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Desktop Publishing School and College Program Information

Find out about certificate and degree programs in desktop publishing. Learn what the prerequisites are, what courses will be taken and what careers are pursued by graduates of these types of programs.

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Essential 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.

Students of these programs will learn about layout techniques, typography, publishing software and text design. 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.


Certificate in Desktop Publishing

Desktop publishing 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.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants to desktop publishing certificate programs should be high school graduates with demonstrated academic capability. Though very few, if any, prerequisites are specified by schools offering these programs, applicants should be creative and capable of learning new software programs.

Program Coursework

Desktop publishing certificate 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

Popular Career Options

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

Associate's Degree in Desktop Publishing

People can learn about desktop publishing at the associate's degree level either through administrative support programs that offer a specialization in desktop publishing or through stand-alone programs in the subject. The most common type of associate's degree in desktop publishing is a Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.

Educational Prerequisites

Schools offering AAS programs in desktop publishing look for students who with demonstrated academic capabilities and strong communication skills. Applicants should also be able to operate computers and need to be creative.

Program Coursework

Desktop publishing AAS 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. The topics below are usually covered in desktop publishing AAS programs:

  • 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
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