How to become a Printing Machinist

Printing machinists set up and operate letterpress, lithographic, flexographic and gravure printing presses. They work on a range of printed products including packaging, stationery, greeting cards, books and newspapers, depending on the printing method used.

Personal requirements of a Printing Machinist

  • enjoy practical and manual activities
  • good eyesight (may be corrected) and normal colour vision
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • able to carry out detailed work
  • mechanical aptitude.

Duties & Tasks of a Printing Machinist

Printing machinists: • make printing plates • fit printing plates or cylinders on presses, mix the inks that are applied to them and adjust the colour flow to the image • adjust the paper-feeding devices that separate and feed sheets through the machine • monitor machines and print quality • carry out minor repairs and routine maintenance • set up and operate 'in-line' finishing functions.

Working conditions for a Printing Machinist

Printing machinists work in both small businesses and large manufacturing companies, and with single and multi-colour printing presses.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:


NSW NSW 31.4%

NT NT 1.8%


SA SA 6.5%

TAS TAS 1.2%

VIC VIC 41.2%

WA WA 5.9%

Hours worked:



Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 86.5%

Female 13.5%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 10.5%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 21%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 51.4%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 17.1%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.9%

20-24 - 0.5%

25-34 - 21.7%

35-44 - 27.8%

45-54 - 28.9%

55-59 - 11.5%

60-64 - 3.8%

65 and Over - 4.9%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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