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What do Desktop Publishers do?

Using computer software, these workers combine printed material, numbers, pictures, and charts, to prepare publications. They also write and correct text. They make graphics to go with the text. They change pictures and drawings into digital pictures and then use them. They design page layouts and develop presentations. Some things produced by desktop publishers include books, business cards, calendars, magazines, newsletters, and newspapers. They prepare some material for the Internet.

They use scanners to capture photographs, images, or art as digital data. It can be added directly into electronic page layouts with the use of computer software. They can then correct mistakes.

Depending on the company employing these workers, they may be called publications specialists, electronic publishers, DTP operators, or desktop-publishing editors. They may also have job titles like electronic prepress technicians, electronic-publishing specialists, image designers, typographers, compositors, layout artists, and web publications designers.

They spend many hours in front of a computer monitor. They usually work an 8-hour day, 5 days a week. Some work nights, weekends, and holidays to meet deadlines.

How do you get ready?  

Most workers take classes or complete certificate courses at vocational schools, and colleges, or through the Internet. The average certificate program takes about 1 year. Some train on the job to learn the needed skills. The length of on-the-job training varies by company. A part-time job is another way to gain skill.

Students may obtain an associate degree in applied science or a bachelor's degree in graphic arts, graphic communications, or graphic design.

Formal training is not always needed; those with certificates or degrees will have the best job opportunities. Most employers want people who have good speaking skills and basic computer skills. They should be able to deal with people because they may have to take customers' orders. It is also good to have some artistic ability.

Workers with limited training and skill may start as helpers. All workers should expect to be retrained from time to time to learn about new software and equipment.

How much does this job pay?  

Earnings vary by level of skill, training, location, and size of firm. The middle half earned between $24,030 and $41,280 in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $18,670, and the highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $52,540.

How many jobs are there?  

Desktop publishers held about 35,000 jobs in 2002. Many worked in newspaper, magazine, and book publishing firms.

What about the future?  

Employment of desktop publishers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. Most employers prefer to hire skilled workers who graduated from formal training programs.

Are there other jobs like this?  

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics  

For more comprehensive information on Desktop Publishers see the Careers Database


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