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FIRST Press Operator Certification builds experts in the field of flexographic printing, who will consistently yield the best possible print quality.

Who Is FIRST Press Operator Certification Designed for?

Press Operators

Machine Adjusters

Advanced Press Assistants

Who Does a Press Operator Communicate with on a Daily Basis?

Press Assistants

Plate Makers


Plate Mounters



Ink Technicians


As a FIRST Certified Press Operator, You Will…

Use FIRST data verification practices to set up a press.
Solve press problems through the use of data verification.
Evaluate press conditions to achieve optimal print results.
Work collaboratively with prepress to identify near neutral density standards.
Demonstrate effective leadership skills in leading a press team.
Use statistical process control to maintain pressrun consistency.
Apply all FIRST-recommended specifications to reduce production waste.

What Do People Think About FIRST Press Operator Certification?

“Color issues are fixed much faster, which cuts makeready and waste. Color targets are measurable, which helps repeat orders to be consistent.”

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“It was good to learn more regarding helper and pre-helper job duties. The training went into detail about how those jobs go hand-in-hand and work together.”

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“By and large, the people who’ve had the certification training do seem more confident and have a better understanding of their roles. In turn, morale has improved.”

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“I understand what we do and why. It helps when talking to operators when they understand it as well. It has helped the most on setup to match press proofs and standards.”

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The Road to FIRST Press Operator Certification



Six Weeks

Whether you’ve been on the job for two days or 27 years, Level I teaches the foundational building blocks crucial for every flexographer. You will study the package printing industry, understand the flexographic process and learn standard trade terminology.



12 Weeks

Every job has its own function. Level II becomes more specific to the user’s specific roles, applications and equipment. This level also enhances the individual’s basic color theory knowledge and the essentials of consistent color reproduction.



12 Weeks

Level III demonstrates how to apply the science of FIRST methodology by running to the numbers to control the process. It ensures every learner has the right tools to consistently and effectively communicate FIRST throughout the entire workflow.

Get Your FIRST Press Operator Certification

Sign up and begin your online training today.

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About FIRST Methodology

Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) supports the methodical approach to process control, optimization, fingerprinting, characterization and process improvement as outlined in CGATS TR 012-2003 (Graphic Technology – Color Reproduction and Process Control for Packaging Printing). While each organization may use its own workflow based upon its specific needs, there are certain fundamentals universal to the flexographic printing process. With a firm understanding and application of the FIRST methodology, flexographers can: identify potentially troublesome issues, benchmark press performance, utilize statistical analysis to maintain optimal conditions, perform accurate device calibrations, identify improvement opportunities and preserve stable conditions for repeatable results—all with the end result of satisfactorily reproducing the graphic design.