How to Become a Web Copy Editor

Research the requirements to become a Web copy editor. Learn about the job duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in Web copy editing. View article »

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  • 0:01 Becoming a Web Copy Editor
  • 0:39 Career Requirements
  • 1:29 Step 1: Bachelor's Degree
  • 2:08 Step 2: Internships
  • 2:31 Step 3: Work Experience
  • 3:10 Step 4: Styles & Organizations

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Video Transcript

Becoming a Web Copy Editor

Web copy editors streamline and proofread the content on a website, blogs or online newsletters to ensure continuity. This includes correcting any errors in spelling, syntax and style. These professionals can work for an online publisher or newspaper, but many new opportunities are arising in other industries that rely on the Internet to increase business. Many of these new opportunities offer the chance to work remotely. Editors often face constant deadlines and long hours. Freelance Web copy editors can often set their own schedules but may face shortages of work.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Journalism, communications, or English
Experience 2-5 years of experience
Key Skills Communication and media skills; strong grasp of the English language; excellent reading comprehension and writing skills; knowledge of editing and electronic publishing software programs required; understanding of web design and graphics; ability to juggle multiple deadlines at once and work overtime
Salary $56,010 (2015 median salary for all editors)

Sources: O*Net Online, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to O*Net Online and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are various requirements for this career. Most Web copy editing positions require a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related field. Individuals also usually must accumulate 2-5 years of work experience as writers before advancing to editorships. Key skills for Web copy editors include communication and media skills, a strong grasp of the English language, excellent reading comprehension and writing skills, a knowledge of editing, electronic publishing software programs, and Web design and graphics, and the ability to juggle multiple deadlines at once and work overtime. In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median salary for all editors was $56,010 per year.

Step 1: Bachelor's Degree

The first step towards becoming a Web copy editor is to complete a bachelor's degree. Positions for Web copy editors typically require a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications or English. Many journalism programs introduce the technological components relevant to online editing, covering technical topics such as Hyper Text Markup Language, HTML, which is the basis for building webpages. Additionally, journalism programs often require students to complete coursework in copy editing, news writing, media ethics, media law, multimedia skills, Web content production, graphics and magazine writing.

Step 2: Internships

The second step towards becoming a Web copy editor is to seek out internships. While in school, students may want to seek editing internships with the digital departments of newspapers, advertising agencies or related businesses. This is a chance to build a portfolio, which can be helpful when seeking a full-time position. Opportunities may also be available to edit content for websites.

Step 3: Work Experience

The third step toward becoming a Web copy editor is to gain work experience. According to the BLS, although print media was on the decline, advances in technology were expected to increase the number of positions for editors with Web and multimedia experience. However, the BLS reported that newspapers and other publishers have been cutting staffs to compensate for shrinking revenues. With fewer overall journalism jobs available, Web copy editors face a great deal of competition. Typically, at least a few years of experience as a writer or reporter are required before becoming an editor. Some jobs require up to five years of previous experience.

Step 4: Styles & Organizations

Mastering various editing styles and joining professional organizations are also important steps toward becoming a Web copy editor. Some Web copy editors may work for a business that owns multiple domains, each with a unique tone and audience. In addition to the Associated Press (AP) style, a Web copy editor may need to be familiar with other editing styles, including Chicago, Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Medical Association (AMA).

Web copy editors can hone their skills and stay on top of industry news by joining a professional organization such as the American Copy Editors Society, which provides networking opportunities, workshops, national conferences and other resources.

The steps toward becoming a Web copy editor include earning a bachelor's degree, seeking internships, gaining work experience, mastering various editing styles and joining professional organizations.

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