The National Council for Print Industry Certifications has introduced online tests for companies interested in having their sheetfed and web offset press operators achieve national certification.
The 200-question tests cover a dozen topic areas, from color viewing to troubleshooting. To be eligible for the "certified press operator" designation, operators must have operated a multi-color press for at least five years, with a minimum of two and a half years as a lead operator.
The nonprofit National Council is the only organization that certifies offset press operators to world-class standards of knowledge. The organization was formed in the mid-1990s under a previous name to help elevate the professionalism and knowledge of U.S. print production workers. Since then almost 1,000 operators have been certified.
After being inactive for the last few years, new management has revitalized the organization with support from Printing Industries of America and printers such as Burton & Mayer. The certification tests were updated and put into an online format.
Joe Lyman, National Council's new executive director, said companies use the certification as part of their employee development program, as well as promoting a certified workforce to customers. "With so many retirements of veteran operators looming, getting operators certified helps assure companies that the necessary knowledge is present to avoid a drop in performance," he stated.
A booklet from the National Council provides information on the testing and certification processes, the terms that operators need to understand, the specific topic areas covered, and 50 sample questions.
In the future the organization expects to also offer certification testing for prepress technicians, binding and finishing operators, and customer service representatives.