Desktop Publishers


Desktop publishers use computer software to design page layouts for newspapers, books, brochures, and other items that are printed or published online.

Duties

Desktop publishers typically do the following:

  • Review text, graphics, or other materials created by writers and designers
  • Edit graphics, such as photographs or illustrations
  • Import text and graphics into publishing software
  • Integrate images and text to create cohesive pages
  • Adjust text properties, such as size, column width, and spacing
  • Revise layouts and make corrections as necessary
  • Submit or upload final files for printing or online publishing

Desktop publishers use publishing software to create page layouts for print or electronic publication. They may edit text by correcting its spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Desktop publishers often work with other design, media, or marketing workers, including writers, editors, and graphic designers. For example, they work with graphic designers to come up with images that complement the text and fit the available space.

Desktop publishers held about 12,600 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of desktop publishers were as follows:

Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 32%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13
Self-employed workers 12
Printing and related support activities 8

Work Schedules

Many desktop publishers work full time, and they may need to work additional hours to meet publication deadlines.

Desktop publishers usually need an associate’s degree. They also receive short-term on-the-job training, lasting about 1 month.

Education

Desktop publishers usually need an associate’s degree, often in graphic design or graphic communications. Community colleges and technical schools offer desktop-publishing courses, which teach students how to create electronic page layouts and format text and graphics with the use of desktop-publishing software.

Training

Desktop publishers typically receive short-term on-the-job training lasting about 1 month. They learn by working closely with more experienced workers or by taking classes that teach them how to use desktop-publishing software. Workers often need to continue training because publishing software changes over time.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Desktop publishers must have a good eye for how graphics and text will look, so that they can create pages that are visually appealing and legible.

Communication skills. Desktop publishers must collaborate with others, such as writers, editors, and graphic designers, and communicate ideas effectively.

Detail oriented. Desktop publishers must pay attention to details such as margins, font sizes, and the overall appearance and accuracy of their work.

Organizational skills. Desktop publishers often work under strict deadlines and must be good at scheduling and prioritizing tasks in order to have documents ready in time for publication.

Other Experience

Many employers prefer to hire workers who have experience preparing layouts and using desktop-publishing software. Students may gain experience by working on a publication for a school or other organization.

The median annual wage for desktop publishers was $42,910 in May 2018.

The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,770, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $75,120.

In May 2018, the median annual wages for desktop publishers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $45,570
Printing and related support activities 44,560
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 37,190

Many desktop publishers work full time, and they may need to work additional hours to meet publication deadlines.

Desktop Publishers

Median annual wages, May 2018

Desktop publishers

$42,910

Total, all occupations

$38,640

Other office and administrative support workers

$33,620

 

Employment of desktop publishers is projected to decline 16 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Desktop publishing is commonly used to design printed materials, such as advertisements, brochures, newsletters, and forms. Companies are expected to hire fewer desktop publishers, however, as other types of workers—such as graphic designers, web designers, and editors—increasingly perform desktop-publishing tasks.

As organizations increasingly publish their materials electronically instead of printing them, employment of desktop publishers may decline further.

Employment projections data for desktop publishers, 2018-28
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2018 Projected Employment, 2028 Change, 2018-28 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Desktop publishers

43-9031 12,600 10,600 -16 -2,000 Get data

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of desktop publishers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2018

Editors

Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.

Bachelor’s degree $59,480

Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate moving images that entertain or inform an audience.

Bachelor’s degree $58,990

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers.

Bachelor’s degree $50,370

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Multimedia artists and animators create images that appear to move and visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment.

Bachelor’s degree $72,520

Technical Writers

Technical writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.

Bachelor’s degree $71,850

For more information about the printing industry, visit

Printing Industries of America

O*NET

Desktop Publishers


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Desktop Publishers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/desktop-publishers.htm (visited ).


 

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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