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Prepress Technician

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What Do Prepress Technician Do?

Job Description: Format and proof text and images submitted by designers and clients into finished pages that can be printed. Includes digital and photo typesetting. May produce printing plates.

List of Prepress Technician Job Duties

  • Arrange and mount typeset material and illustrations into paste-ups for printing reproduction, based on artists' or editors' layouts.
  • Examine unexposed photographic plates to detect flaws or foreign particles prior to printing.
  • Perform tests to determine lengths of exposures, by exposing plates, scanning line copy, and comparing exposures to tone range scales.
  • Perform “preflight” check of required font, graphic, text and image files to ensure completeness prior to delivery to printer.
  • Operate and maintain a variety of cameras and equipment, such as process, line, halftone, and color separation cameras, enlargers, electronic scanners, and contact equipment.
  • Perform close alignment or registration of double and single flats to sensitized plates prior to exposure to produce composite images.

Prepress Technician Skills

When polled, Prepress Technicians say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

  • Electron-Beam Photo Mask Maker
  • Electronic Masking System Operator
  • Linotype Operator
  • Photoengraving Photographer
  • Stonehand

Job Opportunities for Prepress Technicians

In the United States, there were 34,600 jobs for Prepress Technician in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Prepress Technician. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 3,000 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Prepress Technician are Idaho, Maryland, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Kentucky, Kansas, or North Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Prepress Technicians Salary

Prepress Technicians make between $24,940 and $62,420 a year.


Prepress Technicians who work in District of Columbia, New Jersey, or Delaware, make the highest salaries.

How much do Prepress Technicians make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $33,710
Arizona $39,910
Arkansas $35,880
California $42,670
Colorado $41,840
Connecticut $44,620
Delaware $51,020
District of Columbia $84,120
Florida $38,320
Georgia $40,320
Hawaii $37,310
Idaho $39,150
Illinois $48,110
Indiana $38,280
Iowa $35,930
Kansas $33,300
Kentucky $40,950
Louisiana $33,470
Maine $38,550
Maryland $44,840
Massachusetts $45,110
Michigan $41,320
Minnesota $48,000
Mississippi $35,990
Missouri $39,380
Montana $37,870
Nebraska $43,250
Nevada $45,000
New Hampshire $41,430
New Jersey $53,580
New Mexico $42,760
New York $45,860
North Carolina $40,830
North Dakota $36,840
Ohio $40,800
Oklahoma $36,590
Oregon $44,520
Pennsylvania $42,180
Rhode Island $40,810
South Carolina $38,940
South Dakota $33,930
Tennessee $37,480
Texas $38,980
Utah $38,050
Vermont $45,160
Virginia $42,770
Washington $41,750
West Virginia $35,880
Wisconsin $38,950

Tools & Technologies Used by Prepress Technicians

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Prepress Technicians:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Flash
  • Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite
  • Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker
  • QuarkXPress
  • Adobe Systems Adobe FreeHand
  • Adobe Systems Adobe FrameMaker
  • Corel Painter
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Director
  • File transfer protocol FTP software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe LifeCycle Enterprise Suite

Becoming a Prepress Technician

Individuals working as a Prepress Technician have obtained the following education levels:


How Long Does it Take to Become a Prepress Technician?


Where do Prepress Technicians Work?


Below are examples of industries where Prepress Technicians work:


Those who work as a Prepress Technician sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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