Printing and Graphic Arts Careers

Printing and graphic arts is one of America’s largest industries; ranking first among the 20 major manufacturing groups in establishments, second in total dollar payroll and third in the number of employees. The State of Michigan ranks tenth among the 50 states in the number of employees working in this important industry with over 40,000 employees working in over 1500 establishments totaling sales of over $5.6 Billion.

The printing and graphic arts industry in Michigan needs you!

  1. If you’re looking for a career in big business
  2. If you’re looking for a career in a small business in or near your hometown
  3. If you’re interested in a career that serves the needs of society and gives you the opportunity to blend your talents with new technology

The industry’s products, the printed word and graphic arts, help keep us informed and enrich our lives. Because the industry responds to both the needs and advances of society, it uses the latest technology and the most sophisticated tools of communication available. The business of printing is a time-honored profession that has always offered excitement and challenges as its methods advanced. This means continued change and growth for the industry and those who choose to be part of it.

Why join the printing and graphics industry in Michigan?

The printing and graphic arts industry offers numerous choices depending on each person’s interests and it offers opportunities for advancement. The good news is you do not have to prepare yourself for one of these positions on your own. Several Michigan universities and community colleges specialize in providing degree programs, education and training in all areas of printing and graphic arts. They are ready to help you every step of the way.

Prognosis: Steady Growth

Printing and graphic arts is a growth industry. The demand for printed materials is tied to a number of factors having to do with general economic activity, such as disposable income, the formation of new businesses; money budgeted for advertising and funding for schools and libraries. With a robust economy and expanding population, business in printing and graphic arts in Michigan and the rest of the country will continue to be brisk. Does print have a future? Well you don’t need a crystal ball to see that print does, indeed, have a future-quite a promising one for that matter.

Experts say that the volume of printed information doubles every five years. That fact alone should convince you that folks in the printing and graphic arts industry are going to have more than enough work to keep them busy. And, don’t forget-that translates into plenty of jobs and opportunities for newcomers to the field.

Careers that can carry you into a New Century of Opportunity

The printing and graphic arts industry today is part of our nation’s global economy. In Michigan and throughout the country, the industry is looking for future-minded professionals willing and able to adapt to technical change. Opportunities exist in the following areas:

  • Pre-press/Electronic Pre-press:
    Pre-press is the beginning of the printing production cycle. The person working in this area has creative technical and artistic skills.
  • Production Operations:
    Production is the next step in the printing cycle. Today’s printing presses are among the world’s most technically advanced precision machines available. Ranging in value from $25,000 to $8 million, these machines require individuals who are detail oriented and mechanically and electronically inclined. Administrative technical and strong interpersonal communications skills are also important here.
  • Sales and Customer Service:
    Where would all the custom-printed jobs come from if it weren’t for sales and customer service personnel. These positions include a wide range of responsibilities requiring marketing, interpersonal, time management and technical skills.
  • Systems/Network Administration:
    As the printing industry has evolved into one of the largest users of digital communications devises, it also has grown to need computer systems and network personnel. These positions require individuals who understand the production flow of the printing process and are able to work with multiple computer platforms.
  • Business and Administration:
    Intertwined within all areas of any business, including the printing and graphic arts industry, are administrative, management and general business personnel. These people include accountants, cost estimators, secretaries, personnel administrators, managers and general managers. They require a wide variety of skills and specialties including good interpersonal communication and managerial skills.

Information sources

Information provides the solid ground that effective career preparation and successful job searches are built on. The good news is that information is plentiful if you know where to look. Start with your phone book and make a list of the printing companies in your area. Next, go to your local or school library and find newspaper and magazine articles that may have been written about these companies and the people who run them. Then, begin to make personal contact to gather more information. Further sources of information and resources include:

  • DiscoverPRINT: A CD-ROM Resource
    Call the Education Council of the Graphic Arts Industry at 703.648.1768 or send e-mail to
  • Internet Resources
    • Printers on the Web
    • Education and job information sites
    • Association web sites:

Professional Associations

Printing Industries of Michigan, Inc. (PIM)
41740 Six Mile Rd. Suite 105
Northville, MI – 48168-4381
Phone: 248.946.5895
Fax: 248.946.5898

Michigan Schools

Ferris State University
Graphic Arts Department
915 Campus Dr.
Swan 314
Big Rapids, MI 49307
Phone: 231.591.2845

Western Michigan University
Department of Paper and Printing Science
Parkview Campus
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Phone: 269.276.3500

Andrews University
Administration Building
Berrien Springs, MI 49104
Phone: 616.471.7771

Alpena Community College
666 Johnson St.
Alpena, MI 49707
Phone: 989.356.9021

Gogebic Community College
Jackson and Greenbush St.
Ironwood, MI 49938
Phone: 906.932.4231

Muskegon Community College
221 South Quarterline Rd.
Muskegon, MI 49442
Phone: 616.777.0239

Washtenaw Community College
4800 E. Huron Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
Phone: 734.973.3516

Michigan Scholarships

  • Ferris State University (contact FSU for more information)
    • Residential Life Scholarship-High School Seniors
    • Ann Arbor Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund-High School Seniors and College Freshmen to Seniors
      Download Scholarship Grant Application
    • Thomas Scott Reuther Scholarship-College Juniors and Seniors
    • GATF-NSTF Scholarships-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • Grand Rapids Craftsman’s Club-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • Grand Rapids Litho Club-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • Midwest Association of Pre-press-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • Northwest Michigan Craftsman’s Club-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • Tom Bingman Memorial Scholarship-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • International Newspaper Group Scholarship-College Juniors and Seniors
  • Western Michigan University (Contact WMU for more information)
    • Ann Arbor Graphic Arts Memorial Foundation-Entering Freshmen
    • Batson Printing Inc. Scholarship-College Juniors and Seniors
    • Brian Scott Lacombe Humanitarian Scholarship-Transferring college students
    • The Lawrence J. Brink Scholarship-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • E. J. Kelly Endowment Award-College Sophomores and Juniors
    • Flexographic Technical Association-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • Graphic Arts Technical Foundation-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • Gravure Education Foundation Scholarship-Minorities and College Juniors
    • Jane L. Ulmer Memorial Scholarship-College Freshmen to Seniors
    • Kalamazoo Valley Printing House Craftsman’s Club-Entering Freshmen
    • Pendell Family Scholarship-College Juniors
    • Herbert F. Ramage Jr. Memorial Scholarship-Criteria to be established
    • Robert Caine Outstanding Student Award-College Seniors
    • Charles W. Thomasma Printing Scholarship-Entering Freshmen
  • Printing Industries of Michigan, Inc. (Contact PIM for more information)

Continuing Education-Training & Career Development

In addition to the university and community college education and training programs, the printing and graphics industry employers provide valuable on-going education, training and career development opportunities for their employees. In-house programs and vendor based programs are supplemented by outstanding programs offered by the Printing Industries of Michigan, Inc. (PIM), and other industry related associations.

Here are some examples of Printing Industries of Michigan’s training and career development programs:

  • Computer based training-PIM has purchased an interactive computer training system called “SHOTS” which stands for “Sheetfed Offset Training Simulator”. SHOTS is a complete interactive computer training system, from pre-press to press to delivery. SHOTS offers the closest thing to a real pressroom using state-of-the-art computer technology. It will be placed in colleges to aide students enrolled in printing and graphic arts programs as well as with industry employers for training of new hires and existing personnel.
  • Job listings and resume referral:  PIM offers a job market service, which allows individuals looking for career development opportunities in printing, and graphic arts to list their credentials in the “positions wanted” section of a popular trade journal entitled “Graphic News”. Also, member and non-member firms may place “positions available” listings for a nominal charge. Contact the PIM office at (800) 482-1355 or (248) 946-5895 (Detroit area) for further information.
  • Communications: PIM maintains a monthly newsletter entitled Graphic News. Periodic bulletins are distributed on a variety of issues. An active web site ( is maintained and frequently updated. PIM offers its members and others interested in the printing and graphic arts industry in Michigan a national network for information exchange.
Health Insurance

Health Insurance

BCBSM has individual health insurance plans available to PIM members. Association Benefits Company, an authorized independent agency with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, is here to help you take care of your families and your employees. Call them today to discuss the individual and group options available to you. They work with all agents!

Description for Individual Coverage:

Introducing MyBlueSM– Individual Coverage direct with BCBSM

Printing Industries of Michigan now offers new BCBSM health care plans for individuals and families at all stages of life. Whether you’re single, a recent college graduate, self-employed, starting a family, or considering early retirement, BCBSM has a plan to meet your needs and budget. Click here for eligibility, review plan options and to enroll on line!

Description for Group Coverage:

Employers providing health insurance for employees

Printing Industries of Michigan now offers new BCBSM health care plans for individuals and families at all stages of life. Whether you’re single, a recent college graduate, self-employed, starting a family, or considering early retirement, BCBSM has a plan to meet your needs and budget. Click here to get started with our BCBSM/BCN Administrator!

Fee Schedule

Fees schedule for PIM Active Membership

Annual sales volume Monthly Membership Dues
Under $100,000 $25
$100,001 – $200,000 $25
$200,001 – $250,000 $25
$250,001 – $300,000 $25
$300,001 – $350,000 $30
$350,001 – $400,000 $35
$400,001 – $450,000 $40
$450,001 – $500,000 $45
$500,001 – $550,000 $50
$550,001 – $600,000 $55
$600,001 – $650,000 $60
$650,001 – $700,000 $65
$700,001 – $750,000 $70
$750,001 – $800,000 $75
$800,001 – $850,000 $80
$850,001 – $900,000 $85
$900,001 – $950,000 $90
$950,001 – $1,000,000 $95
$1,000,001 – $1,500,000 $105
$1,500,001 – $2,000,000 $115
$2,000,001 – $2,500,000 $125
$2,500,001 – $3,000,000 $135
$3,000,001 – $3,500,000 $145
$3,500,001 – $4,000,000 $160
$4,000,001 – $5,000,000 $185
$5,000,001 – $6,000,000 $195
$6,000,001 – $7,000,000 $210
$7,000,001 – $8,000,000 $230
$8,000,001 – $9,000,000 $260
$9,000,001 – $10,000,000 $280
$10,000,001 – $11,000,000 $300
$11,000,001 – $13,000,000 $315
$13,000,001 – $15,000,000 $340
$15,000,001 – $17,000,000 $365
$17,000,001 and over $390
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