Prepress Workers

Prepress workers handle the first stage in the printing process. This initial phase of production involves multiple steps, including creating pages from text and graphics and making printing plates, or managing electronic files submitted by customers and, for some print jobs. With the introduction of desktop publishing and other computer technology, the prepress process has changed dramatically over the past decade. Computerized processes have replaced many of the traditional processes, eliminating a number of prepress jobs but opening up new opportunities as well.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 38,000 people are employed in prepress jobs. Many of these jobs are with commercial printing companies. Other jobs are with prepress service bureaus (companies that deal exclusively with prepress work) and newspapers.


Quick Facts
Duties Perform a variety of tasks in the initial stages of the printing process, such as creating pages from text and graphics and making printing plates, or managing electronic files submitted by customers
Alternate Title(s) Electronic Prepress Technicians, Job Printers, Preflight Technicians
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Employment Prospects Poor
Advancement Prospects Fair
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Any geographic location
Education and Training
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
  • Apprenticeship
Related School Subjects
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Technical/Shop
Experience Apprenticeship or postsecondary training required
Skills
  • Drawing/Design
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Personality Traits
  • Artistic
  • Hands On
  • Technical
Licensure/Certification None
Special Requirements None
Career Ladder
  • Print Shop Owner
  • Desktop Publisher
  • Supervisor
  • Prepress Worker
  • Assistant Prepress Worker

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