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


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


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

More Information

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

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • customer service skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • administration skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

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

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

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

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

Are you interested in becoming an indexer?

Search for training courses near you.

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.