Copyright

Copy Editor: Education Requirements and Career Information

Copy editors strive to ensure accurate content in print and Web articles and books. They proofread stories and correct errors in spelling, grammar and story logic while checking facts and writing headlines. The job also requires the ability to design a page, either in print or online, and work with all editorial departments to ensure timely production. Obtaining a bachelor's or master's degree in journalism, communications or English will build the foundation necessary to perform the job.

View 9 Popular Schools »

Education Requirements

Copy editors typically earn at least a bachelor's degree in journalism, English or related fields. Journalism programs offer coursework relevant to the profession that allows the student to develop editing, writing, fact checking, page layout, Web design and proofreading skills. Students in these programs will also learn about ethics, media law and how technology and new platforms are changing media and publishing. The curriculum will teach students the critical thinking skills necessary to produce accurate articles. Many journalism graduate programs offer similar classes for those who wish to enter the field.

English degrees can similarly train students in essential areas of syntax and story logic while requiring in-depth exploration of literature to become familiar with a variety of writing styles. A firm grasp of the English language and the ability to capture errors and expertly lay out a story across media platforms are the keys to copy editing.

Career Information

While some copy editor positions take on the traditional tasks of proofreading for errors, fact checking, headline writing and page design, others require more managerial duties such as overseeing the work of freelance contributors and enforcing strict deadlines. Copy editing duties for smaller or niche publications may include these additional responsibilities.

Required Skills

Successful copy editors possess the following attributes:

  • Computer expertise
  • Familiarity with pagination and design software
  • Creativity
  • Detail oriented
  • Deadline driven
  • Excellence written and verbal communication
  • Meticulous proofreading
  • Strong fact checking

Job Outlook

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2010, the number of newspaper and magazine editing jobs is in decline through 2020, but those with Web and multimedia experience (www.bls.gov ) should have the best prospects. The copy desk can often be a springboard into higher editorial positions such as line editing or managing editor.

Salary

According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary for copy editors in 2013 was $40,895. The BLS indicated that as of 2012, the median annual salary of editors in general (not necessarily distinguished as copy editors) was $53,880 (www.bls.gov).

Copy Editing for Books vs. Newspapers, Magazines and Web

A freelance copy editor can provide services for newspapers, websites, magazines or books, but responsibilities will vary widely depending on the publication. Whether freelance or in-house, a book copy editor checks the grammar, punctuation and spelling of a manuscript and also verifies the facts and implements changes to ensure clarity and consistency in the flow of the story or information. Copy editors for book publishers must be familiar with production design, process and the appropriate editorial markings. By contrast, those who copy edit for newspapers and magazines generally receive an article that has already been sent to a line editor for changes. In these instances, the story will ideally be sent to the copy editor to run a final check for spelling, syntax and continuity.

Show me popular schools

Related to Copy Editor: Education Requirements and Career Information

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Author Ian Brill Talks Creating Comics and FCBD with Education-Portal.com

For our final Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) interview we talked with Ian Brill, writer and editor at BOOM! Studios and BOOM's...

Copy Editor: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Individuals with a passion for writing, a sharp eye for detail and the ability to work well under pressure may consider a...

How to Become a Web Copy Editor

Research the requirements to become a web copy editor. Learn about the job duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a...

Writer Vs. Editor: What's the Difference?

While both writers and editors do their share of writing, the day-to-day tasks performed in their jobs differ significantly....

Film Editor: Career Profile for the Film Editing Professions

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED and completed some college. Master's degree applicants must have a bachelor's or higher.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BFA in Illustration - Children`s Book Illustration

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Minnesota (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate - Radio Broadcasting

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Rochester Institute of Technology include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
      • Communication Studies
      • Communication Technology
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Graphic Communications
      • Public Relations and Advertising
      • Publishing

Popular Schools

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • BFA in Illustration - Children`s Book Illustration

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Which subject are you interested in?

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics