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Publishing Careers

Career Description

Publishers produce a variety of publications, including magazines, books, newspapers, and directories.

Common Work Tasks

  • Use computer software to format and combine text, data, photographs, charts, and other graphic art or illustrations into prototypes of pages and other documents that are to be printed
  • Print documents using a high resolution printer or they may send the materials, either in print form or electronically, to a commercial printer
  • Produce books, brochures, calendars, magazines,  newsletters and newspapers, packaging, and forms
  • Design and create the graphics that accompany text, convert photographs and illustrations into digital images, and manipulate the text and images to display information in an attractive and readable format
  • Design page layouts, develop presentations and advertising campaigns, and do color separation of pictures and graphics material
  • Translate electronic information onto film or other traditional media if the final product will be sent to an off-set printer
  • Use a computer and appropriate software to enter and select formatting properties, such as the size and style of type, column width, and spacing
  • Use scanners to capture photographs, images, or art as digital data that can be either incorporated directly into electronic page layouts or further manipulated with the use of computer software

Other Job Titles

Publishers are also known by other titles, including:

  • Graphic Artists
  • Writers
  • Electronic Data Processors
  • Advertising Specialists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
There is generally no educational requirement for the job of publisher. Most people learn on the job or by taking classes on line or through local learning centers that teach the latest software. For those who are interested in pursuing a career in publishing, an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts, graphic communications, or graphic design is preferred. Graphic arts programs are a good way to learn about the publishing software used to format pages; assign type characteristics; and import text and graphics into electronic page layouts. The programs teach print and graphic design fundamentals and provide an extensive background in imaging, prepress operations, print reproduction, and emerging media. Courses in other aspects of printing also are available at vocational-technical institutes,  industry-sponsored update and retraining programs, and private trade and technical schools.

Publishers need good manual dexterity, and they must be able to pay attention to detail and work independently. Good eyesight, including visual acuity, depth perception, a wide field of view, color vision, and the ability to focus quickly also are assets. Artistic ability often is a plus. Employers also seek persons who are even tempered and adaptable—important qualities for workers who often must meet deadlines and learn how to operate new equipment.


The median annual salary for a Publisher is $35,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $57,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $21,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of publishers are:

  • Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers- $35,070
  • Printing and Related Support Activities  - $39,360
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises  - $42,800
  • Business Support Services - $39,410
  • Advertising and Related Services  - $42,840

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  1%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 300
  • Employment 2006 : 32,000
  • Employment 2016:  32,000
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