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Career profile Typesetter

Also known as Advertising Associate, Computer Typesetter, Desktop Publishing Specialist, Electronic Console Display Operator, Electronic Imager, Mac Operator


Also known as Advertising Associate, Computer Typesetter, Desktop Publishing Specialist

Interests Profile
  • Artistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$24,530 - $81,240 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
  • Judgment and Decision Making
Knowledge Areas
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Communications and Media
  • Administrative
Core tasks
  • Operate desktop publishing software and equipment to design, lay out, and produce camera-ready copy.
  • Position text and art elements from a variety of databases in a visually appealing way to design print or web pages, using knowledge of type styles and size and layout patterns.
  • Check preliminary and final proofs for errors and make necessary corrections.
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What does a Typesetter do?

Typesetters format typescript and graphic elements using computer software to produce publication-ready material.

What kind of tasks does a Typesetter perform regularly?

Typesetters are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Operate desktop publishing software and equipment to design, lay out, and produce camera-ready copy.
  • Position text and art elements from a variety of databases in a visually appealing way to design print or web pages, using knowledge of type styles and size and layout patterns.
  • Check preliminary and final proofs for errors and make necessary corrections.
  • View monitors for visual representation of work in progress and for instructions and feedback throughout process, making modifications as necessary.
  • Enter text into computer keyboard and select the size and style of type, column width, and appropriate spacing for printed materials.
  • Prepare sample layouts for approval, using computer software.
  • Import text and art elements, such as electronic clip art or electronic files from photographs that have been scanned or produced with a digital camera, using computer software.
  • Study layout or other design instructions to determine work to be done and sequence of operations.
  • Select number of colors and determine color separations.
  • Convert various types of files for printing or for the Internet, using computer software.
  • Enter digitized data into electronic prepress system computer memory, using scanner, camera, keyboard, or mouse.
  • Edit graphics and photos, using pixel or bitmap editing, airbrushing, masking, or image retouching.
  • Enter data, such as coordinates of images and color specifications, into system to retouch and make color corrections.

The above responsibilities are specific to Typesetters. More generally, Typesetters are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is a Typesetter salary?

The median salary for a Typesetter is $47,560, and the average salary is $50,600. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Typesetter salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Typesetters earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Typesetters earn less than $24,530 per year, 25% earn less than $35,150, 75% earn less than $62,420, and 90% earn less than $81,240.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Typesetters is expected to change by -12.2%, and there should be roughly 800 open positions for Typesetters every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$24,530 - $81,240
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Typesetters?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Typesetter are usually higher in their Artistic and Investigative interests.

Typesetters typically have very strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Also, Typesetters typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Typesetter tend to value Achievement, Support, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Typesetters strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Typesetters moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Typesetters moderately value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Typesetters must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Typesetters, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Typesetters need?

Typesetters often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Typesetters usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Typesetters

  • 2.1% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 18.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 27.5% completed some college coursework
  • 12.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 28.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 9.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Typesetters

Typesetters may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as computers and electronics, communications and media, or administrative knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Typesetters might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Important Abilities needed by Typesetters

Typesetters must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Typesetters need abilities such as near vision, information ordering, and originality in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Typesetters, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Typesetters

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Typesetters frequently use skills like reading comprehension, critical thinking, and judgment and decision making to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Typesetters, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.