Layout Editor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 28, 2019

A layout editor requires significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Layout editors design and format pages or other materials for print or online use. They require either an associate's or a bachelor's degree. Positions for all desktop publishers, including layout editors, are expected to see a steep decline in the coming decade.

Essential Information

Layout editors are primarily responsible for designing the format of publications, such as magazines, newspapers, books and online materials. They utilize layout software to assemble text, photographs and other content in an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-read arrangement. Depending on their specific duties, layout editors may also be referred to as desktop publishers, publications specialists, prepress technicians or a variety of similar titles. Many employers prefer applicants with a degree in graphic communication, arts or design.

Required Education Associate degree or some postsecondary training
Other Requirements Computer skills
Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028) -3% for all editors*
Median Annual Salary (2018) $59,480 for all editors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Layout Editor Duties

Layout editors do most of their work on computers. They manipulate design properties, such as type size, font style, spacing, column width and placement, using software that allows them to view each page as it would appear in print. After a publication is finished, they may be required to deliver it to the printer. Since most publications are also available online, layout editors are often responsible for transferring material to the Internet using Web publishing software. They may also perform other editorial tasks, such as creating captions, writing articles and copyediting content.

Layout Editor Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), opportunities for editors in general are expected to decline between 2018 and 2028. As the number of print publications declines, so does the need for traditional print editors. Professionals earned a mean annual wage of $69,480 in May 2018, also according to the BLS.

Layout Editor Requirements

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree program in graphic arts offers students training in publishing software and design concepts used in the occupation. Courses typically include Web media, typography, prepress production and portfolio development. Similarly, many technical schools and community colleges offer certificate or associate degree programs in graphic arts.

Additional Qualifications

This career requires a creative capacity, strong attention to detail and the ability to visualize the final product during the design process. Layout editors must be able to work independently but should also possess the communication skills needed to collaborate with peers and take instructions from clients and supervisors. Since layout editors spend most of their time on computers, technology proficiency is necessary. Basic math skills are also beneficial because laying out publications may involve solving ratio problems when resizing images to scale.

Layout editors usually complete an undergraduate degree in graphic arts or a similar field. They require graphics and design software proficiency. These positions have a median salary of around $59,000.

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