Printing Press Operators and Assistants


Printing Press Operators and Assistants


Printing press operators and printing press operator assistants prepare, operate, and maintain printing presses. Their principal duties include installing and adjusting printing plates, loading and feeding paper, mixing inks and controlling ink flow, and ensuring the quality of the final printed piece. There are approximately 173,430 printing press operators in the United States. They are mostly employed by newspaper plants and commercial and business printers.

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



On-the-job training





Personality Traits

Hands On


Pay rates vary for printing press operators, depending on their level of experience and responsibility, type of company, where they live, and whether or not they are union members. Median annual earnings of press operators were $36,910 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Salaries ranged from $23,830 to $58,740 or more. 

Benefits for full-time workers include vacation ...

Work Environment

Pressrooms are well ventilated, well lit, and humidity controlled. They are also noisy. Often press operators must wear ear protectors. Press work can be physically strenuous and requires a lot of standing. Press operators also have considerable contact with ink and cleaning fluids that can cause skin and eye irritation.

Working around large machines can be hazardous, so press operators ...


The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment of press operators will decline through 2028. An increased demand for printed materials—advertising, direct mail pieces, books, and magazines—will be offset by the use of larger, more efficient machines. Additionally, new business practices such as printing-on-demand (where materials are printed in smaller amounts as they are requested by cu...