PrintED, administered by the Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF®) is a national accreditation program, based on industry standards, for graphic communications courses of study at the secondary and post-secondary levels.
Upon receipt of the Accreditation Application, a program is allowed up to eighteen months to complete the accreditation process.
PrintED has identified six standards that encompass the elements of a solid training program. In order for a program to become accredited, it must meet these standards in at least two areas of accreditation, one of which must be Introduction to Graphic Communications.
The ten accreditation areas include:
- Introduction to Graphic Communications
- Advertising & Design
- Digital File Preparation
- Offset Press Operations
- Binding & Finishing
- Digital File Output
- Digital Production Printing
- Screen Printing Technology
- Advanced Offset Press Operations
- Advanced Digital File Preparation
Competencies have been identified for each area of accreditation to determine whether the PrintED standards have been met. These competencies, developed by educators and members of industry, form the basis for instruction.
Although PrintED does not provide its own curriculum, there are curriculums available that are aligned with the PrintED competencies.
To provide students with a credential that validates mastery of academic and workplace competencies for 21st century jobs and to help meet Perkins IV requirements, GAERF and SkillsUSA have established a partnership to offer online PrintED/SkillsUSA Skill Connect Assessments. These examinations test technical skills and knowledge with media-enriched questions containing animations, videos, drawings and photographs. The five assessments include:
- Advertising and Design
- Digital File Preparation/Digital File Output
- Graphic Communications
- Offset Press Operations/Binding and Finishing
- Screen Printing Technology
Students who receive passing scores on PrintED/SkillsUSA Skills Connect Assessments receive co-branded PrintED/SkillsUSA certificates that display GAERF, PrintED, and SkillsUSA logos.
Many PrintED accredited programs have established articulation agreements with institutions of higher learning. Articulation agreements are designed to build strong partnerships between high schools and community colleges and/or four-year institutions. The agreement outlines specific requirements completed at the high school level that will transfer to institutions of higher learning. PrintED instructors are encouraged to form articulation agreements to provide students with the benefit of pursuing further education with college credit already in hand.
PrintED was developed in 1986 by the Printing Industries of Georgia (PIAG) at the request of the Georgia Department of Education. In 1990, Printing Industries of America adopted the Georgia program as a national industry-approved accreditation program. GAERF assumed management of PrintED in 2000.