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Career and Education Opportunities for Printing Press Machine Operators in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for printing press machine operators in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area. About 6,600 people are currently employed as printing press machine operators in New Jersey. By 2016, this is expected to shrink by 11% to about 5,900 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for printing press machine operators are expected to shrink by about 5.5%. 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.

Printing press machine operators earn about $18 hourly or $38,050 yearly on average in New Jersey and about $15 hourly or $32,170 per year on average nationally. Incomes for printing press machine operators are better than in the overall category of Book Binding and Printing in New Jersey, and better than the overall Book Binding and Printing category nationally.

The Elizabeth area is home to 298 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Elizabeth where you can get a degree as a printing press machine operator. The most common level of education for printing press machine operators is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a printing press machine operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Printing Press Machine Operator

Printing Press Machine Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

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 Elizabeth include:

  • Bindery Worker. Set up or operate binding machines that produce books and other printed materials.
  • Decorative Painter. Paint, coat, or decorate articles, such as furniture, glass, or leather.
  • Dental Laboratory Technician. Construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.
  • Engraver. Engrave or etch metal, wood, or other materials for identification or decorative purposes. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers, and silk screen etchers.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Printing Press Machine Operator Training

Middlesex County College - Edison, NJ

Middlesex County College, 2600 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison, NJ 08818-3050. Middlesex County College is a large college located in Edison, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,346 students. Middlesex County College has an associate's degree program in Graphic Communications, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

Kean University - Union, NJ

Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave, Union, NJ 07083-0411. Kean University is a large university located in Union, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,203 students and an admission rate of 67%. Kean University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Printing Management which graduated twenty and eighteen students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: Elizabeth, New Jersey

Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth, New Jersey photo by Cobber17

Elizabeth is situated in Union County, New Jersey. It has a population of over 124,755, which has grown by 3.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elizabeth, 140, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Elizabeth are valued at $321,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, eight new homes were constructed in Elizabeth, up from six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Elizabeth are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and other transportation, and support activities, and couriers. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 12.1% of Elizabeth residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elizabeth is 12.4%, which is greater than New Jersey's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Elizabeth residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.5%, is more than both the national and state average. First Pentecostal Church, Christ Episcopal Church and Alliance International Fellowship Church are some of the churches located in Elizabeth. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the American Baptist Churches in the USA.

Elizabeth is home to the North Elizabeth Station and the Julian Station as well as Kellogg Park and Jackson Park. Visitors to Elizabeth can choose from Hampton Inn Newark-Airport, Centro America Express and Hilton Newark Airport for temporary stays in the area.