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2020 Publishing Degree Guide

Being a publisher gives you the ability to create visually stimulating layouts. Publishers take information, shift it into a distributable form, and advertise it to the general public. They work to ensure other people's messages are read and received by others. They can do everything from editing and designing book covers to producing and selling a final product.

As a student, you will take classes in computer hardware and software, digital imaging, page layout and design, desktop publishing, graphic design, and other courses that will teach you how to layout and arrange text or images. The curriculum will also focus on businesses classes such as marketing and finance.

Rapid Growth in Publishing Degrees Awarded

#321 Most Popular Major
246 Degrees Awarded
8.5% Increase in Graduates

In 2017-2018, publishing was the 321st most popular major nationwide with 246 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 21 over the prior year, a growth of 8.5%.

The United States has 4 different schools where you can get a degree in publishing. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of publishing programs later in this article.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Publishing

Publishing is a great major for someone who is creative and a multi-tasker. Publishers will do much of their work on computers making this a good job for those who understand and enjoy working with different types of software. Those who are successful in publishing pay close attention to detail and have excellent time management skills to ensure deadlines are kept and met. Meeting those deadlines takes a lot of hard work and can mean working overtime. Current publishers note that publishing can be hectic and, at times, can take up most of your free time.

It is recommended that those who are interested in publishing gain experience at a magazine, newspaper, website, or other publishing firm. This will teach you the basic tasks and prepare you for a career in publishing. Other opportunities to gain experience in publishing are by working with your campus' newspaper, magazine, or journal.

Getting Accepted Into a Publishing Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most publishing degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic publishing program qualifications, to serve in some publishing careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Types of Publishing Degrees

There are various different levels of publishing degrees. You can get anything from a award taking less than 1 year in publishing to the highest publishing degree, a master's. The type of publishing degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to publishing, with approximately 80.4% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to publishing tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 80.4%
Master’s Degree 17.0%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 1.3%
Post-Master’s Certificate 1.3%

Most workers in publishing have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in publishing have received.


The education level required is different depending on the publishing career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Publishing Graduate

Below Average Number of Jobs
$43.6k Average Starting Salary
-1% Decline Job Outlook 2016-26

A major in Publishing could lead to a variety of careers. While many graduates may decide to work for a publishing house, magazine, or website, there are plenty of other jobs graduates are qualified for. These include a career in book promotions and sales, advertising, project management, and writing. Some graduates decide to pursue an advanced degree and go into the fields of law, business or education.

As fewer newspapers, books, and magazines are being published in print, there will be likely decrease in the amount of publishers needed.

Small Decline Projected for Publishing Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your publishing degree?

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to publishing.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Editors 125,600 -1.4%

Publishing Degree Salary Potential

Publishing graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $43,650 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $35,100 to as high as $55,400. As you might expect, salaries for publishing graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Publishing Majors

Salaries for publishing graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers publishing grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Editors $69,480

Getting Your Publishing Degree

With over 22 different publishing degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased publishing school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Publishing

Publishing is one of 5 different types of Communication & Journalism programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Communication & Media Studies 68,023
Public Relations & Advertising 19,507
Journalism 15,914
Radio, Television & Digital Communication 14,960
Communication & Journalism (Other) 1,920

View All Publishing Related Majors >


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