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Job Outlook for:
Desktop Publishers

SOC: 43-9031        OOH: U256

Desktop Publishers
Quick Stats
Total Jobs in 2016 14,600
Expected Growth -14%    (Decline)
New Jobs To Be Added
from 2016 to 2026
Median Pay $35,000 to $54,999



Employment Outlook for Desktop Publishers

Employment of desktop publishers is projected to decline 14 percent from 2016 to 2026.

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.




Typical Pay for Desktop Publishers

The median annual wage for desktop publishers was $41,090 in May 2016. 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 $23,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,290.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for desktop publishers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $47,850
Administrative and support services 44,330
Printing and related support activities 39,960
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 37,080

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


What Desktop Publishers Do All Day

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


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 for Desktop Publishers

Desktop publishers held about 14,600 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of desktop publishers were as follows:

Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 31%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 14
Printing and related support activities 9
Self-employed workers 7
Administrative and support services 6

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

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


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.


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.






"Desktop Publishers"   SOC:  43-9031     OOH Code: U256

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