Freelance Copy Editor Job Profile

If you start your career as a freelance copy editor, then most of your work hours will be spent copyediting books, articles or any other sort of written materials. As a copy editor, you will be checking for mistakes in grammar, spelling and punctuation and will also be formatting the content. Ensuring the length, relevance, writing style and completeness of the articles is also the responsibility of a copy editor.

Qualifications/Skills Required

After high school graduation, any bachelor’s degree is enough, but a course in journalism and good writing skills give you an added advantage for becoming a copy editor. You can also undergo book and magazine editing and proofreading courses to gain an edge over others. If not, then you should possess excellent spelling and grammar skills in a particular language. Graduation in another field or a foreign language will prove to be fruitful if you want to work on special topics. If you are a teacher, possess excellent knowledge in your field and also have excellent writing skills, then working as freelance copy editor for the publishers of school or college textbooks is also an option.


As a freelance copy editor, you will need to understand the style of writing required by a publisher or a website and will carry out the following basic duties in a flexible and convenient schedule:

  • Read the articles and correct spelling, punctuation or grammatical mistakes.
  • Monitor the consistency in the writing style and formatting.
  • Check the data given in the articles for accuracy and correctness after conducting substantial research.
  • Ensure the meaning conveyed is correct and ensure the relevance of any subheadings.
  • Delegate the revision work to writers or authors if there are many corrections to be made.


As a copy editor, you usually will be paid on an hourly or per project basis. Hence, the income can vary and will greatly depend on your experience, the projects and employer size. As of 2010, freelance copy editors are paid a median hourly wage in the range of $20 to $35. 

Different Copy Editor Jobs

Usually, freelance copy editors are hired by newspapers, magazines or book publishers, web publishers and publishers of other kinds of printed materials. You may also be hired by businesses, universities and government agencies for copyediting various written materials.

You can start as an editorial secretary, editorial assistant or as a research assistant. As you gain more experience and skills, you can advance to large publishing house or a website. Excellent opportunities for working as a freelance copy editor can be found on Large and small companies and individuals regularly post their requirements on this site for hiring freelance copy editors.  

Important Information

If you possess excellent English knowledge and an eye for details, then freelance copy editing may be a good career choice. To succeed in this career, you are also required to be efficient in following style guides like AP (Associated Press), Chicago and MLA (Modern Language Association). You should also have a knack for checking the accuracy of information, for fact checking.