How to Become a Proofreader: Qualifications, Education, and Salary
Career Advice Career Basics

How to Become a Proofreader: Qualifications, Education, and Salary

Do you spot typos quickly or feel uneasy and sometimes irritated when a writer uses “were” in a sentence that calls for “where”? If you fall into the above category, you might make a good proofreader.

All sorts of organizations hire hawk-eyed proofreaders to make sure their written documents are free of errors before external bodies see them. Incorrect grammar, misspellings, and other similar mistakes reflect poorly on a business and can cause problems or confusion. (Imagine, for instance, an ad that promotes a product on sale for $25 rather than the intended $52 big difference!)

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If you think proofreading sounds like a potential match to your interests and talents? Read on to learn all about how to become a proofreader.

Who Is a Proofreader?

Proofreaders are professionals that ensure documents are free of typographical, grammatical, syntax, spelling, punctuation, formatting, and other such errors. In the description of every proofreading job are company-specific responsibilities, but the center of any proofreading role involves thoroughly reviewing a piece of writing to ensure it is the best it can be. Proofreaders are expected to catch every spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

They are also expected to look at the format to make certain all the necessary elements are included and appear as they should be and other possible errors like sentences printing twice or accidentally omitted, a headline failing to show as bold, or the date missing from a document.

Proofreading vs. Editing

Although similar, proofreading and editing are not the same thing. Generally, editors are charged with performing duties such as planning content, assigning work, reviewing submissions, and making revisions. All these are expected from an editor but a proofreader only gets a copy of the content after all rewrites are done as the major job of The proofreader is to ensure the final product is free of errors.

That been said, depending on the organization, some proofreader job descriptions may contain elements that venture into editing territory. Budding businesses especially might expect proofreaders to assume greater responsibilities. But in larger companies, proofreaders mostly use their experience as a ladder to a higher-level editorial position.

How Much Money do Proofreaders Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, proofreaders earn a mean hourly wage of $20.17, which places you on about $52,442 if you work for ten-hour a day for five days a week, throughout the year. The industries with the highest levels of employment of proofreaders include book, newspaper, periodical, and directory publishers; employment services; scientific and technical services; business support services; and advertising and public relation firms.

Educational Requirements for Proofreaders

Proofreaders are required most times to hold a bachelor’s degree in English or journalism. Nevertheless, graduates in other disciplines have been known to succeed as proofreaders by demonstrating their comprehension of written language. Employers always require candidates to take a proofreading test to show mastery.

It is also important to mention that certain proofreading positions require an advanced degree and/or experience in a particular industry. For instance, a background in law would be useful for proofreaders of legal documents.

Skills Proofreaders Need

If you’re aspiring to be a proofreader, you should be a strong communicator and must pay close attention to detail. You’d also need to possess the ability to work independently and to meet deadlines consistently.

Since the advent of tech has made sure most modern-day proofreading gets performed on computers. Your familiarity with word processing (especially change-tracking features), editorial software, and spreadsheets would prove helpful.

Some employers seek candidates who are familiar with specific editorial styles, So possessing knowledge about the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook and/or the Chicago Manual of Style before entering the market provides you a definite competitive advantage.

How to Get Started in Proofreading

Throughout the course of this article we’ve succeeded in dealing with who proofreaders are, skills needed, educational qualifications and pay, now we’d highlight steps you could take to achieve your dream of becoming a proofreader, they are:

  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in English or Journalism
  • Understand the scope of a proofreader’s work
  • Figure out your own proofreading niche
  • Pursue an Editorial Internship
  • Hone your skills to perfection
  • Consider getting a proofreading certificate
  • Find proofreading jobs
  • Advance Your Proofreading Career
  • Keep sharpening your skills and developing your résumé

Finding Flexible Proofreading Jobs

Just like writing in all its form, proofreading supports remote and work-from-home options. Besides filling full-time roles, companies often hire proofreaders on a freelance/contract basis.

If this is something you’d be interested in, here’s a list of websites you could visit to get started on your proofreading journey:

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Clickworker
  • Fiverr
  • Flexjobs
  • LinkedIn
  • Geteditingjobs
  • Mediabistro
  • Proofreadingservices
  • Lionbridge
  • Proofreadingpal
  • Reedsy
  • Onespacefreelancer
  • Editfast
  • Polishedpaper
  • Guru
  • Domainite
  • Wordvice
  • Writingjobz