Alternative titles for this job include Subs

Sub-editors check written content before it's published in newspapers, magazines and on websites.

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter


£45,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a sub-editor

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses offered by professional bodies


You’ll usually need a degree in a relevant subject like:

  • English
  • journalism
  • media studies

You can find relevant courses accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

You can do a postgraduate journalism course if your first degree is not in a related subject.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More Information


The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) has advice on bursaries and funding to encourage greater diversity in journalism.


You can apply to do an apprenticeship, like:

  • Publishing Professional Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship
  • Journalist Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship
  • Senior Journalist Level 7 Apprenticeship, leading to an industry-recognised qualification

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information


You may be able to work your way into this job by starting as a reporter with a regional newspaper or magazine. This can help you to build up your experience of proofreading and text editing.

It will also allow you to develop a portfolio of work that you can use to showcase your skills to potential employers.


You'll need to get some experience before applying for your first job in newspaper or magazine journalism and moving on to sub editing.

You could:

  • volunteer for student or local community newspapers
  • start a blog
  • build your social media and professional networking presence
  • submit articles and reviews to regional newsgroups or smaller magazine companies
  • volunteer to help a charity write their print, or online publications

Other Routes

You'll find it helpful to take a sub-editing course if you've already got some experience in journalism, PR or media communications.

Courses are offered by organisations like:

More Information

Career tips

You'll also need to be able to use desktop publishing software for many sub-editing jobs.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the Society of Editors and Professional Publishers Association, for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a sub-editor from:

You can find out more about media and publishing careers from:

What it takes

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

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
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You will:

  • make sure articles are accurate, read well and do not break libel or copyright laws
  • edit articles to make them clearer or shorter
  • make sure articles follow house style
  • write headlines, captions and short paragraphs which lead into articles, and 'panels'; which break up the text
  • make sure articles are in the right place on each page
  • use page layout and image editing software
  • send completed pages to the printers
  • work closely with reporters, editors, designers, production staff and printers

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you may be able to progress to production editor or chief sub-editor.

You could also use your journalism experience to move into PR or work as a press or communications officer.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a sub-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

NCTJ L3 Cert in Journalism

  • Start date: 06 September 2024
  • Location: Warrington

NCTJ Diploma in Journalism (18 months - September)

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Portsmouth

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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