Desktop Publishing School and College Program Information

Desktop publishing is the use of computer software to design page layouts and create written and visual documents for publication. Many schools' programs award certificates or associate's degrees in desktop publishing. Some programs are standalone, but desktop publishing can also be taught within communications, media studies or graphic design programs.

Essential Information

Students of these programs will learn about layout techniques, typography, publishing software and text design. Certificate programs are usually between 18 and 30 credit hours long. People who earn a certificate in desktop publishing often continue their studies to earn an undergraduate degree in a related field if they don't immediately enter the workforce. Those seeking a 2-year degree will typically be awarded an Associate in Applied Science. People with knowledge of desktop publishing can work in fields like technical writing, creative writing, graphic design and typography.

  • Program Levels in Desktop Publishing: Certificate programs, Associate's degrees
  • Program Length: 18-30 credit hours (certificate), 2 years (associate's)
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma, capability of learning new software, strong communications skills
  • Prospective Fields: Technical Writing, Creative Writing, Graphic Design

Certificate Programs in Desktop Publishing

These programs cover topics related to software, design and content creation. Students in these programs often take classes on the subjects mentioned below:

  • Design fundamentals
  • Desktop publishing software
  • Page layout
  • Typography
  • Designing text for publication

Associate's Degree Programs in Desktop Publishing

These programs require students to learn about business concepts and computer software relevant to creating documents in an office setting. Programs in administrative support that offer specializations in desktop publishing usually place more emphasis on business skills than on publishing software. Typical coursework covers the following topics:

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Publishing software
  • Typography

Popular Career Options

People who earn AAS degrees in desktop publishing often work in office settings creating documents for print and online use. AAS programs in desktop publishing prepare students for these and similar careers:

  • Administrative assistant
  • Office manager
  • Graphic design professional

A desktop publishing certificate teaches the skills needed for entry-level careers in fields like publishing, writing and graphic design. The careers listed below are popular options for those with certificates in desktop publishing:

  • Technical writer
  • Newsletter publisher
  • Graphic designer

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