What is Graphic Communications?

The Graphic Communications program provides students with practical instruction in the basics of producing a wide variety of printed materials. They learn the offset printing process by preparing projects from the initial design to finished product, and thetheory of photography is taught: Students use a digital camera and digital plate-setting to produce plates used in the reproduction of printed materials. This program also provides students with practical experience in learning the techniques of layout and design of a printing assignment, as well as computer skills, which are learned through the use of Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Additionally, students learn how to proofread their work, which is an important part of preprint operations to ensure accuracy before work is sent to press. Other activities included in the curriculum are: paper selection; cutting and binding; and collating and finishing. Competencies in digital and offset press operations on a wide variety of equipment are stressed in the program; work orders from a variety of sources provide students with opportunities to experience actual production work.

For more information on the opportunities available through this program, please refer to the "College Credits" and "Industry Certifications" links to the left. Watch this video to find out what a CPAVTS education means for you! 


Program Objectives 

  1. Complete PA Dept. of Ed. POS (Program of Study)
  2. Complete NOCTI Competencies
  3. Obtain Industry Certifications (PrintEd, Adobe Certifications)
  4. Earn College in the High School (CHS) Credits 
  5. Industry Visit (Level 1)
  6. Post-Secondary Visit (Level 2)
  7. Complete Internship 

Level 1

  • Introduction to Design Principles
  • Introduction to Digital/Offset Press
  • Introduction to Bindery (Cutting, Folding, Gluing)


  • 200s: Art and Copy Preparation
  • 300s: Electronic Imaging
  • 600s: Press 
  • 700s: Bindery


Level 2

  • Job Production Management
  • Ad Design
  • PDF Workflow, Pre Press
  • Image Qualities
  • Platemaking
  • Press/Two Color
  • Bookmaking


  • 100s: Job Production Management
  • 200s: Art and Copy Preparation
  • 300s: Electronic Imaging
  • 400s: Image Aquisition and Manipulation
  • 500s: Platemaking
  • 600s: Press
  • 700s: Bindery

Employability Skills Training     


Level 3 

  • Monitoring Production and Job Tickets
  • Create and Design a Publication
  • Press/Bindery Troubleshooting


  • 200s:Art and Copy Preparation
  • 300s: Electronic Imaging
  • 600s: Press 
  • 700s: Bindery 

OPTION: Cooperative Education


Is it for You?

Students interested in this program should enjoy abstract and/or creative activites, working with others, and working with tools, equipment, and machines. Graphic artists usually work on crews, so interactions with others are essential. Press operators may have to stand much of the time and do a lot of bending, reaching, and lifting; additionally, press rooms are noisy, and operators in certain areas frequently wear ear protection. Operators are subject to hazards when working near machinery. Employees in this field usually work a forty-hour week, with overtime work sometimes necessary to meet deadlines, with many operators working evenings and night shifts.
Successful careers in this field tend to require the following skills:

  • The ability to distinguish colors.
  • Eye-hand coordination.
  • Interest in the visual arts.
  • The ability to relate to people.
For more information on this program's objectives, please visit the "Task List" link to the left.

What's Next?


Employment Options 

* Salaries listed are PA state averages taken from www.onetonline.com and are accurate as of June 2016.

Print Binding & Finishing Workers ($32,490)

Prepress Technicians & Workers ($37,310)

Digital & Offset Press Operator ($37,600)

Desktop Publishers ($38,990)

Post-Secondary Studies

*Many employment options in this field require additional study.

HACC: Graphic and Interactive Design

Penn College: Graphic Design

Penn State: Graphic Design

Art Institute of Philadelphia: Graphic & Web Design

Thaddeus Stevens: Graphic Communications & Printing Technology