Layout Editor: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for layout editors. Get the facts about job duties, salary expectations and education requirements to determine whether this is the right career for you. Schools offering Visual Communication degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Layout Editor?

Layout editors arrange information such as text, graphics and photographs for visual media, such as online and print formats. This is rarely a standalone position anymore, so the person responsible for designing the look of a piece might also be responsible for editing and proofreading its written content, editing photos and creating graphic elements such as charts or maps. If working on webpages, editors may use HTML coding or some form of website building program. In most cases, you will also be tasked with formatting work using writing styles standard to the field you work in. More information about this career is outlined in the table.

Degree Required Bachelor's Degree
Education Field of Study Communications
Journalism
Graphic Design
Key Skills Proficiency with computer design software; editing and proofreading; time management
Job Growth (2014-2024) -5% for all editors*
Median Salary (2015) $56,010 for all editors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Skills Do I Need to Become a Layout Editor?

As a layout editor, your job is to approve the composition and appearance of a page's stories, graphics, photos or other visual components. The tasks that layout editors perform may be incorporated into other positions, including those of executive editors, supervising editors or associate editors. To do your job effectively, you must have a strong knowledge of page layout and excellent interpersonal communication skills, according to February 2011 job postings for these positions on CareerBuilder.com.

Layout responsibilities may also be given to copy or design editors. A January 2011 search for these job postings on JournalismJobs.com reveals that some employers have publications with quick turnaround schedules, so you may need good time management skills to meet tight deadlines. You may also need strong headline writing, proofreading and decision-making skills. Because most of your work will be done on computers, you will also need to be proficient with graphic design and editing software applications.

What Education Do I Need?

According to job postings on CareerBuilder.com and JournalismJobs.com, employers require editors of all kinds to have a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications or graphic design. Some schools offer journalism and communication degrees with a concentration in magazine production or publication design, which may include additional coursework in page layout and design. Many of these courses also provide you with first-hand writing and editing experience in a lab setting.

Graphic design bachelor's degree programs offer hands-on training in typography and art direction, both of which might be applicable to print or online publications. You might also spend a considerable amount of time working with computer graphics software applications. Before graduating you might need to complete a portfolio, which can be used for job interviews.

What About Experience?

Many employers require associate editors, design editors and copy editors to have 1-3 years of experience. Some of this experience can be gained through internships with your school newspaper or alumni magazine, according to JournalismJobs.com postings. If you are applying for a job as an executive or supervising editor, you might need 3-5 years of experience, as stated by CareerBuilder.com job posts.

What Salary Could I Earn?

Compensation for editors may vary by industry, location and level of experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for editors as of May 2015 was $56,010; the median hourly salary was $26.93 (www.bls.gov). A survey reported in January 2017 by PayScale.com reported the median salary for editors to be $49,872, with median wages of $20 an hour. Some employers might also hire applicants on a contract basis.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

When comparing the editorial aspects of the careers, technical writers do work similar to layout editors. Since these writers explain and format instruction manuals, scientific journal articles and other instructional material that require the communication of complex information, they need to insure their writing is clear and follows strict writing guidelines. Similar to layout editors they may start a career with a bachelor's in journalism, English, or communications. When it comes to skills related to laying out content, layout editors share similar tasks as art directors. Art directors are responsible for ensuring that the positioning of artwork in printed and multimedia productions is aesthetically pleasing. These professionals have a bachelor's degree in art or another related field.

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