What do Prepress Technicians and Workers Do?
Prepress technicians and workers are responsible for producing and developing the final products of printed materials. As this job has become more digital over the years, large amounts of the design work will come from outside sources. You will be responsible for ensuring the quality of the final product by reviewing the designs and managing the printing equipment. Responsibilities range from editing designs on the computer to mixing finishing solutions to repairing equipment, keeping the job from getting stale or redundant.
Prepress Technicians and Workers Skills and Abilities
As a prepress technician, you will work frequently with digital formats. You will absolutely need to be comfortable with computers, including a fundamental understanding of hardware. You will also rely heavily on a mastery of the English language. You can expect to practice active listening and personal skills to ensure you understand needs and requirements. Additionally, design skills will frequently assist you in producing high quality work. General problem solving will also be tested as you will be expected to find methods to produce the right finish for each project.
Prepress Technicians and Workers Duties
Responsibilities in this job are varied, but they mostly pertain to designing prints and operating and maintaining print related equipment. You may also be responsible for directing or training other workers. The following list contains the majority of the daily duties you can expect to encounter:
- Clean or repair equipment
- Drill holes in parts, equipment, or materials
- Mix substances to create chemical solutions
- Operate digital equipment
- Program tasks
- Design prints or finishes according to specifications
- Develop or handle film
- Handle light sensitive plates
- Create or manage work spaces appropriate for the materials in use
- Examine finishes for flaws and imperfections
- Perform tests to optimize developing or finishing processes
- Create multiple lighting situations to ensure finished products meet expectations
Prepress Technicians and Workers Tools and Technology
Your days are going to be filled with computers and printing tools. Some of the specific devices you can expect to use includ automated film processors, densitometers, scanners and thermal transfer printers. On the software side, you can count on using publishing software, document management software, graphic design programs and photo editors. Adobe software is very likely to show up on a daily basis.
Education and Training for Prepress Technicians and Workers
Most employers in this field want to see a high school diploma or equivalent and some postsecondary training pertaining to image design or equipment management. Degrees are not required, but they do not over qualify you for these positions as more than 30 percent of prepress technicians do hold a degree of some kind. Many employers are willing to hire you with little to no prior experience and will train you. On-the-job training is typically brief, requiring little in ongoing education.
Prepress Technicians and Workers Salary
Prepress technicians and workers are often employed part time, causing their average wages to drop as a result. The national median wage is $17.89, or $37,200 annually. Top earners in the field can often make more than $58,000 a year. Wages vary dramatically by region. The median salary in the District of Columbia tops the charts at $75,300 while North Dakota and Puerto Rico bring in the bottom at $24,900 and $23,200 respectively.
Prepress Technicians and Workers Jobs by Geography
The prepress field is very competitive, with job rates shrinking at 13 percent every year. The only two states with positive growth rates are Nebraska and Nevada with 4.4 percent and 0.5 percent annual growth respectively. With the downward trend in openings, making your application as competitive as possible will be absolutely necessary.