Sub-editors check written content before it’s published in newspapers, magazines and on websites.
Salary range: £22,000 to £45,000
How to become a sub-editor
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- specialist courses offered by professional bodies
You’ll usually need a degree in a relevant subject like:
- media studies
You can find relevant courses accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
You can do a postgraduate journalism course if your first degree is not in a related subject.
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
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a publishing assistant.
Employers will set their own entry requirements.
You can work your way into this job by starting as a reporter or editorial assistant with a regional newspaper or magazine. This can help you to build up your experience of proofreading and text editing.
It will also allow you to develop a portfolio of work that you can use to showcase your skills to potential employers.
Volunteering and experience
You’ll need to get some experience before applying for your first job in publishing. To build up your experience you can:
- volunteer for student and community newspapers
- keep an online blog
- have an online presence on sites such as Twitter
- submit articles and reviews to local papers or websites
This is also a good way to develop contacts, as many jobs are not advertised.
You’ll find it helpful to take a sub-editing course if you’ve already got some experience in journalism, PR or media communications.
You’ll also need to be able to use desktop publishing software for many sub-editing jobs.
Professional and industry bodies
You can find out more about becoming a sub-editor from:
- The Publishers Association
- National Council for the Training of Journalists
- Creative Choices
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- making sure articles are accurate, read well and do not break libel or copyright laws
- re-writing articles to make them clearer or shorter
- making sure articles follow house style
- writing headlines, captions and short paragraphs which lead into articles, and ‘panels’ which break up the text
- making sure articles are in the right place on each page
- using page layout and image editing software
- sending completed pages to the printers
- working closely with reporters, editors, designers, production staff and printers
You could work in an office.
Career path and progression
With experience, you may be able to progress to production editor or chief sub-editor.
You could also use your journalism experience to move into PR or work as a press or communications officer.