Copy editor

Copy editors check text before it's published in books, journals and websites.

Average salary (a year)

£32,760 Starter


£40,040 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

evenings occasionally

How to become a Copy editor

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


Many copy editors have a degree and most subjects are accepted.

A degree in publishing, media or a related subject may improve your chances of finding work.

To work in a specialist area, employers will prefer you to have a subject-related degree.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information


You could get into publishing as an editorial assistant and build up your experience of proofreading and text editing. This would also allow you to build a portfolio of work that you could use to showcase your skills to potential employers.

Direct application

Some publishing houses run graduate training schemes and internships.

More information

Career tips

Employers will often expect you to have some experience in the publishing industry.

You could get experience in the publishing industry from:

  • job shadowing
  • editing and proofreading student magazines and websites
  • admin work in a publishing company

Professional and industry bodies

You could join a professional organisation like The Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP).

Further information

The Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and the Publishing Training Centre have further details on training options.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to read English
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • You will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in an office or from home.

Career path and progression

You could become a features writer, chief sub-editor or production editor. Some sub-editors go freelance.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Copy editor right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Journalism and Media

  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: PLYMOUTH

L3 Journalism Fast Track NCTJ

  • Provider: Lambeth College
  • Start date: 21 January 2019
  • Location: London

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