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Become A Copy Editor

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Working As A Copy Editor

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $42,057

    Average Salary

What Does A Copy Editor Do

A Copy Editor proofreads and modifies a writer's work. They may work on various publications, including books, newspapers, and magazines.

How To Become A Copy Editor

A bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English, combined with previous writing and proofreading experience, is typically required to be an editor.


Employers generally prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English. They also prefer candidates with mass- or cross-media experience.

Those with other backgrounds who can show strong writing skills also may find jobs as editors. Editors who deal with specific subject matter may need previous related work experience. For example, fashion editors may need expertise in fashion that they gain through formal training or work experience.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many editors start off as editorial assistants, writers, or reporters.

Those who are particularly skilled at identifying good stories, recognizing writing talent, and interacting with writers may be interested in editing jobs. 

Other Experience

Editors also can gain experience by working on high school and college newspapers, and for magazines, radio and television stations, advertising and publishing companies, or nonprofit organizations. Magazines and newspapers also have internships for students. For example, the American Society of Magazine Editors offers a Magazine Internship Program to qualified full-time students in their junior or senior year of college. Interns may write stories, conduct research and interviews, and gain general publishing experience.

The ability to use computers is necessary for editors to stay in touch with writers and other editors and to work on the increasingly important digital media or online side of a publication. Familiarity with electronic publishing, graphics, Web design, and multimedia production is also important, because more content is being offered online.


Some editors hold management positions and must make decisions related to running a business. For them, advancement generally means moving up to publications with larger circulation or greater prestige. Copy editors may move into original writing or substantive editing positions, or become freelancers.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Editors must be creative, curious, and knowledgeable in a broad range of topics. Some editors must regularly come up with interesting story ideas and attention-grabbing headlines.

Detail oriented. One of an editor’s main tasks is to make sure that material is error free and matches the style of a publication.

Good judgment. Editors must decide if certain stories are ethical or if there is enough evidence to report them.

Interpersonal skills. In working with writers, editors must have tact and the ability to guide and encourage them in their work.

Writing skills. Editors must ensure that all written content has correct grammar, punctuation, and syntax. Editors must be able to write clearly and logically.

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Copy Editor jobs

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Copy Editor Career Paths

Copy Editor
Technical Writer Program Manager Marketing Director
Brand Director
11 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Project Manager Product Manager
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Production Editor Managing Editor
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Production Assistant Production Manager Creative Director
Digital Director
10 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Communications Coordinator Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Production Assistant Producer Digital Producer
Digital Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Communications Director Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Communications Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Digital Marketing
10 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Marketing Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Marketing & Development
9 Yearsyrs
News Editor Managing Editor Communications Director
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Instructor Program Manager Marketing Consultant
Head Of Marketing
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Account Executive Public Relations
Manager Of Corporate Communications
8 Yearsyrs
News Editor Writer And Editor Marketing Specialist
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Editor Marketing Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Editor Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Instructor Account Manager Marketing Consultant
Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Technical Writer Business Analyst Business Developer
Marketing/Business Development
8 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Marketing Director Search Engine Optimizer
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Communications Manager Marketing Manager
Senior Manager Of Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
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Copy Editor Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • German

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Russian

  • Portuguese

  • Chinese

  • Mandarin

  • Korean

  • Arabic

  • Hebrew

  • Hindi

  • Greek

  • Urdu

  • Turkish

  • Gujarati

  • Romanian

  • Cantonese

  • Irish

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Copy Editor

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Copy Editor Education

Copy Editor

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Real Copy Editor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate Copy Editor News America Incorporated New York, NY Aug 15, 2011 $76,375
Copy Editor C. 2K Entertainment, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 18, 2012 $75,000
Copy Editor Vince Camuto, LLC New York, NY Jun 08, 2015 $75,000
Copy Editor Dow Jones and Company San Francisco, CA Jun 05, 2012 $71,956
Copy Editor Dow Jones and Company San Francisco, CA Sep 23, 2012 $71,956
Copy Editor Dow Jones and Company New York, NY Sep 23, 2012 $67,600
Online Copy Editor Daily News, L.P. New York, NY Sep 09, 2015 $65,000
Copy Editor, Editorial Partnership Guardian News & Media LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $63,419
Copy Editor Dow Jones & Company, Inc. New York, NY Sep 17, 2010 $63,132
Online Copy Editor Daily News, L.P. New York, NY Sep 09, 2014 $60,000
Online Copy Editor Daily News, L.P. New York, NY Sep 04, 2014 $60,000
Copy Editor WP Company LLC Washington, DC Nov 23, 2009 $55,000 -
Copy Editor 14W Administrative Services LLC Baltimore, MD Sep 16, 2016 $50,000
Copy Editor/Translator Draftfcb, Inc. Chicago, IL Oct 01, 2009 $48,000 -
Copy & Layout Editor-AL DIA The Dallas Morning News Dallas, TX Jun 20, 2010 $47,892
Copy Editor Queens Public Library NY Apr 04, 2016 $46,000
Copy Editor Queens Borough Public Library NY Apr 04, 2016 $46,000
Associate Copy Editor Penguin Random House Inc. New York, NY Jul 12, 2015 $45,872
Associate Copy Editor Penguin Random House LLC New York, NY Nov 01, 2016 $45,872
Copy Editor The Washington Times LLC Washington, DC Nov 06, 2009 $45,500
Copy Editor III/Systems Multimedia Inc. D/B/A The News Leader Staunton, VA Dec 09, 2014 $45,136 -
Copy Editor Friendfinder Networks Inc. New York, NY Sep 30, 2009 $41,350 -
Copy Editor Dahan Properties Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 25, 2015 $38,589 -
Copy Editor Dermstore, LLC El Segundo, CA Jun 02, 2015 $38,459 -
Copy Editor Dermstore, LLC El Segundo, CA May 05, 2015 $38,459 -
Copy Editor Dermstore, LLC El Segundo, CA Mar 18, 2015 $38,459 -
Copy Editor Gannett Pacific Corp. Asheville, NC Dec 17, 2009 $37,499
Copy Editor Medianews Group Salt Lake City, UT Dec 24, 2011 $36,584

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Top Skills for A Copy Editor


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Top Copy Editor Skills

  1. Daily Paper
  2. Features
  3. Editorial Staff
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Design and construct pages for the daily paper.
  • Create content, covering sports - softball and bowling - and features for the newsletter.
  • Receive high praise from authors, as well as excellent performance reviews from top editorial staff.
  • Handled copy editing, proofreading, formatting, layout and design for the daily newspaper.
  • Proofread online content for factual and grammatical accuracy, as well as clarity.

Top Copy Editor Employers

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