Prepress Technician  What They Do

Just the Facts

Prepress Technicians and Workers Career Video

Formats and proofs text and images submitted by designers and clients into finished pages that can be printed. Includes digital and photo typesetting. May produce printing plates.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Printing Technology pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Enters, stores, and retrieves information on computer-aided equipment.
  • Enters, positions, and alters text size, using computers, to make up and arrange pages so that printed materials can be produced.
  • Maintains, adjusts, and cleans equipment, and performs minor repairs.
  • Operates and maintains laser plate-making equipment that converts electronic data to plates without the use of film.
  • Examines photographic images for obvious imperfections prior to plate making.
  • Operates presses to print proofs of plates, monitoring printing quality to ensure that it is adequate.
  • Monitors contact between cover glass and masks inside vacuum frames to prevent flaws resulting from overexposure or light reflection.
  • Transfers images from master plates to unexposed plates, and immerses plates in developing solutions to develop images.
  • Examines unexposed photographic plates to detect flaws or foreign particles prior to printing.
  • Lowers vacuum frames onto plate-film assemblies, activates vacuums to establish contact between film and plates, and sets timers to activate ultraviolet lights that expose plates.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Job Compositor -- Combines multiple elements, such as mixed media, drawings done over film footage, or computer graphics interacting with live actors, into a single image.
  • Lithographic Platemaker -- Exposes sensitized metal plate to positive or negative film, using vacuum frame, to produce offset lithographic printing plates.
  • Pantograph Operator -- Engraves lettering or design in copper or steel printing plates, using pantograph engraving machine.
  • Photoengraver -- Photographs copy, develops negatives, and prepares metal plates for use in letterpress and gravure printing.
  • Preflight Technician -- Reviews all data sent to a printer to make sure that all artwork, fonts, and file formats are included and will work with the systems in places at that printing firm and whether a job meets size limitations and if finishing and bindery requirements are me
  • Printing Technician -- Receives a print-related project, reviews all documents for errors, and then transfers the pictures or text into print-ready material.
  • Advertising Layout Worker --
  • Blueprint Blocker --
  • Composing Machine Operator/Tender --
  • Copper Plate Lithographer --