Associate Editor: Career Info & Requirements

Explore the job description, duties, education requirements, salary, and employment outlook of a career as an associate editor, which may help you decide if this is the right career for you.

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Associate Editor Careers

Education Bachelor's degree in journalism, English or communications
Job Duties Reviewing and editing copies; enforcing deadlines; overseeing production details of magazines, newspapers, books, or websites
Median Salary (2015) $56,010
Job Outlook (2014-2024) -5% for editors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In busy media companies and publishing houses, an editor could be assisted by one or more associate editors to manage schedules and coordinate workflow. Responsibilities vary depending on the specific position, but they may include reviewing and editing the work of staff or freelance writers, enforcing deadlines, and overseeing the production details of one or more publications, such as newspapers, magazines, books and/or websites. Associate editors who work for media outlets may head a single department, such as local news or sports. They might also be called upon to write articles, conduct interviews, verify sources, and perform independent research.

Associate editors typically work full time in an office setting, but some are able to work remotely using digital publishing software. Companies in major media areas such as Los Angeles and New York typically employ the most associate editors. People in this position often work long hours and weekends to meet deadlines.

Educational Requirements

To be an associate editor, candidates need to have a bachelor's degree in journalism, English, or communications. Associate editors who work with material on a specific topic, such as science or fashion, may need experience or formal training in that area. Familiarity with the Associated Press (AP), Chicago, or similar style guides may also be required. Traditionally, several years of editorial proofreading and/or writing experience is needed to advance to an associate editing position.

Required Skills

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), associate editors must master the following skills:

  • Command of the English language, including a firm grasp of spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules
  • Attention to detail and ability to make quick decisions
  • Clear communication skills and considerable diplomacy when interacting with writers and other editors
  • Ability to manage many different tasks at once
  • Experience with electronic publishing software, web design, and/or multimedia applications

Employment and Salary Outlook

The median annual salary for editors, including associate editors, was $56,010 as of May 2015, according to the BLS. Unfortunately, the need for editors is expected to decline by 5% from 2014-2024 due to the pressure felt by the print media industry from online publications. While employment opportunities with print media are likely to decline, associate editors who have online skills and experience can seek out jobs in the digital media industry.

Associate editors typically work in an office setting reviewing writers, enforcing deadlines, and overseeing production details. Most positions pay a median annual rate of $56,010 and require a bachelor's degree in journalism, English, or communications; several years or editorial experience; and extensive grammar, communication, and management skills.

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