Typesetting involves the formatting and presentation of text in graphic form for printing purposes. In the past typesetting was done in print shops, by hand or with machines. Now computers do it automatically. Typesetters are in demand by publishing houses, newspapers and magazine companies. A typesetter must also have artistic ability in projecting what a project should look like before completing the typeset.
The typical duties of a typesetter will include the operation and maintenance of different equipment such as computers, central processing units and film processors. The maintenance of machines includes maintaining paper and disk supplies as well as reprogramming computers to desired formats. A typesetter’s duties include keying all types of forms, brochures, newsletters and manuscripts on keyboards or input terminals to produce a typeset copy. Advanced typesetter’s duties may include employee management including labor costs, and hours.
The qualifications of a typesetter include a high school education, and possibly a college degree. Extensive knowledge in the correct usage of the English language including punctuation, grammar and spelling is required. Knowledge of technical typesetting rules coding and terminology is required for a typesetter position. Printing requirements, processes, and knowledge of photolithography and binding processes may also be required for a typesetter. A typesetter must be able to type a minimum of 50 words per minute with minimal errors, and have knowledge of typeface styles and sizes.
Types of Typesetters
Positions in typesetting range in expertise level and starts at beginning, intermediate and advanced level typesetters. After achieving expertise, a typesetter may have a title similar to advanced printing typesetter, which means the typesetter is at an advanced level and completes complex typesetting duties at or beyond expectations. An advanced printing typesetter may also be involved in the training of beginning typesetters.
According to the PayScale, the average hourly wage of a typesetter was $12.45, with the highest percentile receiving $33,000 annually. Competition in the future is expected to be high and graphic design experience, as well as computer experience, will be advantageous to a typesetter.