Pre-Press Technician



OFO No: 662101






Youtube clip – So you want to be a Pre-Press Technician

For training options in South Africa – scroll down


What is a Pre-Press Technician?

A Pre-Press Technician works at a printing company.

They are responsible for a variety of duties.  The most important part of their job is to make sure that the customer’s job specifications are met BEFORE it goes to final printing.

Pre-Press Technicians ensure that the customer’s requirements are met by the printers.

Some printers still use metal plates.  The Pre-Press Technician usually prepares these plates.  However, in modern digital printing companies – these plates are all done with computers.  This is called the direct-to-plate technique:  where the design is sent straight to the press. (the printing machine)

What does a Pre-Press Technician do?

  • processes large printing jobs
  • formats and corrects any errors found
  • checks the job specifications are right
  • works together with the designers and customers
  • makes plates if necessary (old style of printing)
  • creates electronic versions of the pages to be printed (digital printing)
  • emails proofs to customers for checking

Are you … ?

  • interested in the printing industry?
  • a person with an eye for detail?
  • observant?
  • responsible?
  • accurate?
  • precise?
  • good with colour?

How do I become a Pre-Press Technician?

You may get an apprenticeship in a printing company.  If you can’t get one immediately – maybe you could try and apply for a different entry-level position in a printing company, for instance: a sales person, front desk or admin person. 

Once you’re in – you can maybe then show you have skills and interest in getting involved in the actual printing side.


  • Apprenticeship
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Design Foundation NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – CNC Production Machining NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Certificate in Graphic Web Design and Multimedia (NQF Level 4)
  • These can be done at many TVET (FET) colleges. Check your local one to see what they offer
  • Trade Test


  • Certificate in Photography (NQF Level 4)
  • These can be done at many TVET (FET) colleges. Check your local one to see what they offer
  • Trade Test


  • National Certificate: Printer/Finisher: N1, N2 and N3
  • Workplace experience
  • Trade Test


  • RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) for Artisans: CLICK HERE
  • If you have already been working a long time as a Pre-Press Technician without qualifications, you may be able to get your qualification through RPL
  • Trade Test



  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Guillotine Operator … or … Typesetter … or … Graphic Designer

Is becoming a Pre-Press Technician  the right career choice for me?