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Prepress Job & Career Information

The printing process has three stages, prepress, press, and binding (or postpress.) Prepress is the first stage, and prepress workers are responsible for preparing the material for printing presses. Prepress involves a variety of tasks including checking proofs for errors and print clarity and correcting any mistakes, transforming text and pictures into finished pages, and making printing plates of the pages.

The Job

The job of prepress has been greatly affected by technological advances in the past few years. The older methods of phototypesetting have been replaced by computerized digital imaging technology such as “desktop publishing.” The printing industry is doing more prepress work using complete “digital imaging.” This technology allows prepress technicians to take material received via a computer file, check it for completeness, and format it into pages using electronic page layout systems. Then, prepress technicians use digital systems to electronically produce an image of the printed pages and print a copy, or “proof,” of the pages as they will appear when printed.

full sailPrepress Training

The job of a prepress technician requires some formal graphic communications training in the various types of computer software used in prepress digital imaging. There are a variety of programs available in this field including 2-year associate degree programs offered by community and junior colleges and technical schools, and 4-year bachelor degree programs offered by universities. These programs will teach you the latest in prepress technology and allow you to develop prepress skills by practicing and applying them. You will also gain an understanding of how printing plants operate, and become familiar with the basic prepress functions.

Prepress Job and Career Prospects

Job prospects in prepress area available in several industries such as traditional printing and publishing, advertising, public relations, graphic design, and business. Most prepress jobs are found in the printing and publishing industry, or with newspapers, and as both of these industries are very geographically dispersed, prepress jobs are available throughout the country.

Please keep in mind though that this is a dieing industry. It's just not worth it at this time to invest in training to work in the print industry. While there is still a fair amount of work done in print, it is on the decline.


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