How to Become a Bindery Machine Operator in the US

How to Become a Bindery Machine Operator in the US

Bindery machine operators play an integral role in the smooth operation of a printing firm. The work involves giving books, magazines and advertising publications final touches before releasing them to consumers. This may also involve other duties such as stamping, stitching, pressing and trimming. Knowledge on the operation of machines that perform these duties is also important.

What Does a Bindery Machine Operator?

Your job description will include roles such as:

  • Operate and tend to binding machines
  • Read orders and set equipment in readiness for the day’s specific jobs
  • Perform frequent checks on machines to ascertain they are in good working condition
  • Clean machines in between projects
  • Maintain records for each day’s projects
  • Examine printed material to ensure it meets specific standards and is free from defects
  • Feed and offload material from the machine
  • Insert special pages in printed material
  • Prepare printing projects for packaging before release into the market


You should have the following qualifications to work as a bindery machine operator:

  • A minimum of high school diploma or GED
  • On the job training for a certain period specified by the employer
  • A baccalaureate degree with a bindery and finishing course for a role as a supervisor


You will need a specific skill set to success as a bindery operator. Some of the skills include:

  • Understand the working of different bindery machines and other equipment in the bindery room
  • Attention to detail to ensure you meet quality standards
  • Flexibility
  • Stress tolerance especially when working
  • Integrity and self initiative
  • Physical and mental fitness
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Understanding of printing standards required for different projects

Work Environment

The work environment will require you to operate different equipment to meet project requirements. You will mainly work on the bindery machine. However, depending on the size of the company and project demands, you may work with pressing, trimming, stitching, and stamping machines.

The work will involve a lot of heavy lifting, bending and stooping. Physical fitness is important for you to function effectively. You will also expose yourself to a lot of noise on a daily basis. Get proper protective clothing especially for your ears. The machines also expose you to different dangers associated with machine operation, always protect yourself and handle machines with care.


Entry level


Middle level




Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013


Career Prospects

A majority of entry-level positions exist in private companies. Here you gain experience and learn more about your career. You can then advance to a government firm, which equals to a pay rise, job security and more benefits. You can also work your way up to become a supervisor.

A career as a bindery machine operator also exposes you to different opportunities in the printing industry. You can pursue a bachelor’s degree in your field of choice and pursue a different career path within the printing industry.

If you find the printing industry exciting, you should consider a career as a bindery machine operator.

Image Source: