Career and Education Opportunities for Printing Press Machine Operators in Seattle, Washington
Printing press machine operator career and educational opportunities abound in Seattle, Washington. There are currently 2,510 working printing press machine operators in Washington; this should shrink 9% to 2,290 working printing press machine operators in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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.
Printing press machine operators earn approximately $17 per hour or $37,280 per year on average in Washington. Nationally they average about $15 per hour or $32,170 per year. Printing press machine operators earn more than people working in the category of Book Binding and Printing generally in Washington and more than people in the Book Binding and Printing category nationally.
The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a printing press machine operator. 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 training to become 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 Seattle include:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Highline Community College - Des Moines, WA
Highline Community College, 2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198-9800. Highline Community College is a medium sized college located in Des Moines, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,267 students. Highline Community College has an associate's degree program in Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production which graduated three students in 2008.
Edmonds Community College - Lynnwood, WA
Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98036-5912. Edmonds Community College is a medium sized college located in Lynnwood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,823 students. Edmonds Community College has a one to two year program in Graphic and Printing Equipment Operator, General Production which graduated six students in 2008.
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: Seattle, Washington
Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.
The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.