Working in publishing with A levels (or similar)

Publishing is a very competitive industry. Most people applying for jobs will have a degree.

You might find it hard to get in with just A levels or similar. However, with good GCSE and A level grades, you could get a job in administration, operations or production roles. Relevant work experience or voluntary work could help you prove what skills you have and help you to get a first job.

Example jobs

Entry-level jobs are often taken by people with degrees, but assistant and trainee roles may be available

Digital operations assistant
Checks and inputs information into databases, for example to produce ebooks.

Administrative assistant
Helps keep paperwork organised, takes messages, photocopies. Could lead on to proofreading and editing opportunities through internal promotion.

Print production assistant or trainee
Supports the printing and binding of the final book or magazine, and its distribution.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

It may be difficult to find work in this industry without a degree.

However, jobs in administration or production may be open to you. You will need to start at the bottom. Salaries will increase as you gain experience.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • You are likely to work in an office, at a computer.
  • The office will usually be busy.
  • Working hours are usually 9am to 5pm.
  • Most publishers do not mind you wearing smart-casual clothes.

Qualifications needed

  • Good grades at GCSEs and A level and strong literacy and numeracy skills are very important to get a job in publishing.
  • However, you will be competing for jobs with people who have degrees.
  • If you want to work on the planning and producing of books, magazines, etc., it is a good idea to think about going to university.

Career path

  • Employers may offer you further training. Grab any opportunities to learn new skills.
  • Promotion is often available within large organisations. With experience you may be able to progress to more senior roles.
  • Consider taking a course to improve your skills, for example in copyediting and proofreading.

Useful links

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Creative Skillset: careers in publishing

Information about working in publishing

National Careers Service

Find out about careers in publishing

British Printing Industries Federation

Information about careers in printing