Schools for Offset Printing Press Operators

Get information about the training and degree programs available for aspiring offset printing press operators. Learn about the classes and topics offered in formal programs, and explore apprenticeship options. Schools offering Visual Communication degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

While much education for offset printing press operators may be gained through work, certificate and associate's degree programs still exist to formalize the education process. Keep reading to find out about these programs and what they offer through the information in the article below.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become an Offset Printing Press Operator?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most printing press operators receive a great deal of training on the job ( However, many employers prefer applicants that have prior formal training. To receive this type of training, you might enroll in an apprenticeship program; these programs combine on-the-job experience with classroom work. Some community colleges and technical schools also offer training programs that lead to a technical diploma, certificate or associate's degree.

How Do I Find an Apprenticeship Program or School?

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has an online site that might help you locate apprenticeship programs in your area ( You can also access the website of the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) to find schools that offer educational programs ( The GAERF administers a national program that accredits graphic communications programs at the postsecondary level; offset press operation is among the ten training areas accredited by the GAERF.

What Certificates or Degrees Are Available?

Some technical colleges offer diploma programs in print technology. These programs can consist of roughly 30 credits and may take one year to complete. Typical courses include digital printing applications, publishing technologies, graphic reproduction techniques and variable data publishing.

You can earn a Certificate in Graphic Communications Technology or an Advanced Technical Certificate in Publishing/Print Media from a community or technical college. These programs usually take 18-24 months to complete and may consist of 38-48 credit units. Courses might include printing management, litho press, production printing, graphic arts production and publishing/print media.

You might be able to earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Printing and Publishing or an A.A.S. in Graphic Design for Print Media through some technical colleges. A 2-year associate's program usually consists of 65-71 credit units. You might explore topics like binding and finishing, digital imposition, digital design, graphic arts technologies, digital prepress and offset press. You may need to complete an internship in graphic arts at an approved facility.

Which Schools Offer Diploma or Certificate Programs in Print Technology?

A variety of institutions allow students to earn a certificate in print technology or a related field. Here are a few of them:

  • Salt Lake Community College hosts a Certificate of Completion in Graphic Communications Technologies program
  • Northeast Wisconsin Technical College provides a Print Technology Technical Diploma program
  • Fullerton College has a Printing Technology Certificate program

Which Schools Offer Associate's Degree Programs in Print Technology?

Some schools offer associate's degree programs in print technology or a related field, such as graphic communications. Examples of these colleges are:

  • St. Louis Community College has an Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Communications degree program
  • Northcentral Technical College houses an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Communication Technologies degree program
  • Gateway Technical College has an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Communications degree program

Programs in printing technology or another field can be found at the certificate and associate's degree levels. Certificates may fast-track your career in the field, while associate's degree programs, usually offered in graphic communications, may cover more graphic design oriented subjects.

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:
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  • Hennepin Technical College

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