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Proofreaders edit novels, manuscripts, letters and other written works for errors in grammar, format, punctuation, spelling and style. Undergraduate and graduate certificate programs, as well as associate's and bachelor's degrees programs in proofreading-related fields all provide proofreading training.
Undergraduate and graduate certificate and degree programs offer specialized training in copy editing, proofreading and publishing. Consisting of fewer courses than degree programs, certificate programs in publishing or related areas provide adequate preparation for the field. By imparting fundamental and advanced English knowledge, associate's degree programs in English lay the groundwork for careers in proofreading. Programs might feature concentrations in writing or literature. Bachelor's degree programs in journalism or English are designed to teach creative and technical writing, as well as various styles of professional communication. Graduate certificate programs provide more advanced education and internship opportunities.
Aspiring proofreaders can learn and develop professional skills through certificate programs in publishing and copy editing. Typically consisting of three to nine courses, these programs provide education focused on correcting and refining articles, books, Internet content and speeches in a variety of industries. Some clerical office management and administrative support certificate programs include proofreading instruction as part of the business-related curricula. These programs, however, are designed for those working in secretary, receptionist or office assistant positions. Curricula offered through certificate programs in publishing and copy editing concentrate on building skills necessary for preparing and correcting written material for publication. Common topics of study include:
Like certificates, associate's degrees can be earned in a broad office administration field of study or an English program. Earning an associate's degree provides a foundation for beginning a career in the field or continuing studies through a bachelor's degree program. Associate's degree programs in English often provide a concentration in literature, critiquing and writing. Studies in an office administration program typically focus on coursework in marketing, business communications and computer applications, in addition to a few courses specific to proofreading and editing. English programs prepare proofreaders to recognize the compositional structure of the English language. Students expand their knowledge and focus their skills by choosing elective courses in creative writing, literature or poetry. Some common courses include:
Many bachelor's degree programs teach students to improve writing skills, explore literary areas and study language techniques. A strong liberal arts background in undergraduate studies allows an aspiring proofreader to gain knowledge in a variety of relevant fields. Applicable majors might include journalism, English, history or communications. Students with an associate's degree might apply credit toward a bachelor's degree, allowing for advanced status within the program. Liberal arts students learn English and language skills, along with a variety of history, political and science topics. Students interested in becoming proofreaders learn foundational skills that apply to several industries, such as the business, medical and legal fields. Practical and valuable courses and electives might include:
Earning a certificate in publishing or office administration can qualify graduates for opportunities in several industries. A few examples of career options include:
Though proofreading tasks are similar in most industries, the material varies by the type of business in which a proofreader works. A few businesses that employ proofreaders, copy editors and related professionals include advertising agencies, consumer publications, magazines and newspapers. For degree holders in a proofreading-related field, some additional career options include:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that editors and proofreaders, will see little or no change in rate of employment for the years 2012 through 2022, due to the shift from print media to online publications. In May 2014, the BLS reported that editors earned $54,890 as a median annual salary.
Some universities offer post-baccalaureate certificate programs in editing and publishing for those with a bachelor's degree. Graduate certificate programs offer advanced education in document quality, textual issues and visual communications. Typical curricula contain two to five courses and often include an internship with a publishing, communications or public relations company. Graduates might transfer into related master's degree programs.