5 minute read

Copy Editor Job Description, Career as a Copy Editor, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree

Median Salary: $53,376 annually

Job Prospects: Good

Job Description

A copy editor corrects and revises the work of a writer. Copy editors usually have a background or knowledge in writing. It’s important to have a strong grasp of grammar, punctuation, and the language to be in this role. Even the strongest writer makes mistakes or can improve upon their content, and this is where copy editors come in bringing them a fresh set of eyes and expertise in this area.

Copy editors review content to be sure it flows well and fits the required style. They work on all types of written content from newspaper articles to books, providing them with a wide range of opportunities. Copy editors rewrite content if it doesn’t read right and inserts suggestions to improve upon the written work. Their role is to ensure the copy flows perfectly and is free of errors and typos. Sometimes they help with writing responsibilities because they are considered experts in their field.

Copy editors typically work for a company to modify, revise, and edit work of writers on staff or on contract. They may also work within an advertising agency or for a company directly. Copy editors have to be detail-oriented since most of their day is spent reading through content. They must be able to spot and correct errors or provide recommendations to improve the copy and/or content.

Most recently, copy editors are finding a freelance career is a lucrative route for them. They may not only work as a copy editor, but as an actual business owner as well. Many companies are looking at this as a positive since it brings copy editors on without having to pay for their benefits. Copy editors who have proven experience and a strong background will not have a problem getting jobs and building up their client base.

Training/Educational Requirements

The typical educational requirement for a copy editor is a bachelor’s degree. Most individuals in this role have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, advertising, or marketing, though this is not a requirement. Having experience working as a writer is excellent training for this role, and is often looked upon favorably by a hiring company. Many copy editors seek out a higher level degree, but this is not a requirement for this position. It just adds to their credibility if they have a higher level education and better grasp of the language.

It is a good idea for copy editors to take training courses from time to time. This ensures they are keeping their skills fresh, and are on top of any new trends or rules within the native language. Companies look to copy editors as experts in their profession. Therefore, it’s important to keep up with training to provide the very best service. The more educated and informed a copy editor is, the more likelihood they will be hired for a job. This becomes especially important for copy editors working on a freelance basis, as clients like to see a solid writing background and education.

How to Get Hired

One of the most natural and obvious career paths to getting hired as a copy editor is to work as a writer. Having a strong grasp of how to write in a variety of mediums is excellent preparation for getting hired for this position. Copy editors must demonstrate a strong grasp of the native language, and the best way to showcase this is through written work. Working as a writer or reporter for a newspaper, publishing company, or as part of a team at a company is an excellent way to get hired as a copy editor.

Copy editors usually have a strong background in their education and experience, and this is oftentimes how they get hired. They may work as a writer on a team and then advance to a copy editor. They may also demonstrate their editing skills and prove they would make a great addition in this role. Working as a copy editor is a good leap for a writer because it is an integral part of a team.

As the trend is moving towards copy editors working on a freelance basis, experience is the best way to get hired. It’s important for copy editors to prove they not only have strong editing skills, but they have writing ability as well. Since competition can be high in this field, having good contacts and strong skills is the best way to get hired on a freelance basis.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Copy editors play an important role when it comes to written content. As most organizations usually require some writing services, they require editing as a part of this service. In smaller companies, copy editors are involved in both writing and editing. On the other hand, larger companies or advertising agencies often hire copy editors on a full-time basis.

The outlook for copy editors is good, however, the trend is moving towards hiring copy editors on a freelance basis. If they are equipped and open to working on a freelance basis, their potential for work increases significantly. In some instances, copy editors work a full-time job and offer freelance services on the side through their own business.

Working Environment

The typical working environment for a copy editor is an office. They usually have an office away from the rest of the staff, so they are free of distractions. Although they usually work as part of a team, it is important to be able to concentrate on the written content and make all necessary revisions.

If working on a freelance basis, copy editors often work out of their home. Again, even when working from home, it’s important to have a designated area that is free of distractions to work effectively. Since this job requires a strong attention to detail, it’s important for copy editors to be able concentrate.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a copy editor is around $53,376 a year. This varies significantly and can range anywhere between $45,796 and $63,680 and up. Experience plays an important role and can make a big difference in how much copy editors are paid. If working as part of a company or organization, copy editors can expect to receive standard benefits such as medical coverage and paid vacation. However, with the trend moving towards freelance copy editors, they are responsible for their own benefits.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts