Bindery Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

People with some knowledge of printing and binding are likely to have an advantage when they apply for jobs in the field. High school students interested in bindery careers can gain some exposure to bindery work by taking shop courses or attending a vocational-technical high school.

Postsecondary Training

Occupational skill centers, often operated by unions, can also provide an introduction to the industry. Postsecondary training in graphic arts, often offered at community and junior colleges, is also useful. Local offices of printing industry associations offer individual courses related to the field.

Most bindery workers learn their skills through on-the-job training. It typically takes one to three months to learn to use simpler machinery, but it can take up to one year to become skilled in the use of complex equipment, such as computerized binding machines.

Formal apprenticeships are becoming less common but are available for workers interested in acquiring highly specialized skills. A four-year apprenticeship is usually needed to learn how to restore and bind rare books.

Shorter apprenticeship programs combining on-the-job training with classroom instruction may be required for union shops. Four-year college programs in graphic arts are recommended for people who want to work in bindery shop management. With today's fast-changing technology, all bindery workers are likely to need occasional retraining once employed in a job.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for bindery workers.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

No experience is needed to enter the field, but it takes anywhere from one month to a year to become a full-fledged bindery worker. 

Accuracy, neatness, patience, and good eyesight are among the qualities needed for bindery occupations. Careful attention to detail may be the most important requirement for a bindery worker. Errors made in this final stage of the printing process can be costly if it means reinvesting labor and materials to redo previous steps. Finger dexterity is essential for workers who count, insert, paste, and fold, while mechanical skill is required of those who operate automated equipment. Artistic ability and imagination are required for hand bookbinding. In general, employers look for individuals with good communication skills, the ability to work successfully as a member of a team, and strong mathematical and mechanical aptitude.