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Career and Education Opportunities for Prepress Technicians in Birmingham, Alabama

Prepress technicians can find many career and educational opportunities in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 490 people are currently employed as prepress technicians in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to shrink 22% to 380 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for prepress technicians, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 17.7% over the next eight years. Prepress technicians generally set up and prepare material for printing presses.

Income for prepress technicians is about $13 per hour or $28,120 yearly on average in Alabama. Nationally, their income is about $16 hourly or $35,030 annually. Incomes for prepress technicians are better than in the overall category of Book Binding and Printing in Alabama, and better than the overall Book Binding and Printing category nationally.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a prepress technician. Given that the most common education level for prepress technicians is a post-secondary certificate, you can expect to spend a short time studying to be a prepress technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Prepress Technician

Prepress Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, prepress technicians set up and prepare material for printing presses.

Every day, prepress technicians are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for prepress technicians to enter and alter text size, using computers, to make up and arrange pages so that printed materials can be produced. They are often called upon to maintain and clean equipment, and perform minor repairs. They also enter and retrieve data on computer-aided equipment. They are sometimes expected to examine photographic images for obvious imperfections before plate making. Somewhat less frequently, prepress technicians are also expected to enter and alter text size, using computers, to make up and arrange pages so that printed materials can be produced.

Prepress technicians sometimes are asked to inspect developed film for specified results and quality, using magnifying glasses and scopes; forward acceptable negatives or positives to other staff or to customers. They also have to be able to mix solutions such as developing solutions and colored coating solutions and reposition lamps and adjust aperture controls in order to furnish high quality images. And finally, they sometimes have to examine unexposed photographic plates to uncover flaws or foreign particles before printing.

Like many other jobs, prepress technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Garment Patternmaker. Draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts. May also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.
  • Printing Press Machine Operator. Set up or operate various types of printing machines, such as offset, letterset, or gravure presses or screen printers to produce print on paper or other materials.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
  • Woodworking Machine Setter and Operator. Set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, and wood nailing machines.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Prepress Technician Training

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production which graduated two and one students respectively in 2008.

Virginia College-Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

Virginia College-Birmingham, 65 Bagby Dr., Birmingham, AL 35209-3703. Virginia College-Birmingham is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,090 students and an admission rate of 64%. Virginia College-Birmingham has an associate's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated thirty-eight students in 2008.

Samford University - Birmingham, AL

Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229-2240. Samford University is a small university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,469 students and an admission rate of 89%. Samford University has a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated seven students in 2008.


Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.