Programs in printing technologies prepare people to produce printed materials such as books, magazines, and brochures. Students learn to lay out pages, make plates, and operate printing presses. They learn to set up, maintain, and repair equipment. They also learn to work with computers to edit digital images.
Did you know that several centuries before the printing press was invented, monks used to copy verses from the Bible by hand? And they didn't just scribble down the words either. Spending their days hunched over their work, they would write in careful calligraphy and incorporate pictures and designs into the lettering. These manuscripts were called "illuminated manuscripts" because the monks used gold, silver, and other brightly-colored paints which made the pages look as though they were glowing.
If you're like most people, it's rare that you write anything down by hand anymore, and especially not in calligraphy and using paints. But the labor of love displayed by these monks in the 7th through 13th centuries still exists today within the printing technologies field. Even with the rising use of computer technology, we still want our printed and published material to look perfect.
Feeling skeptical? Have you ever fiddled with the font type or size of a school paper? Have you ever wanted the change the color scheme of your bedroom? Color and typography are just a couple of the many factors that you learn to consider in this program of study.
You also take courses in print-related operations, including lithography, offset printing, and flexography. You learn to lay out the components of a page such as text columns, graphics, and headers. You might study methods for editing images as well.
With a background in this field, you may open doors for yourself to related careers in desktop publishing, graphic arts, technical writing, and web publishing.
Over 200 community colleges and proprietary schools offer programs in printing technologies where you can typically earn a certificate or an associate degree. A certificate can take anywhere from several weeks to about a year of full-time study. An associate degree typically takes about two years.
In addition, a few schools offer a four-year bachelor's degree program.