plant manager or other supervisory positions.

In Alberta, 80% of people employed as printing press operators work in the Manufacturing industry.

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 Manufacturing industry)
  • 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 Dec 14, 2016

Printing press operators
NOC code: 7381

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
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $27.88 $22.81 $24.80
Overall $20.00 $35.86 $27.22 $28.72
Top $21.00 $43.31 $34.60 $35.00

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.

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.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

28%
28%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

26%
26%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

6%
6%

2015 Vacancy Rate

1%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Canadian Printing Industries Association website: www.cpia-aci.ca

Printing and Graphics Industries Association of Alberta (PGIA) website: www.pgia.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 19, 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.

Was this page useful?
Top