Research Editor: Job Description, Salary and Requirements

Sep 29, 2019

Research editors are typically required to have a bachelor's degree. While common majors for editors include journalism, creative writing, or English, some research editors may also have a degree in a specific subject related to their field of research. Common editing tasks include fact-checking, proofreading, and designing layouts, and those who work on a college newspaper can gain practical experience performing these tasks before entering this field.

Essential Information

People who have a good grasp of technical or specialized information and would like revising articles or stories to improve their readability might enjoy working as research editors. These professionals evaluate the technical and grammatical accuracy of research work, ensure that research is cited correctly, and confer with authors regarding changes in style, content, and organization. Work in this field typically requires a bachelor's degree and experience is helpful.

Required Education A bachelor's degree in English, creative writing or journalism
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -3% (for editors)
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)* $59,480 (for editors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Research Editor

Research editors can focus on a specific subject of expertise, such as technology, law, medicine, or health. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), editors often start out as writers and can work for book publishing companies, newspapers, specialized journals, or Internet sites (

Research editors collect and analyze specialized data and translate it into copy that the general public can understand. They might fact-check articles to ensure that technical or specialized information is presented accurately and verify that the sources used are appropriate. Research editors also may be responsible for detecting and correcting errors in spelling, grammar, and word usage.

Research editors direct writers and typically need to exercise tact when requiring changes in a story. They need to be aware of new developments in their field and demonstrate good judgment in developing story ideas and determining the placement of articles in a publication or on a website.

Research Editor Salary

The BLS reported that the mean annual salary of all editors was $69,480 as of May 2018. Editors who worked for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers earned a mean wage of $65,890 in that same time period. Individuals who edited content for other information services earned a mean salary of $76,440 in May 2018.

Requirements for Research Editors

A bachelor's degree is generally required for entry into the editorial field, according to the BLS, and some employers could require that the applicant's degree be in journalism, creative writing, or English. Coursework or a degree in a particular subject also may be required to work as a research editor. For example, an individual with training in biology might work as a research editor for a science publication.

Working on the staff of a college or community newspaper is one way to gain experience in such editing tasks as fact-checking, proofreading, and designing layouts. Some newspapers and publications also offer internships for college students. Experience with publishing programs, graphic design, and Web page development could be required by some employers.

Research editors review content for technical errors, such as grammatical issues, clarity, accuracy of facts and source citation. Formal postsecondary education in a related field is often required. Salaries for editors vary depending on industry, professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $82,160 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $31,500 or less per year.

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