What does a Copy Editor do?

A copy editor may work for any industry to create, proofread, and modify content for writers or employers. From books to articles to web content, copy editors make sure that documents are grammatically correct, readable, and correspond with the brand image and target audience of the company. Depending on the industry they work in, they use style manuals to make decisions about voice, word choice, formatting, and other variables.

Professional copy editors generally hold a bachelor's degree in English, journalism, or a related field. They must be able to adhere to strict deadlines and be extremely meticulous to identify and correct small errors in punctuation, spelling, or grammar. A copy editor may work exclusively for one organization or they may freelance for various companies. They also research information presented in articles to make sure that facts, such as dates, names, and statistics are correct and current.

  • Communicate within the company with creative directors or other interested parties via email, telephone calls, or in person
  • Conduct extensive research and interviews to ensure content is accurate and up-to-date
  • Proofread text and edit text at various stages of the writing process and in response to feedback from writers or creative directors
  • Engage readers with informative, entertaining, and educational copy
  • Understand and consistently reflect the brand voice of the company in writing style
  • Inform readers on the features of products using accurate and current information
  • Produce email marketing copy for products or services using promotional language designed to motivate
  • Keep abreast of trends in content and style reflected on various popular social media channels
  • 2+ years of copy editing experience preferred
  • Proficiency with applying the principles of style guides, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, to different types of writing
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in the English language
  • Thorough knowledge of media production and communication
  • Ability to remain detailed-oriented and focused when processing large amounts of text
  • Willingness to collaborate with a creative team of writers, graphic designers, and others
  • Strong computer processing skills, especially G Suite and Microsoft Office
  • Basic knowledge of legal issues involved in publishing, such as libel and plagiarism
  • Mastery of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors and ability to make constructive suggestions
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.2 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Copy Editor Salaries

Average Base Pay

£28,648 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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£19K
Median: £29K
£43K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Copy Editor Career Path

Learn how to become a Copy Editor, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L2
Copy Editor
£28,648/yr
L3
L4
Lead Copy Editor
£31,911/yr
See Career Path

Copy Editor Insights

Read what Copy Editor professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Research to PracticeResearch to Practice
Proofreader
10 Jan 2021

“Everyone I have worked with has been so nice and helpful”

L&K Saatchi & SaatchiL&K Saatchi & Saatchi
Copy Supervisor
11 Jan 2021

“balance and good compensation”

Nothing SomethingNothing Something
Date Entry/Copy Paste
23 Aug 2020

“Good com pany paid good”

The Salvation ArmyThe Salvation Army
Copy Editor
7 Oct 2020

“Career was ended unjustly and unexpectedly”

Royal PublishingRoyal Publishing
Proofreader
29 Jul 2021

“Paid holidays and life insurance”

TNQ TechnologiesTNQ Technologies
Trainee -copy Editing
20 Dec 2021

“Low salary and I have no cons”

Centre for Science and EnvironmentCentre for Science and Environment
Senior Copy Editor
9 Jul 2021

“Lunch was great fun and convival”

Book LaunchersBook Launchers
Copyeditor
8 Jun 2021

“They have a really great internal team that's fun to work with.”

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Copy Editor Interviews

Related Careers

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£36,039
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Copywriter
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Journalist
£33,457
38% skills overlap
Writer
£28,377
63% skills overlap

Copy Editor jobs

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a copy editor

When working as a copy editor, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are Editing, Degree IN English, English Language Grammar, Microsoft Office Suite and Writing.

The most similar professions to copy editor are:
  • Editor
  • Copywriter
  • Journalist
  • Writer

The most common qualifications to become a copy editor is a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.