Editorial assistant

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Publishing assistant

Editorial assistants provide support at all stages of the publication process for books, journals, magazines and online content.

Salary range: £15,000 to £40,000

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How to become an editorial assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist training courses with professional bodies
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University

You’ll usually need a degree in English, journalism or media studies.

If you want to specialise in a particular field of publishing, you may need a degree that’s closely related to it, for example physics or maths for a scientific journal.

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

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Apprenticeship

You can get into this role through an advanced apprenticeship as a publishing assistant.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

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Work

You could work in a publishing office or a company’s communications department as a general assistant and work your way up through in-house training and promotion.

Volunteering and experience

You’ll find it useful when applying for jobs, to have done some paid or unpaid work experience in publishing.

Other routes

You could take a proofreading or editing course, like the ones offered by the The Publishing Training Centre or the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.

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Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the The Publishers Association and Professional Publishers Association for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an editorial assistant from:

You can also get information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to read English
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your job may involve:

  • being a point of contact for authors
  • keeping databases, spreadsheets and other records up to date
  • reading documents and making corrections
  • dealing with rights and permissions
  • acting as personal assistant to commissioning editors
  • working with images and page layout software

If you work online you could be:

  • proofing and editing online text, including social media
  • compiling and sending out newsletters using design and distribution software
  • uploading text and images to a website using a content management system (CMS)
  • editing text on apps

Working environment

You could work in an office or from home.

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Career path and progression

With experience you could move into more senior editorial roles, or work on a freelance basis.