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How Do I Become a Typesetter?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2014
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An individual who wants to become a typesetter prepares for a job to create and arrange text in a pleasing manner prior for printing. There’s no strict level of education a person needs in order to become a typesetter. The educational requirements typically depend on the preferences of the particular employer. Some are satisfied with high school graduates while others prefer candidates with bachelor's degrees. Often, experience is more important for a person who wants to become a typesetter.

Years ago, typesetters did their work by hand, but today, most typesetters use computers to perform their jobs. They use computers and computer equipment to type text and import images. They then uses layout software to arrange the text and images in a manner that appeals to the eye. If working as a freelance typesetter, he often has to create a budget for his projects and negotiate fees and deadlines with potential clients and printers as well. He may also create mock-ups of styles from which clients may choose.

Some employers may be willing to hire a typesetter who has minimal education, such as a high school diploma or its equivalent. Sometimes, however, printers and publishers prefer to hire individuals who’ve earned an associate’s degree in print production or a bachelor’s degrees in graphic design. Some may accept applicants who’ve earned certificates in one of these areas. Usually, a person who wants to become a typesetter also takes classes in desktop publishing.

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Regardless of the education a person attains when preparing to become a typesetter, there are certain skills and qualities he'll usually need for this job. First, he usually needs good communication skills, as he may have to negotiate with typesetting clients or with printers. He should also be detail oriented and have a talent for making good design and color choices. Additionally, a person may be well prepared for this job if he has knowledge of fonts, printing presses, and publishing practices and processes.

A person who wants to become a typesetter usually needs some experience to perform well in this job. An individual may gain experience as an intern or apprentice. Though some employers may offer on-the-job training, most want typesetters with some skill and knowledge of the equipment used in typesetting. An individual may also prepare for this job by experimenting with layout software and digital-imaging equipment on his own.

When he’s ready to apply for a job, a person who wants to become a typesetter may contact local newspapers to look for work. He may also contact publishing houses, pre-press firms, and specialty publishing firms to apply for a job. He may even find typesetting job listings on online job sites or in the classified section of his local newspaper.

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