Certificate programs in publishing or related areas may prepare students to fill entry-level proofreader positions. They may feature business content as well as proofreading and editing courses, and they're typically much shorter than full degree programs.
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.
A bachelor's degree program in journalism or English is designed to teach creative and technical writing as well as various styles of professional communication. Graduates might go on to become proofreaders, as well as authors, editors, freelance writers or journalists. Prior to admission, a high school diploma or equivalent is required.
Certificate Programs in Proofreading
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.
Common topics of study include:
- Proofreading books and articles
- Preparing Internet content
- Editing symbols
- Constructive evaluations
Associate Degree in English or Office Administration
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. 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.
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.
Some common courses include:
- English composition
- Creative writing
- Critical thinking
Bachelor's Degrees for Proofreaders
Many bachelor's degree programs teach students to improve writing skills, explore literary areas and study language techniques. 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:
- Creative writing
- Literary styles
- Technical writing
- Professional communication
Popular Career Options
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.
Earning a certificate in publishing or office administration can qualify graduates for opportunities in several industries. A few examples of career options include:
- Office clerk
- Legal secretary
- Word processing operator
- Assistant editor
For degree holders in a proofreading-related field, some additional career options include:
- Freelance writer
- Technical writer
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that proofreaders will see a 2% decline in employment opportunities for the years 2014 through 2024. In May 2015, the BLS reported that proofreaders earned a median salary of $35,630.
Editors were expected to see a 5% decline employment openings during the 2014-2024 decade, due in part to the shift from print media to online publications. Median salaries for editors came in at $56,010 as of 2015, per the BLS.
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.
Students interested in proofreading work may pursue undergraduate certificates in copy editing or publishing. They may also consider associate degrees in English or bachelor's degrees in fields like journalism, communications, English and more. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that many proofreaders hold a bachelor's degree.