Career and Education Opportunities for Printing Press Machine Operators in Chicago, Illinois
Printing press machine operators can find many career and educational opportunities in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 9,970 working printing press machine operators in Illinois; this should shrink 2% to about 9,820 working printing press machine operators in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for printing press machine operators, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 5.5% over the next eight years. Printing press machine operators generally 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.
Income for printing press machine operators is about $14 per hour or $30,700 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $15 per hour or $32,170 yearly. Earnings for printing press machine operators are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Book Binding and Printing in Illinois and better than general Book Binding and Printing category earnings nationally.
There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a printing press machine operator, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for printing press machine operators is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a printing press machine operator if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Printing Press Machine Operator
In general, printing press machine operators 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.
Printing press machine operators push buttons, turn handles or move controls and levers to start and control printing machines. They also reposition printing plates, adjust pressure rolls, or otherwise adjust machines to further optimize print quality, using knobs, handwheels, or hand tools. Equally important, printing press machine operators have to set and adjust speed, temperature and positions and pressure tolerances of equipment. They are often called upon to clean and lubricate printing machines and components, using oil, solvents, brushes, rags, and hoses. They are expected to decide on and install printing plates and cylinders in machines according to given requirements, using hand tools. Finally, printing press machine operators pour or spread paint, ink and other materials into reservoirs or color holders of printing units, making measurements and adjustments to control color and viscosity.
Every day, printing press machine operators are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.
It is important for printing press machine operators to blend and test paint, inks and solvents in line with types of material being printed and work order specifications. They are often called upon to remove printed materials from presses, using handtrucks, electric lifts, or hoists, and transport them to drying, storage or finishing areas. They also inspect and examine printed products for print clarity, color accuracy, conformance to given requirements, and external defects. They are sometimes expected to monitor stocks of materials such as paper and metal to maintain supplies during equipment operation. Somewhat less frequently, printing press machine operators are also expected to monitor feeding and racking processes of presses to maintain specified operating levels and to uncover malfunctions, making adjustments as needed.
Printing press machine operators sometimes are asked to pack and label cartons, boxes, or bins of finished products. They also have to be able to ready and treat lithographic plates with various chemicals to wash and preserve plates and fix images and attach cloth to take-up rollers, placing it in feeding position and threading it through equipment as needed. And finally, they sometimes have to reposition printing plates, adjust pressure rolls, or otherwise adjust machines to further optimize print quality, using knobs, handwheels, or hand tools.
Like many other jobs, printing press machine operators must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:
- Decorative Painter. Paint, coat, or decorate articles, such as furniture, glass, or leather.
- Laundry Operator. Operate or tend washing or dry-cleaning machines to wash or dry-clean industrial or household articles, such as cloth garments, suede, and carpets.
- Medical Appliance Technician. Construct, fit, or repair medical supportive devices, such as braces, artificial limbs, and other surgical and medical appliances.
- Photographic Processing Machine Operator. Operate photographic processing machines, such as photographic printing machines, film developing machines, and mounting presses.
- Prepress Technician. Set up and prepare material for printing presses.
- Tool and Die Maker. Analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, and machinists' hand tools.
- Woodworking Machine Setter and Operator. Set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, and wood nailing machines.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Printing Press Machine Operator Training
Harper College - Palatine, IL
Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production which graduated one and eight students respectively in 2008.
The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg - Schaumburg, IL
The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, 1000 Plaza Drive Ste. 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4913. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg is a small school located in Schaumburg, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,257 students and an admission rate of 47%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg has an associate's degree program in Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production.
Basic Flexographer (Level 1): The "Basic Flexographer" classification (Level I) has been developed to provide recognition of those who have rudimentary knowledge of the industry or are entry level personnel.
For more information, see the Flexographic Technical Association website.
National Certification for Flexographic Press Operators: Endorsed and funded by the Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association (FFTA), the Flexographic Press Skill Standards and Flexographic Press Operator's Multi-Color Certification Examination were designed and developed by the National Council for Skill Standards in Graphic Communications (NC).
For more information, see the The National Council for Skill Standards in Graphic Communications website.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.
The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.
Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.