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Most Common Ways to Get Desktop Publishing Training

Take a class. Teach yourself. Get a degree. Learn on-the-job.


Desktop publishing training can be formal, informal, or on-the-job training.

Free classes and tutorials found online offer flexible, self-paced learning while on-site classes, seminars, and distance learning programs offer expert instructors. Desktop publishing training videos and CD-ROMs provide visually-oriented training in your own home, at our own pace. Many employers readily accept on-the-job desktop publishing training in lieu of degrees or certification.

You can make more money by knowing desktop publishing so start now to get the training you need.

I created an infographic based on responses to polls asking readers of this site about their training. Take a look at How Designers Get Their Desktop Publishing Training to learn which methods most graphic designers and desktop publishers rely on to learn their craft.

On-the-Job Training

Get some on-the-job training
Learn while working. Image source: dave at morguefile.com
Unlike many jobs in the computer industry, desktop publishing training and educational requirements most often take the form of non-degree courses and on-the-job training. Entry-level jobs and internships provide on-the-job training that can be a stepping stone to better positions or even future self-employment in desktop publishing. While on-the-job training may be the easiest training to acquire, it can take longer to move up the ladder if not supplemented by other desktop publishing training.

Self-paced, Independent Study

Learn from books, self-paced training. Visual Dictionary of Graphic Design
Read a book. Image: The Visual Dictionary of Graphic Design by Gavin Ambrose & Paul Harris
Those who don't have the time or money for more formal or structured learning opportunities turn to self-paced study. Many avenues of training are available including books, training videos and CD-ROMs, free online tutorials and classes, magazines, and joining a design or software-related club or online discussion group. This type of training is also ideal for those with degrees, certification, or on-the-job training who want to stay up-to-date in the field.

Design or Printing Degree

Get a degree
Image: hjordisyr at flickr; CC license
Some employers may find a degree in printing or the graphic arts attractive. For some graphic design jobs, at least a bachelor's degree may be preferred and a master's degree even more desirable. Even when not required for employment, having a degree offers a great deal of flexibility and perhaps an advantage in finding the right job or a better-paying position.

Design or Desktop Publishing Certification

Adobe InDesign CS5 Box shot © Adobe, Inc.
Get certified in Adobe or other programs. Adobe InDesign CS5 © Adobe, Inc.
Desktop publishing certification training says to the world that you are a highly skilled designer or user of specific types of software. Maybe a graphic design certificate or being an Adobe certified expert (ACE) can enhance your ability to land a job, get higher pay, or maybe the certification training involved will simply help you do work faster and more efficiently by increasing your design and software proficiency.

Instructor-led Classes or Distance Learning

Take a class.
Take a class. Image: Dale Simonson at flickr; CC license
Classes offered by local colleges and courses taken over the Internet offer structured learning of basic, intermediate, and advanced desktop publishing and printing techniques. Distance learning classes are often a good fit for those who need the discipline of a set course but the flexibility to fit the classes into their schedule. With or without being a certified class, this type of desktop publishing training can enhance employability and improve job performance.

Workshops, Conferences, Seminars

Attend a workshop.
Attend a workshop. Image: bjornmeansbear at flickr; CC license
Attending workshops and seminars may be more useful for brushing up on specific skills such as advanced InDesign or Photoshop techniques than for a well-rounded education in desktop publishing techniques. For those with no formal instruction, occasional workshops and instructor-led seminars can supplement and enhance their self-taught or on-the-job training.

Poll: What's Your Primary Desktop Publishing Training?

Tell us how you got the main part of your desktop publishing training. See which training paths are most popular among your peers.

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