PREPRESS WORKERS prepare material for printing presses. They perform a variety of tasks that transfer text and pictures into finished pages. Prepress workers may use computers to produce material that looks like the desired finished product. Printing plants may use lasers to convert electronic data to plate without any use of film. Entering, storing, and retrieving information from computer-aided equipment requires technical skills. With traditional photographic processes, material is arranged and typeset, then passed onto workers who further prepare it for presses. Printing still involves text composition, page layout, and plate making, so printing will still require prepress workers.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $37,500 average per year ($18.00 per hour)
- A medium occupation (48,100 workers in 2010)
- Expected to decline (1.8% per year)
PREPRESS WORKERS often start as helpers who are chosen for on-the-job training programs. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates who have good communications skills. Apprenticeship is another way to become a skilled prepress worker. Formal graphic arts programs, offered by community and junior colleges and some 4-year colleges, are a good way to learn about the printing industry. Some skills, such as typesetting, can be learned in a few months. Other skills, such as stripping (image assembly), require years of experience to master.