Desktop Publishers

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Desktop publishers use computer software to design page layouts for items that are printed or published online.

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

How to Become One: Desktop publishers typically need an associate’s degree. They also receive short-term on-the-job training lasting about 1 month.

Salary: The median annual wage for desktop publishers is $46,910.

Job Outlook: Employment of desktop publishers is projected to decline 14 percent over the next ten years.

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

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a desktop publisher with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Desktop Publisher Jobs

  • Desktop Publishing Specialist - Dynamic Educational Systems, Inc. - Phoenix, AZ

    Associates degree in desktop - publishing , graphic design, graphic communications, or equivalent required. Experience: 1-2 years in desktop - publishing , graphic design, or technical content creation ...

  • DSS DESKTOP PUBLISHER I - Global Connections to Employment - Oklahoma City, OK

    Overview The Desktop Publisher I prepares all types of illustrations for Air Force technical manuals. Duties to include: Read and interpret detailed engineering drawings for conversion into TO ...

  • Graphics/Desktop Operator 2 - RR Donnelley & Sons - Seymour, IN

    Duties and Responsibilities Using electronic page layout software ( desktop publishing software), color correct files, create template layouts and ensure that output files meet internal and external ...

See all Desktop Publisher jobs

What Desktop Publishers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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

Duties of Desktop Publishers

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[About this section] [To Top]

Desktop publishers hold about 9,500 jobs. The largest employers of desktop publishers are as follows:

Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 28%
Self-employed workers 16%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13%
Printing and related support activities 2%

Desktop Publisher 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] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Desktop Publishers near you!

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

Education for Desktop Publishers

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 Publisher 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 for Desktop Publishers

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 for Desktop Publishers

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 Publisher Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for desktop publishers is $46,910. 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 $27,770, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,630.

The median annual wages for desktop publishers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $74,940
Printing and related support activities $48,620
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers $36,980

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

Job Outlook for Desktop Publishers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of desktop publishers is projected to decline 14 percent over the next ten years.

Despite declining employment, about 900 openings for desktop publishers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire

Employment of Desktop Publishers

Companies are expected to hire fewer desktop publishers as desktop-publishing tasks are increasingly performed by other types of workers, such as graphic designers, web designers, and editors. Furthermore, as organizations continue to publish their materials electronically instead of printing them, fewer desktop publishers are expected to be needed.

Employment projections data for Desktop Publishers, 2021-31
Occupational Title Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31
Percent Numeric
Desktop publishers 9,500 8,200 -14 -1,300


A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


Explore more careers: View all Careers or the Top 30 Career Profiles


Search for jobs: