A pre-press operator uses a computer to get text and graphics ready for printing. They are involved in designing and laying out the artwork, setting out text and adding digital images.
You could be:
laying out artwork, text and images according to a design plan
using desktop publishing software, such as Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, to help lay out pages
digitally scanning images and adding them to the page or document
proofreading, retouching colour and ensuring overall accuracy of the document
creating sample proofs and sending them to customers
preparing and checking film or digital outputs
getting the item ready for the printing process
transferring images from film onto printing plates (known as platemaking), sometimes using computer controlled equipment.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for and whether you are self-employed
the demand for the job.
Starting pay for a trainee might be around £12,000 to £14,000 a year. With 1 or 2 years' experience after qualifying you may earn around £18,000. Skilled pre-press operators can earn up to around £26,000 a year or more.
You will probably work in an office, studio or print shop.
You will spend a lot of time working on a computer.
You may need to wear protective clothing to work with some types of equipment.
You will normally have to work to tight deadlines, so the work can be stressful.
You might work shifts, including evenings and weekends.
A good general education is useful. Many employers look for a group of subjects at National 4 or 5. English, Maths, Art and Design and Graphic Communication are all very useful.
You may be able to get in by doing a Modern Apprenticeship, working towards Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).
The City of Glasgow College offers a full time course at Higher National Diploma (HND) level in Digital Media. Entry requirements are Higher Art and Design or Graphic Communication plus English at National 5.
Some experience of using desktop publishing software would be an advantage.