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Proofreader

Proofreaders check text before it's printed or published to make sure it's correct and complete.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: freelance / self-employed; managing your own hours

2.3%
Future employment

There will be 2.3% fewer Proofreader jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You'll read documents to make sure they are ready to be published. You'll check the text to see that it follows the agreed style. You may find and correct:

  • spelling mistakes
  • inconsistencies in spellings where more than one way to spell the same word is possible
  • punctuation errors like full stops, commas and capital letters
  • bad word breaks to make sure the text reads easily
  • text that is not in the right order (including page numbers)
  • errors in chapter titles or headers, for example, those that do not match the list of contents
  • confusing words

Working environment

You could work in an office or from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies and private training organisations
University

You may find it useful to have a degree in:

  • English
  • publishing
  • journalism
  • digital media

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
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could do a publishing assistant advanced apprenticeship, which may help you to find your first job.

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
For more information
Work

You could start as an editorial assistant then move into proofreading.

If you have a degree or expertise in a particular subject, you could use it to develop a proofreading specialism. For example, if you have a technical or scientific degree you could proofread scientific textbooks or journals.

Volunteering and work experience

Volunteering will help you get a better understanding of the job and is a good way to make contacts in the publishing industry.

You could volunteer to:

  • proofread documents for family or people you work or study with
  • write or proofread for student magazines or publications
  • proofread for small businesses
  • work on charity publications, websites or social media

Other routes

Doing professional courses can improve your skills and your chances of finding work. You can find short courses through the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and The Publishing Training Centre.

More information

Career tips

Experience working in publishing or journalism could help you to find jobs.

There's a lot of competition for work and many publishing companies do not advertise vacancies. Jobs are filled through word of mouth or recommendation.

You could develop a portfolio of paid or unpaid work you've done to show your skills to employers.

Further information

You can find out more about proofreading careers from the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.

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As an experienced proofreader, you could build up your reputation as a specialist in a particular field or approach publishing companies for work.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent written communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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