Job Description of a Copy Editor


Copy editor jobs are increasing in popularity. Oftentimes, copy editors can work for multiple organizations on a freelance basis. As online publications grow in popularity, copy editor jobs opportunities may rise even more. The popular nature of a copy editor job means that there is much competition for work in this field. This field has potential for advancement to jobs such as newspaper editor or managing editor.


  • Copy editors review and rewrite the work of writers. The duties of a copy editor often include acting as a fact checker. They must be familiar with reference material and sources. Copy editors must also be well versed in proper grammar, spelling and punctuation as a copy editor's job often requires him to make sure the publications are error free. Copy editors must be familiar with the 'house style' of the company that employs them. House style is the publisher's or company's rules on punctuation and spelling as sometimes these can be a matter of style. Copy editors might also write material for publication such as advertising copy.


  • Copy editors are generally employed by magazine publications, newspapers, book publishing companies, production houses. Websites also often employ copy editors to edit written work submitted by freelance writers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the demand online publications grow, the need for internet copy editors grow as well. Other organizations that may employ copy writers are government agencies, schools and universities and businesses and corporations.


  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most copy editor jobs require a college degree usually in the areas of journalism, English or communications. A bachelor's degree or higher is generally required for a copy editor job; however, this depends on the hiring organization. Some editor jobs require specialized knowledge or training depending on the subject matter.

Employment Opportunities

  • The latest statistics in 2008 showed that editors hold approximately 130,000 copy editor jobs with 12 percent being self-employed. Generally jobs are concentrated in major metropolitan areas such as New York and Washington DC; however, the internet allows writers and editors to work remotely much more frequently and location is not as stringent a requirement as it once was. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of editors to grow by 8 percent between 2008 and 2018, particularly with the growth of online publications and services. Popular employers are Gannett, Conde Nast and "The New York Times."


  • As of May 2010, the national average salary for a copy editor was between $31,582 and $49,248. Bonuses and profit sharing may be available for some copy editors, but are generally between one and ten percent of the salary. The most common benefits offered to copy editors are medical, dental and vision insurance. About a quarter of copy editors receive no benefits.

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