Printing Technology Courses and Training Programs

Pre-press technicians and press operators control and maintain the printing machinery for newspapers, books and magazines. You can gain skills in this field by completing a certificate or associate degree program in printing technology. Find out what you'd learn in a printing technology program, and get info on career advancement opportunities for printing professionals. Schools offering Visual Communication degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Even with the advent of technology that puts the news or a book in the palm of our hands digitally, a good physical book with real paper to touch and flip still can't be beat in the minds of many. Those specializing in today's printing technology will certainly enjoy the convenient benefits of using such tech to produce physical products, but the honed attention to detail is still a must in the field as it ever was.

Programs Certificate or associate's degree programs available
Courses Printing technology, silk screen, electronic imaging, digital printing and management, graphics, printing stages, preventative maintenance, printing software, typography, production management
Future Career Options From pre-press technician or press operator to a press room supervisor or printing cost estimator

What Is Printing Technology?

Traditional printing machines use rollers and presses to imprint the final image to the page. Newer forms of print technology are non-impact and make use of computers. For example, electrostatic and digital printing is quicker and allows printers to preview the material before it is printed on the page. Pre-press technicians and press operators are needed to approve the image for mistakes, load paper, monitor ink distribution and maintain the machinery.

What Programs Are Available?

Certificate programs are short, specialized studies in printing technology, silk screen, electronic imaging or digital printing. These programs can typically be completed in a year and may include elective courses in offset press work and pre-press techniques. With the increasing importance of computerized technology, many working press operators go back to update their knowledge through certificates at advanced levels. In some cases, publishing technology programs can be completed partially online or with the option to mix classroom and online studies.

Associate degree programs may emphasize graphics, digital technology or management, which may appeal to you if you want to advance to supervisor positions within the industry. With the prevalence of e-books, you should consider programs that incorporate new media, such as digital publishing and graphics, into the curricula. Though a college degree is not always required, press operators and technicians must have excellent computer and communication skills, both of which can be learned through an associate degree program.

What Will I Study?

You can expect to be introduced to the stages of printing, from pre-press checks to press operation and final bindings. You will probably be introduced to printing shop practices, such as preventative maintenance. Although traditional printing methods are still being used, digital and quick printing is becoming more prevalent. You may consider taking elective technology-based courses that introduce you to printing software like QuarkXPress and Photoshop.

Individual courses will vary depending on your program's specialization. Programs that center on graphics and printing may include courses in graphic design and typography. Printing management programs will likely include instruction in estimating, planning and production management.

How Can I Further My Career?

You may begin your career working as a pre-press technician or a press operator. However, with experience, you can advance to more complex presses or become a press room supervisor. As you climb the ranks, you will also make printing cost estimates to clients. Alternatively, you may continue your education through voluntary press operator certification or a bachelor's degree in printing management or new media studies.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • The Art Institutes

    The Art Institutes responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The Art Institutes:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
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    Campus Locations:

    • Virginia: Arlington
  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
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  • Ashford University

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  • Full Sail University

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  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

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  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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  • General Assembly

    General Assembly responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at General Assembly:

    • Certificates

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Columbia (D.C.): Online Campus, Washington, D.C.
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