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FTA First Certification
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Through a partnership with the Flexographic Technical Association, AICC Members now have access to the courses to earn FTA FIRST Press Operator, FIRST Prepress Operator, and FIRST Implementation Specialist Certificates at FTA member rates.

To emerge as a true leader, you must demonstrate a complete mastery of the flexographic printing process, from your core foundation to a commitment to process control at the highest level. FIRST Individual Certifications are designed to meet such goals.

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.

Show your company that you have a mastery of the flexographic printing process.

All courses are administered online in a proven, self-paced, online learning environment and all tracks begin with the FIRST Operator Certification – Level I. Learn more.

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

This expert press operator is proficient in the areas of color management, process control, troubleshooting and implementing corrective action procedures to bring systems into control for repeatable, predictable results.

  • Consistent, accurate and repeatable results
  • Proofs that match natural press conditions
  • Faster makeready speeds
  • Greater process control through measurement, documentation and verification
  • Increased productivity and uptime on press
  • Effective management of all press components
  • Reductions in waste and erroneous costs
  • Better communication with entire supply chain, including prepress (graphics)

Learn more: Level II, Level III

Must complete levels 1-3 for certification.

FIRST Prepress Operator Certification
FIRST Prepress Operator Certification creates experts in the field of flexographic prepress (graphics) operations.

This expert prepress professional excels in the areas of graphic file assembly, preparation and management, image capture, process color calibration, and measuring and controlling print variables throughout the entire workflow.

  • Efficiently build graphic files to provide accurate and repeatable color on press
  • Calibrate color measurement instruments and output devices for consistency
  • Employ best process color separation techniques
  • Evaluate press conditions to achieve optimal print results
  • Effectively use preflight and proofing practices
  • Employ optimization practices for the plate package
  • Use data verification to solve prepress issues before they reach production
  • Improve communication from the customer to prepress to the pressroom

Learn more: Level II, Level III

Must Complete levels 1-3 for certification.

FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification
FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification yields experts in the field of flexographic printing support, consultation and communication.

FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification is designed for supervisors, managers and non-production personnel, including suppliers of flexographic products and services. A FIRST Implementation Specialist is proficient in communicating the principles and practices of FIRST in order to apply them effectively across the entire flexographic supply chain.

  • Foster effective communication between customers, printers and suppliers
  • Open collaboration between prepress and press for consistent and repeatable print
  • Employ process control elements and data collection for quality improvement
  • Calibrate and use measurement devices for print production analysis
  • Incorporate proper fingerprinting and analysis to enhance workflow productivity
  • Communicate optimization practices from the plate package to print production
  • Develop print evaluation and documentation procedures
  • Lead implementation of FIRST methodology across the entire workflow

Learn more: Level II, Level III

Must Complete levels 1-3 for certification.