Summary

desktop publishers image
Desktop publishers design layouts for books, newspapers, and other published items.
Quick Facts: Desktop Publishers
2015 Median Pay $39,840 per year
$19.15 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2014 14,800
Job Outlook, 2014-24 -21% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2014-24 -3,100

What Desktop Publishers Do

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

Work Environment

Desktop publishers held about 14,800 jobs in 2014. About one-third of them worked in publishing industries.

How to Become a Desktop Publisher

Desktop publishers typically need an associate’s degree; they also receive short-term on-the-job training lasting about 1 month.

Pay

The median annual wage for desktop publishers was $39,840 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of desktop publishers is projected to decline 21 percent from 2014 to 2024. Companies are expected to hire fewer desktop publishers as other types of workers—such as graphic designers, web designers, and editors—increasingly perform desktop-publishing tasks.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for desktop publishers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of desktop publishers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about desktop publishers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

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 14,800 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most desktop publishers were as follows:

Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 31%
Printing and related support activities 14
Professional, scientific, and technical services 12

About one-third of desktop publishers worked in publishing industries. Others worked for companies in industries that produce their own published materials, such as in professional, scientific, and technical services. 

Work Schedules

Many desktop publishers work full time, and they may need to work additional hours to meet publication deadlines. Some may work various shifts, such as morning, evening, or night.

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, and 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, graphic arts, 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 be able to 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 2015

Desktop publishers

$39,840

Total, all occupations

$36,200

Office and administrative support occupations

$33,200

 

The median annual wage for desktop publishers was $39,840 in May 2015. 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 $23,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $68,670.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for desktop publishers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $45,310
Printing and related support activities 37,670
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 37,160

Many desktop publishers work full time, and they may need to work additional hours to meet publication deadlines. Some may work various shifts, such as morning, evening, or night.

Job Outlook About this section

Desktop Publishers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Total, all occupations

7%

Office and administrative support occupations

2%

Desktop publishers

-21%

 

Employment of desktop publishers is projected to decline 21 percent from 2014 to 2024.

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, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Desktop publishers

43-9031 14,800 11,700 -21 -3,100 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

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

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Editors

Editors

Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.

Bachelor's degree $56,010
Film and video editors and camera operators

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 $55,740
Graphic designers

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

Bachelor's degree $46,900
Multimedia artists and animators

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Multimedia artists and animators create animation and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.

Bachelor's degree $63,970
Technical writers

Technical Writers

Technical writers, also called technical communicators, prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information through an organization’s communications channels.

Bachelor's degree $70,240
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Desktop Publishers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/desktop-publishers.htm (visited June 30, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

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Work Environment

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Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

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Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.