Do I need a graduate degree to be a copyeditor—even as a freelancer?

Copy editors are required to juggle many responsibilities: checking facts, writing headlines, correcting grammar, ensuring the meaning of text is coherent and clear, resolving queries with authors and working with editorial departments in order to ensure timely productions and accurate content in the medium of publication—just to name a few.1 editin

Graduate degrees are not required in order to become a copy editor, but they definitely help you obtain some hands-on experience that companies look for when searching for someone to edit their work.

Education Requirements

Typically, copy editors earn at least a bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism or other similar fields before going into the editing world.

Undergraduate students pursuing an English degree are exposed to a wide variety of writing styles in their exploration of literature, and therefore are more likely to receive training in essential areas—such as syntax or story logic. Similarly, Journalism undergraduate programs are a great way to learn the skills necessary to become a copy editor—offering coursework relevant to the profession, and teaching about ethics, media law and how technology and other new platforms are continuously evolving with media and publishing.

Progressing in the Company

Most copy editors, once employed, gain a lot of experience, knowledge, and editing tips from colleagues. Copy editors have the ability to work their way up to senior publishing positions, where they will be able to commission and manage publications. However, copy editors with a graduate degree and a lot of hands-on experience are more likely to be given a job in a management or senior position than those who didn’t pursue a graduate degree.

Freelance Copy Editors

There are many benefits of being a freelance copyeditor, such as the ability to negotiate fees, and work remotely. Those who have no prior experience can build up their resumes by finding work at a university press or writing center.

Freelance copy editors progress by building a strong track record through completing great and thorough work on given projects. When a freelance copy editor does exceptional work, the company is more likely contact that copyeditor for future projects.

For more information:

Education Portal:


National Careers Service:

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Nikki Stalcup is an English major/Psychology minor at TCU and is interested in opening up a yoga studio after graduating.


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