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Copy Editor Job Description: Skills, Salary, & More

Copy Editor Job Description

Working as a copy editor can be a very exciting and fulfilling job because you will be able to work on a variety of content. Deciding if copy editing is the right career path for you necessitates learning about the Copy Editor Job Description, responsibilities and skills required to succeed. In this article, we’ll look at what a copy editor does and how you can become one.

What is a copy editor?

A copy editor is a professional who works in a variety of industries proofreading, fact-checking, and editing content to ensure that grammar, syntax, and punctuation are used correctly and style guides are followed.

They also assist in restructuring copy to improve flow and clarity for audiences, as well as ensuring that tone and voice in writing match company branding. Some copy editors also manage projects and oversee the production of content. You must understand the Copy Editor job description.

Copy editor skills

Building and strengthening the following skills will help you succeed in a career as a copy editor:

1.Excellent writing skills

To be a successful copy editor, you must have a strong command of the English language. Copy editors must be able to read copy and determine whether it communicates information logically and clearly to the intended audience while complying to the style guide’s requirements.

They must ensure that the voice, tone, and structure are correct, and they must be able to rewrite content to make it flow more naturally. This includes a strong grasp of sentence structure, grammar rules, and punctuation usage, as well as how rules change depending on the writing style required (i.e., APA, Chicago, MLA).

2.Ability to connect

Although a copy editor focuses on content, it is important for them to connect with others and have interpersonal skills. Copy editors frequently work directly with writers and clients, so having compassion and the ability to build positive relationships with others is a highly advantageous skill in this field.

Copy editors must provide writers with encouragement and understanding, as well as support and guidance. They must also maintain professional relationships with clients and in-house leadership.

3.Creative and inquisitive mind

Copy editors must be interested in learning more about the topics they proofread and must frequently come up with creative headlines and lead-in sentences to capture the attention of readers. They may also need to look for a unique way to write about a common topic that many others have already covered.

Copy editors in advertising and marketing rely heavily on creativity and curiosity to develop exciting copy for website landing pages, company branding, and other content used to influence a target audience.

4.Outstanding attention to detail

The foundation of copy editing is ensuring error-free work. This requires meticulous attention to detail, from noticing minor punctuation errors to ensuring a properly structured flow of ideas throughout an entire book.

Copy editors must be able to remember every detail of a style guide and apply it to every piece of work they proofread. They may also be required to know more than one style guide and switch between them during the course of their workday, which requires exceptional focus and dedication to their work.

5.Organized and deadline-oriented mindset

Copy editors frequently juggle multiple projects at once and may work with a large number of writers, so they must have exceptional organisational skills to structure their workday and stay on top of tasks.

This is also a deadline-focused career, and copy editors may be required to meet last-minute deadlines to ensure copy goes to print, so the ability to stay organized and calm under pressure is essential.

Education, Training, & Certification

There is no formal training required to be a copy editor, but people with these jobs generally have a love of language and a very firm grasp of English usage, as well as a love of detail and a sharp eye.

  • College degree: While a degree is not necessary, employers typically prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or communications.
  • Certifications: If you want to enter the field without any previous copy editing experience, relevant studies—for example, a copy editing certification—can help you get your foot in the door.
  • Related experience: Employers may look for experience with other forms of media, such as television, newspapers, or social media.
  • Testing: Just about every copy editing job position requires applicants to pass copy editing tests, which involve reviewing a sample story and correcting mistakes. These tests, like writing tests (which many journalists and editors are required to take), are industry standards.

Copy Editor Salary

The salary of a copy editor varies widely depending on experience, geographical location, publication type, and other factors.

  • Median Annual Salary: $58,870 ($28.25/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $114,460 ($55.03/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $30,830 ($14.82/hour)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017

Copy Editor Job Description, Duties & Responsibilities

Candidates for this Copy Editor position must be capable of performing the following duties:

  • Correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in the text.
  • Check the accuracy of information, such as dates and statistics.
  • Check the text for style, readability, and compliance with editorial policies.
  • Arrange photo, article, and advertisement page layouts
  • Improve text clarity and readability by rewriting it.

While basic grammar rules remain constant, a copy editor, like journalists and writers, must be familiar with AP Style, a usage guide provided by the Associated Press—the country’s largest newswire service. The American Psychological Association (AP) style has been adopted by the majority of newspapers (and many magazines).

Because this is a “style” guide, it does not provide overarching grammar rules, but rather specific rules pertaining to everything from the serial comma to when you write a number out in letters rather than listing it in numeric form.

In addition, while AP style is the industry standard, particularly among news organisations, there are other style guides.

Copy Editor Working Conditions

Is it possible for a copy editor to work from home?

Yes! In this day and age, Copy Editors can easily do the majority of their work from home via emails and video calls. The majority of Copy Editing jobs will most likely be located in a company’s office, but there are more and more remote Copy Editor jobs becoming available.

How Many Hours Does a Copy Editor Work Per Week?

Most Copy Editors work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a total of 40 hours per week. If editors have to complete something on a tight deadline, they will almost certainly have to put in more than 40 hours.

Can a Copy Editor Work Part-Time?

Most Copy Editors work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a total of 40 hours per week. If editors have to complete something on a tight deadline, they will almost certainly have to put in more than 40 hours.

What is the average number of vacation days for a copy editor?

Working full-time, most Copy Editors will receive two weeks of paid vacation per year, with the potential to earn more each year they work for their company.

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