Desktop Publisher

Job Duties

Desktop publishers create electronic page layouts using computer software that combines text, numerical data, photographs, charts, and other components to produce material that is ready to be published. Their specific tasks depend on the type of project, and may include writing and editing text, digitally converting photographs, manipulating digital images, creating proposals, developing advertising campaigns, designing accompanying graphics, creating presentations, and performing color separation. Desktop publishers produce many different types of materials, including books, business cards, calendars, magazines, newsletters, and newspapers.

Desktop publishers use computers to alter the layout of material, and are able to create an entire product on screen that looks exactly like it will when it is published. Personal computers have revolutionized the field of desktop publishing, enabling desktop publishers to complete entire projects themselves, projects which used to require many employees and equipment. Technology in the field is advancing rapidly. Today, desktop publishers receive text and other material on disk or over the Internet from their clients. Digital color page-makeup systems, electronic page-layout systems, and off-press color-proofing systems have also dramatically altered the landscape of the occupation.

Job Skills

Desktop publishers need to be very conscious of detail. They must be able to work independently and have good manual dexterity. Eyesight is also very important, including visual acuity, depth perception, a wide field of view, color vision, and the ability to focus quickly. Artistic ability is essential. Desktop publishers should be flexible and adaptable as they often are required to meet tight deadlines.


In 2002, desktop publishers earned a median annual salary of $31,620. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $18,670, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $52,540. The following shows the median annual salaries in the industries employing the greatest number of desktop publishers:

  • Printing and related support activities -- $35,140
  • Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers -- $28,050

Training and Education

The most common educational path leading to employment as a desktop publisher is through a certificate program offered by vocational schools, universities, and colleges, or via the Internet. Most programs take about 1 year, but others may have different lengths. Some students may learn their skills through on-the-job training. Students can also earn an associate's degree in applied science or a bachelor's degree in graphic arts, graphic communications, or graphic design. Graphic arts programs teach the fundamentals of desktop publishing software that has the ability to format pages, assign type characteristics, and import text and graphics into electronic page layouts to produce printed materials such as advertisements, brochures, newsletters, and forms. This type of in-depth training is more for students who plan to eventually move into management positions, whereas 2-year programs offer more limited advancement options.


In 2002, desktop publishers held about 35,000 jobs. More than two thirds worked in the newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishing, and printing and related support activities.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of desktop publishers is expected to increase faster than the average. More page layout and design is being performed in-house using computers and software, creating demand for desktop publishers because this in-house system increases production and lowers costs. Opportunities will be best for those who have experience, or those who have a computer background and have graduated from a postsecondary program in desktop publishing.

For more information on a career as a desktop publisher, please see our directory of offering Media Training

Desktop Publisher Training

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
            • Liberty University's online programs ranked in the top 5 of more than 2,100 online colleges and universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility*
            • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level**
            • No standardized testing if you meet admission requirements
            • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program
            • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Web Design and Development, Bachelor of Science (Online)
            • Full Sail University offers online degree programs that are designed for the world of entertainment, media, arts, and technology. Full Sail's approach is centered on real-world industry experience and creative problem solving.
            • Full Sail uses the experience and knowledge gained from more than three decades of educational innovation to create an unparalleled online education experience that challenges and inspires our students.
            • Learning at Full Sail has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas, and our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy with the aim of being the most people-focused education experience on the web.
            • Through Full Sail’s multitude of online program offerings, students get: One-click access to instructors, Powerful collaborative tools, Interactive learning environments and Innovative curriculum.
            • Full Sail's newest program is the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting. Developed in collaboration with sportscasting veteran Dan Patrick, the goal is to provide students with real world experience both behind and in fornt of the camera.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            Web Design and Development (BS)

            The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started


            Congratulations! Your interest in California College San Diego is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a new career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

            B.S. in Computer Programming
            • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
            • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
            • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
            • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
            • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
            • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Bachelor of Science, Animation & VFX
            • Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
            • Scholarship, financial aid and military benefits are available for students who qualify.
            • Programs taught by award-winning industry professionals in real-world working environments.
            • Features industry-standard facilities including recording studios, soundstages, green screen, movie theatres and more.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            Show more [+]
            • Financial Aid
            Web Development Programming Diploma Program
            Platt College , Ontario
            • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
            • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
            • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
            • 3 campuses in Southern California.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            DEC Professional Photography
            • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
            • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
            • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
            • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
            • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses