Proofreader Training and Education Program Info

Discover certificate and degree programs that might prepare aspiring proofreaders. Get info about potential coursework and check the employment outlook and salary projections for editors.

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Essential Information

Proofreaders edit and correct novels, manuscripts, letters and other written works for errors in grammar, format, punctuation, spelling and style. Educational requirements vary by employer, though a bachelor's degree in a liberal arts major might provide an appropriate background. Undergraduate and graduate certificate and degree programs offer specialized training in copy editing, proofreading and publishing.

Consisting of fewer courses than degree programs, certificate programs in publishing or related areas may prepare students to fill entry-level clerical positions. They may feature business content as well as proofreading and editing courses. By imparting fundamental and advanced English knowledge, associate's degree programs in English lay the groundwork for careers in proofreading. Programs might feature concentrations in writing or literature.

A bachelor's degree program in journalism or English is designed to teach creative and technical writing as well as various styles of professional communication. Graduates might go on to become authors, editors, freelance writer or journalists. Graduate certificate programs exist that may provide advanced education and internship opportunities.

Certificate Programs

Aspiring proofreaders can learn and develop professional skills through certificate programs in publishing and copy editing. Typically consisting of 3-9 courses, these programs provide education focused on correcting and refining articles, books, Internet content or speeches in a variety of industries.

Additionally, clerical office management and administrative support certificate programs might include proofreading instruction as part of their business-related curricula. These 9-month programs are designed primarily for those working in secretary, receptionist or office assistant positions.

Program Coursework

Curricula offered through certificate programs in publishing and copy editing concentrate on building skills necessary for preparing and correcting written material for publication. Common topics of study include:

  • Proofreading books and articles
  • Preparing Internet content
  • Editing symbols
  • Constructive evaluations

Administrative or clerical programs provide entry-level education in proofreading and editing in addition to several lessons in office management and support. Courses might include:

  • Business document writing and editing
  • Computer basics and keyboarding
  • Word processing applications
  • Grammar, punctuation and structure
  • Accounting and budgeting

Popular Career Options

Earning a certificate in publishing or office administration can qualify graduates for opportunities in several industries. A few examples of career options include:

  • Office clerk
  • Legal secretary
  • Word processing operator
  • Assistant editor

Associate Degree in English

Like certificates, associate degrees can be earned in a broad office administration field of study or an English program. Earning an associate degree provides a foundation for beginning a career or continuing studies through a bachelor's degree program. Associate degree programs in English often provide a concentration in literature, critiquing and writing. Studies in an office administration program might help business support employees to advance in their careers. Typically, only a high school diploma or the equivalent is required for applicants to an associate degree program.

Program Coursework

English programs prepare proofreaders for recognizing the composition of the English language. Students expand their knowledge and focus their skills by choosing elective courses in creative writing, literature or poetry. Some common courses include:

  • English composition
  • Creative writing
  • Critical thinking
  • Humanities
  • Literature

Business support and office administration programs generally contain courses in marketing, business communications and computer applications. Students might participate in practical experience through a temporary internship position. Courses specific to proofreading and editing generally include:

  • Digital editing
  • Business document structure
  • Desktop publishing
  • Basic and advanced English

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that editors, or proofreaders, will have little or no change in employment for the years 2010 through 2020. In May 2012, the BLS reported that editors earned $53,880 as a median annual salary.

Bachelor's Degrees for Proofreaders

Many bachelor's degree programs teach students to improve writing skills, explore literary areas and study language techniques. A strong liberal arts background in undergraduate studies allows an aspiring proofreader to gain knowledge in a variety of relevant fields. Applicable majors might include journalism, English, history or communications. Though only a high school diploma is generally necessary, students with an associate degree might apply credit toward a bachelor's degree, allowing for advanced status within the program.

Program Coursework

Throughout the 4-year degree program, liberal arts students learn English and language skills, in addition to a variety of history, political and science topics. Students interested in becoming proofreaders learn foundational skills that also might apply to several industries, such as the business, medical and legal fields. Practical and valuable courses and electives might include:

  • Creative writing
  • Grammar
  • Literary styles
  • Technical writing
  • Professional communication

Popular Career Options

Though proofreading tasks are similar in most industries, the material varies by the type of business in which a proofreader works. A few businesses that employ proofreaders, copy editors and related professionals include advertising agencies, consumer publications, magazines and newspapers. Some additional career options include:

  • Author
  • Editor
  • Freelance writer
  • Journalist
  • Technical writer

Continuing Education

Some universities offer post-baccalaureate certificate programs in editing and publishing for those with a bachelor's degree. Graduate certificate programs offer advanced education in document quality, textual issues and visual communications. Typical curricula contain 2-5 courses and often include an internship with a related publishing, communications or public relations company. Graduates might transfer into related master's degree program.

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