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Mar 2024
Career of the Month
copy editor proof reading text

Key Facts

Starter Salary
Experienced Salary
Working Hours
37-39 hours a week


Copyeditors work for publishing companies, magazines, online businesses or start-ups. They read, edit and make suggestions for changes to copy, or text, before they go to publish. They may be editing copy for magazines, books, websites, instruction manuals, and much more, looking at fiction and non-fiction.

They ensure the writing is suitable for the required audience, check for inconsistencies, spelling errors and grammatical mistakes and ensure it is generally mistake-free. A copy editor will also check the contents, bibliography, images, tables, etc. are correct.

They must be sensitive to the authors when delivering feedback and must manage these relationships carefully. Copy editors have an excellent eye for detail, are organised, insightful and highly literate.

What it takes

What it takes:

Skills and knowledge - what you'll need:

  • knowledge of English language and literature
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to read English
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • accuracy and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • decision-making skills
  • the ability to organise your time and workload
  • IT skills across requirements of the role

Day to day

Day to day:

Your day-to-day duties might include

  • correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation errors
  • checking the length of the text fits in with publisher requirements
  • making sure the text is in the right style
  • making sure the meaning of the text is clear
  • checking that references are quoted correctly and pictures have the right captions
  • checking for legal issues, like libel or breach of copyright
  • talking to the author about queries or revisions

You could work in an office or from home.


There are no specific requirements for copyeditor, but it is best to discuss this with your teacher or careers adviser.

Academic and Vocational Notes

Most new entrants are graduates; English language, literature or journalism are relevant subjects. When thinking of your choice of degree, check the entry requirements for individual courses before you make an application. This is a very popular and competitive job area and work experience, summer placements, internships all help to demonstrate your interest when applying for jobs and courses

Work Based Training Notes

Proofreading courses can be taken and are a popular addition to a graduate's portfolio

Other Routes

Whilst these are the usual routes to this career, there can be alternatives. You will be able to discuss these with your adviser.

Other Routes

Whilst these are the usual routes to this career, there can be alternatives. You will be able to discuss these with your adviser.

Some data provided by NCS. May contain public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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