Summary of PrintED Competencies
Introduction to Graphic Communications (103 competencies)
The competencies in this accreditation area require that students are competent in their overall understanding of the industry and its major operations, and have the fundamental measurement, math, and interpersonal skills needed for starting a career. The competencies are broken into 11 subsections: introduction, digital file preparation, image capture, color theory, digital file output, press operations, bindery operations, measurement, safety and first aid, basic math, and job application and interpersonal skills. All competencies are theory-based and require students to list, describe, identify, and/or calculate production-related issues, rather than actually demonstrate performance.
Digital File Preparation (80 competencies)
The competencies in this accreditation area require students to understand the basic concepts and procedures required in each step of file preparation, including basic design elements and principles, file construction, fonts, page layout, image capture, illustration, and PDF creation. While many of the competencies require students to describe, identify, explain, measure and/or distinguish file-related issues, about half the competencies require students to demonstrate various skills in creating and exporting images and laying out a page in appropriate software.
Offset Press Operations (42 competencies)
The competencies in this accreditation area require that students have a sound knowledge of ink, paper, and fountain solution used for offset lithography. Some competencies require students to identify press parts and basic operations procedures, while other competencies require students to demonstrate their ability to perform makeready, print different types of one- and two-color jobs, evaluate and adjust print quality, color measurement, and perform clean-up functions.
Digital File Output (40 competencies)
The competencies in this accreditation area require that students have an understanding of the steps needed to prepare a client file for printing, from preflighting through platemaking. Most of the competencies require students to define specific activities and identify various procedures and equipment components. Students are also expected to prove their ability to perform the following functions: repair a native digital file, repair a PDF, make a folding dummy, make a digital hard and soft proof, and output a digital file to a platesetter.
Binding and Finishing (57 competencies)
The competencies in this accreditation area require students to describe procedures and identify equipment and materials for folding, cutting, stitching, adhesive binding, case binding, foil stamping, coating and laminating, spiral and wire binding, and various ancillary activities. Students are expected to use folding equipment to make different folds and perform preventative maintenance on folders and cutters. They must demonstrate their knowledge of paper types related to their cutting, folding and binding characteristics. Finally, a number of competencies pertain to the tools and procedures for quality control, as well as knowledge of common problems and their solutions.
Digital Production Printing Competencies (36 competencies)
This block of competencies ensures that students have a sound knowledge of the software and hardware used for digital printing. Some competencies require students to identify various digital printing technologies, their applications, and workflow steps. Students are also expected to identify print quality issues and solutions, and explain the various finishing options for digital printing. A basic understanding of the production of variable data printing, including the software used, must be demonstrated. Finally, students are expected to prove their knowledge by producing different types of work on a digital printing system.
Advanced Digital File Preparation (59 competencies)
The competencies in this accreditation area require that students are knowledgeable about digital proofing, storage media, file types, operating systems, and system troubleshooting. In addition, they need to demonstrate more proficiency with page layout software, such as executing multi-color jobs with scans, color separation techniques, text, spot color artwork, trapping, PDF creation, and various impositions. Students must demonstrate their ability to modify and output files according to customer supplied criteria, substrates, and printing requirements. Finally, students must have a grasp of the quality control procedures critical to file preparation, such as calibrating monitors and other equipment, and understanding the use of densitometers and spectrophotometers.
Advanced Offset Press Operations (47 competencies)
The competencies in this accreditation area require that students demonstrate their grasp of the press controls, procedures, and tools used to adjust settings and print quality on an offset lithographic press. At this level, students should be able to distinguish between different types of feeder and delivery systems, blanket types, and varnish/coatings. Press skills must be demonstrated with multi-color work, process color work, printing on different paper finishes/stocks, different impositions, blanket/roller/plate installation, and preventative maintenance. Students are expected to identify the common problems and solutions of color printing and explain how densitometers are used to read color bars.