Desktop Publishing Degree Programs with Course Information

Training in desktop publishing can be obtained with an associate's degree, but there are also bachelor's degree programs available in the field. These programs teach students how to design and lay out documentation in a variety of media.

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Essential Information

Desktop publishing students learn how to design pages for Web and print publication. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs teach students about the production phases of publication. Students learn to utilize several types of desktop publishing software and study the principles of graphic design. Prospective students must submit high school or college transcripts, and may need to submit college entrance exam scores. Some colleges and universities request applicants come in for interviews prior to enrollment. Students who complete these programs generally graduate with a portfolio of their best work, and bachelor's degree programs often require an internship.

Associate of Applied Science in Desktop Publishing

Students in associate's-level desktop publishing programs learn how to use computer software for page design, page layout, writing and editing. Many programs allow students to gain hands-on experience through internships. Completion of a portfolio project may be required. Graduates of this program should be proficient in developing and producing corporate documents and other publications. The curriculum in a desktop publishing program usually takes two years to complete and includes classes in particular software programs, such as Illustrator, InDesign or FrameMaker. The following coursework is typical for an associate's degree program in desktop publishing:

  • Web design
  • Digital imaging
  • Multimedia design
  • Technical and business writing
  • Computer illustration and design
  • Desktop publishing fundamentals

Bachelor of Science in Desktop and Web Publishing

A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program is ideal for students who want to learn advanced design and technical skills in desktop and Web publishing. Students gain a well-rounded education on art and design through classes in drawing, painting, photography, and graphic design. The program usually culminates in a portfolio project that students can present to prospective employers. Internships are a standard requirement for most desktop publishing bachelor's programs. Coursework in a four-year baccalaureate-level desktop publishing program focuses on important design elements used in print, Web, and multimedia publications. Typical classes may include the following:

  • Typography
  • Graphic design
  • Digital publishing
  • Visual arts fundamentals
  • Design communication
  • Computer illustration & page layout

Continuing Education

No specific graduate degree programs in desktop publishing exist, but bachelor's degree holders who wish to add additional skills to their resumes may consider master's programs in related fields such as graphic communication. Students in graphic communication programs learn to apply their knowledge to specific fields, such as marketing, public relations, advertising, and production management. Those who want to test their proficiency in one or more Adobe products should consider the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) certification exam. Professional certification can give prospective employees an edge over their competition.

Salary Info and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, predicts a 21% decline in employment opportunities for desktop publishers between 2014 and 2024. This can be attributed to the ease and availability of desktop publishing software programs for non-printing professionals, as well as the decrease of print publishing. The median annual salary for desktop publishers in May 2015 was $39,840, according to BLS figures.

Both an Associate of Applied Science in Desktop Publishing and a Bachelor of Science in Desktop and Web Publishing provide hands-on and in-class training for individuals wanting to pursue careers in the field. Competition for these students will be tough, with the BLS predicting a 21% drop in the employment of desktop publishers between 2014 and 2024.

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