An English, journalism, or related major that teaches writing and editing will be suitable for a proofreader, though positions in specialized industries may require extra education. Each employer tends to have their own house style, so some on-the-job training may be needed. Jobs in this field are on the decline.
Proofreaders check documents for errors in grammar, writing style and consistency. The Occupational Information Network reported that the majority of proofreaders held bachelor's degrees (www.onetonline.org). There are several degree programs with various concentrations that prepare students to be a proofreader. Advanced or technical positions may require on-the-job training or expertise in a particular area.
|Required Education||Bachelor's typically required|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training or specialized degree required for some positions|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-2% (decline) for all proofreaders and copy markers|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$35,630 annually for all proofreaders and copy markers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Proofreaders rely on their writing and editing skills to identify and correct errors, and various educational programs can train workers in these areas. Possible degree programs include English and journalism. While an English Degree tends to concentrate on grammar and writing techniques, journalism programs usually provide more focused coursework for students who wish to work in media writing and editing.
Many English degree programs offer students concentration options, such as linguistics, literature, creative writing and rhetoric. English students may also choose to focus their studies on different literary periods, including Renaissance, modern or 19th-century literature. Common English courses include composition, rhetoric, literary theory and linguistics. Students may also take electives in writing and grammar to further prepare for a career in proofreading.
Journalism degree programs often allow students to choose career-based concentrations, such as broadcast journalism or news writing. Journalism coursework typically includes media writing and reporting, research techniques, photojournalism and communications. Individuals who want to work as proofreaders may benefit from taking electives like journalism grammar, Associated Press style guide, copy writing and media editing.
Some proofreading positions require additional degrees or training. For example, a proofreader working for a law firm might be required to have a background in criminal justice in order to better understand legal documents and verify if they've been written correctly. Additionally, some publishing companies employ house rules, which are editing and writing style rules specific to a particular publishing company. Proofreaders need to understand individual house rules and be able to adapt quickly to those standards.
Career and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that there will be a 2% decline in employment for proofreaders and copy markers in the 2014-2024 decade. The BLS also reported that proofreaders and copy markers earned a median salary of $35,630 in May 2015.
As a proofreader, a background in English composition is essential, thus a major that incorporates writing into the curricula should be completed. Extra education may allow proofreaders to find jobs in specialized fields like law. There may be competition for positions due to the expected decline in job openings.