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 six accreditation areas include:

  • Introduction to Graphic Communications
  • Advertising Design
  • Digital File Preparation/Digital File Output
  • Offset Press Operations/Bindery & Finishing
  • Digital Production Printing
  • Screen Printing

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. The PrintED competencies are being updated in 2014. As the competencies for each accreditation are identified, they will be posted to this site to ensure that instructors can begin incorporating the revised competencies into their curriculum.

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 Design
  • Digital File Preparation/Digital File Output
  • Graphic Communications
  • Offset Press Operations/Bindery & Finishing
  • Screen Printing

Each assessment is priced at $10 for PrintED students and SkillsUSA members; $20 for non-members. To order, or for more detailed information, visit: www.workforcereadysystem.com.

A student who receives a passing score on a PrintED/SkillsUSA Skills Connect Assessment is awarded a PrintED/SkillsUSA Student Certification in that subject area, valid for two years. The certification, which does not require work experience, is designed to be the initial step for students seeking to build a career in the graphic communications industry. The student is provided with a co-branded PrintED/SkillsUSA certificate that includes 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.