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Textbook Editing and Publishing Careers: Options and Requirements

Textbook editing and publishing training is generally part of undergraduate and graduate programs in creative writing or publishing. Continue reading for an overview of the training, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Those interested in pursuing a career in textbook editing and publishing can consider work as a managing editor, copy editor, or desktop publisher. Desktop publishers are required to have an Associate of Arts in Graphic Design. Editors need a bachelor's degree, typically in English, journalism or a related field.

Essential Information

Textbook editing and publishing is a field that offers a variety of career options, including jobs for managing editors, copy editors and desktop publishers. A bachelor's degree or higher is typically required for editors, while desktop publishers may only need an associate's degree. All of these professionals need strong written and oral communication skills, and desktop publishers also need graphic design expertise.

Career Editor Desktop Publisher
Required Education Bachelor's degree Associate's degree
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 5% decline 21% decline
Median Salary (2015)* $56,010 $39,840

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

The textbook editing and publishing industry has a variety of career paths depending on an individual's skillset. Those professionals who enjoy working with the written word may consider becoming editors, while more graphic and design-intensive work is the responsibility of desktop publishers.

Managing Editors

Managing editors oversee the day-to-day operations of an educational publishing team. Ensuring that the information provided for a project is accurate and informative is a major responsibility for a managing editor. They must be experienced in time management to guarantee that critical deadlines are met. The ability to work with personnel who come from a variety of educational backgrounds can also be beneficial.

Copy Editors

Copy editors must be detail oriented, because they are responsible for checking the readability and structure of written material before it is accepted for publication. Many editors have a background in writing, so they're experienced in making sure the spelling, grammar and style of an article or textbook chapter are accurate.

Desktop Publishers

Desktop publishers plan layouts for books, newspapers and other forms of printed and online text. They may approve proofs, finalize or edit graphics and choose appropriate file formats.

Requirements for Textbook Editors and Publishers

Most textbook publishing companies require that their editors hold at least a bachelor's degree in English or a related field. These 4-year degree programs prepare an individual for a career in editing and publishing through course options such as creative and technical writing, editing and revising, research skills and media ethics. Desktop publishers may only need an associate's degree in graphic design.

An advanced degree may be required by some publishing houses, depending on the position and educational level required by a specific project. A master's degree in English offers coursework in English syntax and semantics, advanced writing, literary criticism and linguistics. Certificate programs in editing and publishing are also offered by some universities for students who obtain degrees in English. These programs can provide highly specialized training.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 5% decline in overall editor employment over the 2014-2024 decade. The median salary for editors reported by the BLS in May 2015 was $56,010. January 2016 salary information from PayScale.com reported that editors earned between $31,264 and $78,755 annually. The BLS also expects a 21% decline in desktop publisher employment from 2014 to 2024. Most desktop publishers in general earned between $23,150 and $68,670 in May 2015.

Copy editors review written work for structure, readability, and technical errors; managing editors oversee their publishing team and the day-to-day operations. On the other hand, desktop publishers create the layout and design of content in print and online. All of these career fields can expect job decline from 2014 to 2024, and those planning to pursue work as an editor or desktop publisher can expect strong competition for job openings.

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