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Desktop Publishers - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Workers with limited training and experience assist more experienced staff on projects while they learn the software and gain practical experience. They advance on the basis of their demonstrated mastery of skills. Some may move into supervisory or management positions. Other desktop publishers may start their own companies or work as independent consultants, while those with more artistic talent and further education may find job opportunities in graphic design or commercial art.

Desktop publishers held about 26,400 jobs in 2008. Approximately 38 percent worked for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers, while 21 percent worked in the printing and related support activities industry. Other desktop publishers work for professional, scientific, and technical services firms and in many other industries that produce printed or published materials.

The printing and publishing industries are two of the most geographically dispersed industries in the United States, and desktop publishing jobs are found throughout the country. Although most jobs are in large metropolitan cities, electronic communication networks and the Internet allow some desktop publishers to work from other locations.

Job Outlook
Employment is expected to decline rapidly because more people are learning basic desktop publishing skills as a part of their regular job functions in other occupations and because more organizations are formatting materials for display on the Internet rather than designing pages for print publication.

Job Growth
Employment of desktop publishers is expected to decline 23 percent between 2008 and 2018. Desktop publishing has become a frequently used and common tool for designing and laying out printed matter, such as advertisements, brochures, newsletters, and forms. However, increased computer-processing capacity and the widespread availability of more elaborate desktop publishing software will make it easier and more affordable for nonprinting professionals to use. As a result, there will be less need for people to specialize in desktop publishing.

In addition, organizations are increasingly moving their published material to the Internet to save the cost of printing and distributing materials. This change will slow the growth of desktop publishers, especially in smaller membership and trade organizations, which publish newsletters and brief reports. Companies that produce more extensive reports and rely on high-quality, high-resolution color and graphics within their publications, however, will continue to use desktop publishers to lay out publications for offset printing.

There will be some job opportunities for desktop publishers because of the need to replace workers who move into managerial positions, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force. However, job prospects will be better for those with experience; many employers prefer to hire experienced desktop publishers because of the long time it takes to become good at this type of work. Among individuals with little or no experience, opportunities should be best for those with computer backgrounds, those with certification in desktop publishing, or those who have completed a postsecondary program in desktop publishing, graphic design, or Web design.

Wages for desktop publishers vary according to level of experience, training, geographic location, and company size. Median annual wages of desktop publishers were $36,600 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,140 and $47,870. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $59,210 a year. Median annual wages of desktop publishers in May 2008 were $39,870 in printing and related support services and $33,130 in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers.

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