Desktop Publishing Specialists


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Classes that will help you develop desktop publishing skills include computer courses and design and art classes. Computer classes should include both hardware and software, since understanding how computers function will help you with troubleshooting and knowing a computer's limits. Through photography classes you can learn about composition, color, and design elements. Typing, drafting, and print shop classes, if available, will also provide you with the opportunity to gain some indispensable skills. Working on the school newspaper or yearbook will train you on desktop publishing skills as well, including page layout, typesetting, composition, and working under a deadline.

Postsecondary Training

Although a college degree is not a prerequisite, many desktop publishing specialists have at least an associate's degree. Areas of study range anywhere from English to graphic or digital design. Some two-year colleges and technical institutes offer programs in desktop publishing or related fields. A growing number of schools offer programs in technical and visual communications, which may include classes in desktop publishing, layout and design, and computer graphics. Four-year colleges also offer courses in technical communications and graphic design. You can enroll in classes related to desktop publishing through extended education programs offered through universities and colleges. These classes, often taught by professionals in the industry, cover basic desktop publishing techniques and advanced lessons on Adobe Photoshop or QuarkXPress.


Many colleges and universities offer certificates in desktop publishing or related fields. Contact schools in your area to learn about available programs. 

Other Education or Training

Desktop publishing specialists must continuously update their skills throughout their careers. Classes on new types or versions of software, design concepts, and related topics are provided by software vendors, professional associations, and colleges and universities.  

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification is not required for desktop publishing specialists. Some software vendors, such as Adobe, offer training and certification for those who use their programs. Obtaining such a certification can help show an employer that you understand the software and possess a professional level of proficiency using it.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Most experience is gained through on-the-job training. Skills can also be developed through postsecondary education courses to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree. Those pursuing a career in this field should be detail-oriented, possess problem-solving skills, and have a sense of design and artistic skills. An aptitude for computers and good typing skills are important, as is a calm temperament for working under the pressure of constant deadlines. You should also be flexible and be able to handle more than one project at a time. Good customer service skills are important because many desktop publishers get new work via positive reviews from satisfied customers.