Plateless Printing Equipment Operators

Occupation:Printing Equipment Operators and Related Workers
Category:Manufacturing and Utilities

About the job

Nature of work:

Individuals in these jobs operate printers and cameras, bind books, and develop film. They are employed in rapid printing services, binderies, commercial publishing and printing companies, film processing laboratories and retail photofinishing establishments, and in various public and private sector operations that have in-house printing departments.

Job duties:
Photographic and film processors perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate equipment to develop negatives and slides, and to print black and white and colour photographs.
  • Operate photographic enlarging equipment to produce prints and enlargements from negatives.
  • Operate equipment to develop motion picture film.
  • Tend automatic equipment in retail establishments to develop colour negatives, prints and slides.
  • Operate equipment to transfer film to video tape.
  • Retouch photographic negatives or original prints to correct defects.
  • Splice film and mount film on reels.
  • Measure and mix chemicals required for processing.
  • Inspect rolls of photographic prints for conformance to specifications or motion picture film to detect defects in developing and printing.
The following is a summary of some of the duties performed by printing equipment operators and related workers:
  • Graphic arts camera operators set up and adjust black and white or colour separation process cameras to convert graphic art and photographs into film for assembly and exposure onto printing plates or cylinders.
  • Cylinder preparers grind and polish press cylinders; expose and lay down carbon tissue; and etch or engrave cylinders using hand tools, etching machines, photogravure or laser processes to produce cylinders for gravure presses.
  • Film strippers and assemblers assemble and position, either using automated equipment or by hand, pieces of film containing all parts of a printing job to produce flats or composite negatives for preparing printing plates or cylinders.
  • Platemakers operate vacuum frames, plate processors and step and repeat machines to produce printing plates for various types of presses.
  • Prepress technicians operate various computer-controlled studio systems to perform colour separation, retouching and editing that allow changes to be made to a colour negative for printing purposes, plan page layouts and electronically alter shape, size and positions of illustrations and text.
  • Scanner operators operate computerized scanning machines or digital cameras to make colour separations and corrections from colour copy or transparencies for use in preparing film, digital files, printing plates or cylinders.
  • Proofmakers operate computerized equipment to prepare film, laser or dylux proofs for quality control purposes or for customers' review.
  • Printing machine operators set up and make adjustments to printing machine, such as filling ink or paint reservoirs and loading stock and operate and monitor printing machines during print run and make adjustments as required.
  • Binding and finishing machine operators set up and operate specialized equipment and machines that cut, fold, gather and bind or finish brochures, pamphlets, business forms, magazines, books and other printed material.
Sample job titles:
  • blueprint developer
  • bookbinder - printing
  • darkroom technician - photographic processing
  • film assembler
  • gluing and folding machine operator - printing
  • photo lab technician
  • prepress technician
  • printing machine operator - printing

To work in these jobs, you should be responsible and alert. Coordination and a mechanical aptitude are important. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a college program or other specialized courses may be required.
  • On-the-job training is usually provided.
Other considerations:

There is some mobility among the various types of jobs within this group. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Printing Equipment Operators and Related Workers most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 49% of Printing Equipment Operators and Related Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $36,651. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Plateless Printing Equipment Operators310xxx
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $14.50
Maximum: $22.00
Minimum: $3,298
Median: $28,440
Maximum: $52,488
Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities15,275Weak growth1,275Moderate
Minimum: $12.00
Median: $18.75
Maximum: $30.00
Minimum: $6,056
Median: $30,111
Maximum: $70,518
Plateless Printing Equipment OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
Percent employed full-time73%87%
Percent self-employed12%3%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentPlateless Printing Equipment OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton7%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley14%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgePlateless Printing Equipment OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4245
GenderPlateless Printing Equipment OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
EducationPlateless Printing Equipment OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school5.3%$12,98722.9%$21,011
High school48.0%$10,70638.1%$28,358
Trades certificate2.7%$25,51012.4%$37,356
College certificate or diploma26.7%$17,97320.3%$36,968
University certificate or diplomaxx1.1%$35,915
Bachelor's degree12.0%$30,3144.4%$36,852
University advanced certificate or diploma2.7%x0.3%$55,581
Master's degreexx0.5%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.1%N/A
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Canadian Printing Industries Association
151 Slater Street, Suite 1110
Ottawa, ON K1P 5H3
Tel: (800) 267-7280
Fax: (613) 232-1334

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
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Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Program Name:Graphic communications - General
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that generally prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills in the manufacture and distribution or transmission of graphic communications products. These programs include courses in the prepress, press, and postpress phases of production operations and processes such as offset lithography, flexography, gravure, letterpress, screen printing, foil stamping, digital imaging, and other reproduction methods.
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NSCAD University
5163 Duke Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3J6
(902) 444-9600
Program Name:Photography
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the principles and techniques of communicating information, ideas, moods, and feelings through the creation of images on photographic film, plates, digital images and that prepares individuals to be professional photographic artists. These programs include courses in camera and equipment operation and maintenance, film and plate developing, light and composition, films and printing media, colour and special effects, photographic art, photographic history, use of computer applications to record or enhance images and applications to the photography of various subjects.
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DaVinci College of Art and Design NS Ltd.
1577 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1Z7
(902) 429-1847
NSCAD University
5163 Duke Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3J6
(902) 444-9600
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.