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Magazine Editor: Career Requirements and Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to be a magazine editor. Get an overview of the requirements, degree programs and job duties to find out if this career is right for you.

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A bachelor's degree in English or journalism is often the minimum requirement to become a magazine editor, a career that entails planning content and executing the overall style of magazine issues. Editors often work their way up from copyediting or writing positions.

Essential Information

A magazine editor is a senior-level journalist responsible for the planning and execution of issues of consumer and trade magazines. These editors choose the exact content, including written work and photos, the print or Web magazine will publish. A bachelor's degree and several years of magazine experience are often required to become a magazine editor.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -5% (for all editors)*
Median Salary (2016) $41,201**

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com.

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Career Requirements for Magazine Editors

The aspiring editor should obtain several years of professional experience at a magazine first, especially because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that competition for entry- and senior-level editorial positions is very strong (www.bls.gov). Many editors begin their careers in entry-level fact checker or editorial assistant positions. Others complete several editorial internships, either while still in school or shortly after graduation, that provide experience and the possibility of leading to a full-time position.

After these entry-level positions, prospective editors must then move through the magazine ranks, becoming associate or assistant editors. With editorial experience, they may then be promoted to senior-level editor, a position with greater responsibility.

Education Requirements

According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree or higher in English, journalism or communications is required of most magazine editors. These degree programs provide training needed in writing, editing and proofreading that are essential to the position.

The BLS also reports that, although a decline in job openings is expected for all kinds of editors from 2014-2024, job prospects should be best for those with knowledge of online publishing and new media. Aspiring editors of content-specific magazines, such as fashion, business or science, should also have a strong background or formal education in relevant areas.

Magazine Editor Career Information

Magazine editors are responsible for planning the content and publishing schedule of the magazine they oversee. They work with other editors, designers and writers to plan and assign stories, photos and graphics that will appeal to their audience. They also edit stories and often supervise lower-level editors.

Some editors of qualifying U.S. print and Web magazines also choose to become members of the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), an organization that offers professional development and networking services (www.magazine.org).

Salary Information

According to PayScale.com, the median salary for magazine editors was $41,201 per year as of 2016. The BLS reported that the median salary for editors in all industries was $56,010 as of May 2015.

In summary, a career as a magazine editor is one that may be fun and rewarding for someone with excellent organizational and management skills, and an eye for design. Job opportunities are unfortunately expected to decline in the coming years, but new opportunities may arise due to the transition from a print to primarily online industry.

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