Production Editor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 28, 2019

The typical production editor reviews publication material while utilizing managerial skills. They can be employed in a variety of media formats, and work on several projects at once.

Essential Information

Production editors are responsible for the process of putting out a publication. The position includes many duties, from proofreading content to writing a budget. Candidates are usually required to have a bachelor's degree, experience as an editor and managerial skills.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in English, journalism or a related field
Additional Requirements Field experience in writing and publishing, print and online preferred
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -3% for all editors
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $59,480 for all editors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Production Editor Job Description

Production editors oversee the production processes and content of publications. They typically work in stressful, fast-paced office settings and may work long, unusual hours to meet strict deadlines. They do much of their work on a computer, reviewing content, making edits and collaborating with contacts electronically. They often balance several projects at a time while managing other staff members and ensuring goals are met. Production editors are also responsible for planning a publication's budget, which may include paying vendors and contracted employees and keeping a log of expenses.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some editors are self-employed, but most are salaried employees of the publication industry, such as newspapers, magazines, Web publications, publishing companies and broadcasting stations ( Production editor opportunities are higher in major markets, such as Chicago and New York; however, advancements in technology and the Internet have made telecommuting possible and location less of a priority.

Job growth for editors in general is expected to show a decrease over the 2018-2028 span, according to the BLS. This decline is representative of the struggles within the print publishing industry overall. In 2018, the BLS reported editors working in newspaper, periodical, book or directory publishing earned an mean salary of $69,480.

Production Editor Duties

Production editor duties are focused on managing a publication and its staff. They communicate with writers, editors, clients and vendors to ensure the publication meets quality standards and deadlines. They choose content that will be featured in books, magazines, journals, newspapers or other publications and schedule publishing dates and deadlines. They also might be responsible for hiring staff employees and negotiating contracts with freelance writers. Editors also proofread and edit content and offer feedback to writers and other editors.

Production Editor Requirements

Production editors typically have at least a bachelor's degree in English, journalism or a related field. They usually begin as writers and, after becoming familiar with the daily functions of a publishing company, work their way up to editor status. Employers generally favor candidates with editorial experience in both print and online publications. Applicants also should have excellent communication skills, experience giving oral presentations and decision-making skills.

A production editor's duties range from editing to balancing budgets; managing staff, reviewing material, and finalizing published materials, are all duties that fall under an editor's description. Along with possessing a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, typically English or journalism, a production editor must also possess a diverse skill set to meet the demands of the job. Editors who transition to online editing will have better job potential and salaries.

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