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Job Outlook: -16% (Decline)

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What Desktop Publishers Do About this section

Desktop publishers
Desktop publishers edit graphics, such as photographs or illustrations.

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.

Work Environment About this section

Desktop publishers
Many desktop publishers work in the publishing and printing industries.

Desktop publishers held about 10,400 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of desktop publishers were as follows:

Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 27%
Self-employed workers 14
Professional, scientific, and technical services 11
Printing and related support activities 10

Work Schedules

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

How to Become a Desktop Publisher About this section

Desktop publishers
Desktop publishers typically learn on the job from an experienced worker.

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.

Pay About this section

Desktop Publishers

Median annual wages, May 2019

Desktop publishers

$45,390

Total, all occupations

$39,810

Other office and administrative support workers

$34,670

 

The median annual wage for desktop publishers was $45,390 in May 2019. 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 $23,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,190.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for desktop publishers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Printing and related support activities $48,720
Professional, scientific, and technical services 46,690
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 38,380

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

Job Outlook About this section

Desktop Publishers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Other office and administrative support workers

-6%

Desktop publishers

-19%

 

Employment of desktop publishers is projected to decline 19 percent from 2019 to 2029.

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, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Desktop publishers

43-9031 10,400 8,400 -19 -2,000 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about the printing industry, visit

Printing Industries of America

O*NET

Desktop Publishers

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