Indexer

Alternative titles for this job include

Indexers build up lists of searchable terms for things like books, magazines, reports, websites and photographic collections.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed as customers demand

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an indexer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • specialist training with a professional body

University

If you want to work in a specialist area, like science or law, you'll need in-depth subject knowledge, which you could get from doing a relevant degree.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by doing a library, information and archive services advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs. Many indexers have a higher education qualification like a degree, although this is not essential.

Often, indexers start this work as a second career, using the experience and in-depth knowledge they've built up from their main area of work.

Other Routes

You can do a training course with the Society of Indexers by distance learning. This is a combination of online tutorials, assignments and assessments.

The course takes around 45 to 50 hours of study and is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. It includes:

  • indexing terminology
  • cross-referencing
  • indexing books, periodicals and websites
  • computerised search systems

When you've successfully completed the course you'll be awarded accredited indexer status, which is recognised by employers as a first stage towards becoming a professional indexer.

More Information

Career tips

The Society of Indexers runs short workshops, which give an overview of indexing together with practical exercises. These are useful for anyone who may be thinking of taking up indexing as a career.

They also offer workshops on working as a freelance indexer and establishing an indexing business.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an indexer from the Society of Indexers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • administration skills
  • concentration skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • a good memory
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • study documents to get an overall idea of what they cover
  • identify important words and phrases in the text, record where they occur and put them in alphabetical order
  • identify the main topics and break them down into sections
  • cross-reference related topics
  • organise the index so that information is easy to find
  • index photographs, diagrams and other illustrations
  • use specialist computer software for sorting, formatting and printing

Working environment

You could work from home or in an office.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could combine indexing with related areas such as proofreading and copywriting.

Current opportunities

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Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an indexer right now.

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Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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