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Careers in Digital Publishing: Job Options and Education Requirements

Digital publishers require some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and job options to see if you should pursue a career in digital publishing.

Although postsecondary training may not be required to become a digital publisher, it is common for those entering this field to have an associate's degree, and with a bachelor's degree and a professional certificate in digital publishing there may be more job prospects.

Essential Information

Digital publishers, a specialized subset of desktop publishers, create Internet multimedia materials and publications. They may be called upon to perform writing, editing and design layout tasks. Many companies are moving publishing material to the Internet, so skills in digital publishing may be useful. With the popularity of electronic books increasing, eBooks and magazine publishing are growing segments in the field of digital publishing.

Recommended Education Associate's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -21% (Desktop Publisher)
Average Annual Salary (2015)* $43,900 (Desktop Publisher)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Options

Digital publishing careers can be found at a variety of levels and fields. Communication design and production is required in many companies and fields that produce materials such as newsletters, brochures and forms. Many companies are moving publishing material to the Internet, so skills in digital publishing may be useful. Electronic book and magazine publishing are growing segments in the field of digital publishing with the popularity of eBooks increasing.

In 2015, desktop publishers held 13,240 jobs, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment of desktop publishers is expected to see a 21% decrease from 2014 to 2024, due largely to automation and greater ease of use of desktop publishing software. As of May 2015, desktop publishers earned a median annual income of $39,840.

Education Requirements

Desktop and digital publishing skills can be learned on the job, but although postsecondary education may not be required for this field, aspiring publishers can enroll in programs at multiple levels to gain an understanding of the field. At the undergraduate level, associate degree programs in desktop publishing are available, which could offer courses in subjects like visual communication, page layouts, marketing, digital imaging and Web publishing.

For an individual who already holds a bachelor's degree, a professional certificate in digital publishing could lend specialization to a related undergraduate major or a professional occupation. These programs may be completed in 12 months and could include coursework in more specialized areas of the field, like E-readers, Internet marketing, app publishing, blogging and search engine optimization. Students may also learn to use programs like InDesign, Dreamweaver and Photoshop.

Master's degree programs may be offered in publishing, and in some rare cases, in digital publishing. Publishing coursework at the master's degree level could include subjects like copyright law, electronic publishing and distribution. A thesis or professional project may be required for completion of a master's degree program.

Digital editors write, edit and design layouts of information for the Internet, and some tasks they may perform include designing websites or apps, or formatting manuscripts for electronic book publication. Many learn on the job, but there are college degree programs that include courses in digital publishing. Jobs in this field are expected to decline tremendously from 2014-2014.


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