How to Become a Copy Editor?

6 minute read
How to Become a Copyeditor

People with a keen eye for details and those who love to read and correct mistakes can have a successful career as Copy Editors. Did you know that top companies like The Print, Pearsons, Inshorts, etc hire copy editors to crosscheck facts, grammar and ensure quality? Copy Editors are highly skilled professionals that produce high-quality content, manage various projects and focus syntax and styling. 

Course Level Bachelor’s or PG
Duration 2 to 3 years
Eligibility Pass in 10+2 or bachelor degree or equivalent
Admission Process Direct Admission
Average Salary INR 30,000 to 35,000 per month
Job Positions Content Editor
Content Writer
Copy Editor

Also Read: How to Become a Writer?

Who is a Copy Editor?

Source: TinyMCE

A Copy Editor is responsible for proofreading different types of texts to ensure that they meet the basic criteria for grammar, style, spelling, speech, readability, and various other elements. Their role requires them to maintain a high-quality standard for all content created by their organization while ensuring that the written content conveys their ideas effectively.

This requires them to collaborate with publishers, writers, and illustrators, standardize the written content, and deliver the results per the set schedule. As per their preference, Copy Editors can work as an in-house editorial team or work as freelance Copy Editors.

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Key Responsibilities of a Copy Editor

  • Proofread the content written for both style and composition.
  • Fact check allegations or claims.
  • Check the content sources and add the required links.
  •  Write the related titles and subtitles.
  • Provide feedback for future improvements
  • Adjust page layout and format.

Copy Editors can work with all kinds of writing, be it technical, non-technical, news, job descriptions, emails, manuscripts, and even internal documents.

Skills Required to Become a Copy Editor

  • Excellent Language Skills: The most important skill required for excellent writng and language skills. Good editing skills, grammar knowledge and a indepth understanding of content and syntax.
  • Creativity: Editors need to be curious, creative, and familiar with a variety of topics.
  • Appropriate Judgment: For non-fiction content, editors need to determine if they have enough evidence to tell a story and have a deep understanding of the ethics of a particular story.
  • Detail Oriented: The main task is to ensure that the written work is error-free and corresponds to the desired style of the publication.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Good communication and interpersonal skills help editors communicate with writers. The communication with the writers should be full of encouragement. The writer will deliver a much better job if he/she feels valued.
  • Writing Skills: Copy Editors must write with clear and appropriate logic and ensure that the content contains the correct punctuation, grammar, and syntax.

How to Become a Copy Editor?

To become a Copy Editor, use the following steps as a guide to start your career:

Bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree is a standard qualification for many editorial positions, although some employers may accept an associate degree or equivalent experience. Choose courses and electives that can strengthen your technical writing and editing or proofreading skills, such as:

  • News Editing
  • Public Relations
  • Corporate Communication
  • Proofreading
  • Journalism Ethics
  • Literary Journalism

Explore different disciplines: Consider pursuing a particular niche based on the type of content you like to work with. Apply for internships related to editing and proofreading in different fields to find out which specialities match your talents and career goals.

Learn different style guides: Study the common & popular style guides before applying for a position as a Copy Editor. Organizations often use various popular academic style guides such as APA, MLA, Turabian and Chicago. Employers expect Copy Editors to master these style guides. This is especially relevant if you want to work as a Copy Editor for scientific and technical writing.

Certification: A certification provides you with additional knowledge in a particular field. You must register with a copywriting expert association for official certification such as the Editing Freelancers Association or the American Copy Editors Society Edition, etc. These can help you get the required training, attend workshops, and develop your skills throughout your editing career.

Internships and Freelancing: You can get various internship opportunities on online platforms such as LinkedIn. You can also become a freelance Copy Editor or work part-time. Networking is the most important part, so you can network, collect testimonials from previous customers, or create your own website as well.

 Online Short Term Courses for Copy Editing

  • PG Certificate in Copyediting and Proofreading
  • Certificate in Professional Copyediting, Proofreading, and Fact-Checking by NYU Continuing Education
  • Copyediting by UC San Davis
  • Editing Certificate by University of Chicago
  • Diploma in Proofreading And Copy Editing by Blackford Centre
  • Good with Words: Writing and Editing Specialisation

Copy Editor Courses 

  • Diploma in Creative Writing
  • BA in English
  • BA English Literature
  • MA English: Creative Writing, Language and Literature
  • Master of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing
  • MFA in Creative Writing
  • Master of Writing and Publishing
  • MA Writing 

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Eligibility Criteria

  • There are no specific eligibility criteria or paths for becoming a Copy Editor. The only thing essential for editors in the publishing industry is having a good command of the language. 
  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in English, Journalism, Mass Communication, or any other subject area.
  • Students may be required to submit English Proficiency Test like IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Duolingo or more. Sometimes some universities require a sample essay or interview as a part of the admission process.

Top Universities in the World

Universities QS World Rankings 2022
University of Melbourne #37
University of Missouri #476
University in Texas at Austin #67
Ohio University 120
Boston University =112
University of North Carolina 100
Stony Brook University, New York =378
Emerson College
University of Florida =173

Top Colleges in India

Several universities in India offer bachelor’s degrees in copy editing. The list of such universities is as follows:

  • National Institute of Mass Communication
  • Whistling Woods International Mumbai
  • National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
  • Institute of Mass Communication Film and Television Studies (IMCFTS), Kolkata
  • Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication Pune
  • MIT Art, Design and Technology University Pune National Institute of Design Ahmedabad
  • YMCA Institute for Media Studies and Information Technology, New Delhi

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Scope of a Copy Editor in India & Abroad

Copy Editors are skilled in social media marketing and multimedia to keep up with the trend and promotion of the businesses. There are various job profiles are available that can be explored:

  • Commissioning Editors:They assist in managing external contributors and take care of the quality products on time.
  • Section Editors: Section Editors are responsible for making edits in newspapers, magazines, and websites.
  • Web Editors:Web Editors are considered online editors or social media editors. They are responsible for the content visible on the website or any social media app.

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A Copy Editors’ salaries depend on their experience, skills, and other qualifications or certifications. Therefore, it will depend on the institution, the project you are working on, and the other subjective factors. However, the average salary in India of a Copy Editor is ₹30,000 – ₹35,000 per month.

What is the Difference Between a Copywriter and Copy Editor? 

Copywriter Copy Editor
Copywriters produce well-crafted content that aims at conveying the company’s message across the customer’s mind, like selling a product, informing of the latest service, etc. Copy editor focuses on the content structure and voice, making sure that the content created by the copywriter is of suitable style with no inconsistencies, technical jargon, etc.

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What is the Difference Between Proofreading and Copy editing?

Proofreading Copy Editing
A proofreader focuses on correlating the surface errors in writing such as Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation. A Copy Editor focuses on improving the content flow, the accuracy of language, overall readability, spelling & grammar checking, etc.


Where does the Copy Editor work?

Copy Editors usually work for newspapers, magazines, marketing agencies, publishers, etc. The scope of copy editors in various firms is increasing and new avenues are opening up in various startups as well

What should a Copy Editor major in?

Copy Editors can major in various areas related to writing, including linguistics, journalism, literature, communication, creative writing, and marketing.

Are there different types of copy editing services?

Yes, copy editing services depend on expertise and experience of the copy editor. A copy editor can work with a variety of content, such as:
Non-fiction Editing
Academic Editing
Website & Online Editing
Business Editing
Fiction Editing

Does copy editing completely change all the initial content?

No, Copy Editing aims at enhancing the original content to improve its readability & sound structure.

What are the factors that affect the price of a copy editing service?

The copy editing services vary in terms of price depending on the qualifications and skills of the copy editor. Price increases as per the work and time available to do the work as well.

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