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Prepress Technicians and Workers
SOC Code: 51-5111.00

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

Sample of reported job titles: Desktop Operator, Electronic Prepress Operator (EPP Operator), Electronic Prepress Technician (EPP Tech), Plate Maker, Plate Mounter, Pre-Press Proofer, Prepress Operator, Prepress Specialist, Prepress Stripper, Prepress Technician

Tasks

  • Generate prepress proofs in digital or other format to approximate the appearance of the final printed piece.
  • Proofread and perform quality control of text and images.
  • Enter, position, and alter text size, using computers, to make up and arrange pages so that printed materials can be produced.
  • Perform "preflight" check of required font, graphic, text and image files to ensure completeness prior to delivery to printer.
  • Operate and maintain laser plate-making equipment that converts electronic data to plates without the use of film.
  • Enter, store, and retrieve information on computer-aided equipment.
  • Maintain, adjust, and clean equipment, and perform minor repairs.
  • Operate presses to print proofs of plates, monitoring printing quality to ensure that it is adequate.
  • Select proper types of plates according to press run lengths.
  • Examine finished plates to detect flaws, verify conformity with master plates, and measure dot sizes and centers, using light boxes and microscopes.
  • Punch holes in light-sensitive plates and insert pins in holes to prepare plates for contact with positive or negative film.
  • Examine unexposed photographic plates to detect flaws or foreign particles prior to printing.
  • Examine photographic images for obvious imperfections prior to plate making.
  • Arrange and mount typeset material and illustrations into paste-ups for printing reproduction, based on artists' or editors' layouts.
  • Operate and maintain a variety of cameras and equipment, such as process, line, halftone, and color separation cameras, enlargers, electronic scanners, and contact equipment.
  • Scale copy for reductions and enlargements, using proportion wheels.
  • Perform tests to determine lengths of exposures, by exposing plates, scanning line copy, and comparing exposures to tone range scales.
  • Mix solutions such as developing solutions and colored coating solutions.
  • Analyze originals to evaluate color density, gradation highlights, middle tones, and shadows, using densitometers and knowledge of light and color.
  • Activate scanners to produce positive or negative films for the black-and-white, cyan, yellow, and magenta separations from each original copy.
  • Set scanners to specific color densities, sizes, screen rulings, and exposure adjustments, using scanner keyboards or computers.
  • Perform minor deletions, additions, or corrections to completed plates, on or off printing presses, using tusche, printing ink, erasers, and needles.

Technology Skills

  • Desktop publishing software - Adobe Systems Adobe FrameMaker; Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign ; Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker; Esko ArtPro (see all 5 examples)
  • Document management software - Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat ; Adobe Systems Adobe LifeCycle Enterprise Suite; Global Graphics Software Harlequin
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Corel Painter; LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast Ai Studio (see all 7 examples)
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Internet protocol IP multimedia subsystem software - File transfer protocol FTP software; ProjectSend
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Optical character reader OCR or scanning software - Hamrick Software VueScan
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Video creation and editing software - Adobe Systems Adobe Director

Tools Used

  • Automated film processor - Automated film processors
  • Densitometers - Printing densitometers
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras - Digital still cameras
  • Digital image printers - Commercial digital printers
  • Electronic media or data duplicating equipment - Compact disk CD duplicators; Digital video disk DVD duplicators
  • Flexographic printer - Flexographic plate processors
  • Lithographic equipment - Lithographic plate processors
  • Photogravure printing machines - Gravure cylinder engravers
  • Plotter printers - Commercial digital plotters
  • Printing presses - Digital printing presses
  • Scanners - Drum scanners; Flat bed scanners
  • Stackers - Plate stackers
  • Thermal transfer printer for commercial printing applications - Newspaper platesetters; Thermal platesetters

Knowledge

  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Abilities

  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

Interests

  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Time Pressure - 96% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 82% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 64% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 90% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail - 84% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 53% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Contact With Others - 37% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 43% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 42% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 40% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 37% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity - 51% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 34% responded “Every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 42% responded “Important.”
  • Degree of Automation - 42% responded “Highly automated.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 27% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 25% responded “Every day.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
39%High school diploma or equivalent
23%Associate's degree
21%Some college, no degree

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $19.19 hourly, $39,910 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 35,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Decline (-2% or lower)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 3,000

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