Proofreaders check text before it’s printed or published to make sure it’s correct and complete.
Salary range: £18,000 to £30,000
How to become a proofreader
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
You may find it useful to have a degree in:
- digital media
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
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a publishing assistant advanced apprenticeship, which may help you to find your first job.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
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 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 by:
- proofreading documents for family or people you work or study with
- writing or proofreading for student magazines or publications
- proofreading for small businesses
- working on charity publications, websites or social media
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.
You can find out more about proofreading careers from the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
You’ll read documents to make sure:
- there are no errors
- the text, illustrations and diagrams are positioned correctly
- text is in the right order (including page numbers)
- the text follows the agreed style
- chapter titles match the list of contents
- there are no confusing words or column or page breaks
You could work in an office or from home.
Career path and progression
As an experienced proofreader, you could build up your reputation as a specialist in a particular field or approach publishing companies for work.