1. What is Proofreading?

Proofreading jobs require a meticulous eye for detail. It is the final step taken before the submission or distribution of a prepared document. The main role of a proofreader is to review the content and check that it is free from mistakes. This process is to ensure that the material is free from errors with regards to syntax, punctuation, spellings, grammar and formatting.

proofreading jobs what is proofreading

1.1 The difference between an editor and proofreader

Although there is overlap in the type of work a proofreader and editor do, they are still two separate professions as well as separate processes in the revision of documents. While both an editor and a proofreader ensuring the material is grammatically correct and free from errors, a proofreader is the last step in the process after most of the major changes have been made. An editor will ensure the text is structurally sound and that the core of the writing is clear and concise, while a proofreader’s primary responsibility should be more minor corrections in grammar and other surface-level issues and inconsistencies. Material should have gone through several stages of revision and final changes before being proofread.

1.2. Pros and cons of proofreading jobs

There are many factors to consider when you begin working as a proofreader. Here are some examples:


  • Being a proofreader often allows you to work remotely.
  • Startup costs for proofreading are lower than other businesses, due to the nature of the work.
  • There are beginner proofreader jobs out there to help you get your foot on the ladder.
  • It is a good way to earn income if you have great English language skills and an eye for detail.


  • Many proofreading jobs require a degree or further education.
  • There are often tight or strict deadlines that you need to stay on top of, which can make the job quite stressful.
  • The job can be quite consuming

1.3. Proofreading example

While the content that needs proofing will vary depending on what kind of content you are proofreading, the structure of the work remains the same and should look a little something like this.

proofreading jobs proofreading example

2. How do you become a proofreader

Although there is not one path to becoming a proofreader, there are a few steps that can help you begin the process:

Step 1: Decide if you want to be a full-time, part-time, or freelance proofreader and research if
the industries and material you are interested in require higher education or if your experience and education match the requirements.

Step 2: If you need or want to continue your education, look into the best schools with the quickest and
most affordable steps towards completing your degree.

Step 3: Whether you are in school or looking to gain experience, internships are a great next
step to build your portfolio and improve your skills.

Step 4: Practice, practice, practice. Ask to proofread other people’s work. Practice proofreading
the newspaper and other material.

2.1. Are proofreaders in demand in 2021?

The number of proofreader opportunities had been on the decrease since 2004: however, the number in 2018 was back on the rise. It is estimated that the annual increase in the number of vacancies is around 4.25%: with an estimated 118,300 positions filled in 2018.

2.2. Do I need to be a degree to become a proofreader?

The requirements for working as a proofreader vary from job to job, with some jobs desiring college degrees while others requiring only experience. Typical degrees that proofreading jobs list as preferred are Bachelors in English or Bachelors in Journalism/Communication. Whether you want to attend classes or earn your degree from home, there are many options available. Listed below are the most affordable universities for earning a degree that will help you become a proofreader.

University name: University of Memphis
Education type: Online / Offline
Degree: Bachelors in English or Bachelors in Communication
Years: Typically takes 4 years
Cost per year: In-state $9,317 and out-of-state $21,029

University name: Indiana University East
Education type: Online
Degree: Bachelors in English or Bachelors in Communication
Years: Typically takes 4 years
Cost per year: In-state $19,604 and out-of-state $31,660

University name: King University
Education type: Online
Degree: Bachelors in English or Bachelors in Communication
Years: Typically takes 4 years
Cost per year: $41,045

University name: Northwestern University
Education type: Offline
Degree: Bachelors in English or Bachelors in Communication
Years: Typically takes 4 years
Cost per year: $54,120

University name: Georgia State University
Education type: Offline
Degree: Bachelors in English or Bachelors in Communication
Years: Typically takes 4 years
Cost per year: $8,974 in state and $23,542

3. How much do proofreaders earn in 2021?

The amount you can earn varies depending on the amount you work, the sector you are working in and how often you work. It is estimated that the average base pay for a proofreader is around $44,810 per year according to Glassdoor.com or $51,401 per year according to ZipRecruiter.com and can have a range between $13/hr up to $40/hr. As a freelancer, you can often determine the rate or it will depend on your experience: pay varies anywhere from $9 an hour to $50 per text.

3.1. How much time should I spend on this job?

Depending on whether you work full-time, part-time, or freelance will determine the number of hours you work. Typical hours for full-time are around 38-40 hours a week and part-time is classified as any amount less than 35 hours a week. Whereas, if you decide to freelance then you will have greater control over your hours.

proofreading jobs how much time should I spend on this job

4. A comparison of Proofreading jobs comparison by industry

Proofreading is a job that is required in many different fields. However, with different sectors come different challenges. How do you choose which sector is best for you when it comes to proofreading? Here is a list of the different pros and cons for a few of the leading industries.

Legal Services: Working in legal services includes proofreading contracts and agreements. You’d be assisting lawyers with checking their work before they present it to clients.
Pro: Jobs in this industry are highly regarded and highly paid.
Con: This industry is full of technical jargon, which requires a lot of hard work (and maybe a specialist dictionary

Business Services: In this sector, work can include reading contracts, agreements, adverts and much more. Business services covers a broad spectrum of offerings, so there are many different opportunities as a proofreader.
Pro: The variety of offerings and content to proof makes the business sector more
diverse and interesting.
Con: It is one of the worst paying sectors for a proofreader to work in.

Relations: One of the biggest parts of being in PR is pitching to others. This leaves no room for errors in first impressions: this is where a proofreader comes in.
Pro: Again, it’s a highly-paid sector which makes it lucrative for proofreaders.
Con: It can be rather laborious and time consuming.

College,University and Schools: Proofreading essays, applications and other academic texts is all part of being a proofreader for colleges, universities and schools.
Pro: The work is routine and well structured.
Con: This sector is not well paid, just as with many jobs in the education sector.

5. 4 Skills that every proofreader should have

1. An Eye for Detail: The devil is in the detail. Being able to spot mistakes in a sea of words takes a keen eye, so it is important that you are a reader of the small print. For example, read how to cheat plagiarism.
2. A Good Attention Span: Some of the documents you will encounter as a proofreader will be long. Depending on the field will obviously affect this, but in order to be a pro proofreader, it is important to be able to focus on the texts.
3. Dedication: Sometimes it may feel laborious, especially with texts full of jargon or unfamiliar words. It is important to stick with a text and not give up the challenge. The stronger your dedication, the more rewarding the job will be.
4. Flexibility: Adaptability is key as a proofreader. With the internet becoming a staple in everyday life, the world is becoming on demand. The opportunity to work with different time zones and flexible shifts means that it is important to adapt with this. In addition, the kind of work you will do may vary from day to day, so it is important to be able to work with different texts, sectors and people.

6. Where to find proofreading jobs

There are many platforms that help proofreaders find jobs that fit into their lives as well as align with their background and experience. Online communities for freelancers are very common such as Freelancer, Fiverr, or Upwork. Whereas, other job posting sites also post job ads for proofreading opportunities such as Glassdoor and Indeed. There are many job opportunities with companies as a proofreader with higher education such as CACTUS Communications, which hires proofreaders with a background in the medical field.

6.1. Websites for remote and freelance proofreading jobs

There are many online platforms for freelance and remote proofreading jobs. With the ever growing demand for proofreaders, there are many possibilities. Below is a list of the 4 top websites for proofreading work.

  • Fiverr: On Fiverr, there are many opportunities. Post what your offering includes, add extra services to increase your earnings. Fiverr is one of the easiest platforms to use.
  • Wordvice: This platform has a variety of different open positions for content writers, translators and editors. They seek qualified and experienced professionals to join their growing team.
  • Scribe Writing: Formerly known as Book in a Box, Scribe Writing is a proofreading company that mainly handles manuscripts.
  • Scribbr: A Dutch editing company with many positions available in several european languages. The majority of work with Scribbr deals with the proofreading of academic papers.

proofreading jobs remote and freelance proofreading jobs

7. 5 Proofreading jobs that don’t require a degree

As previously mentioned, it is not required to have a degree to work as a proofreader. Some options that do not always require a degree are:

  1. Scribendi:Babbletype: A degree is not necessary to work this company, the only downside is that proofreading jobs are not always available.
  2. Proofreading Services: Working for Proofreading Services does not require any degree, however, they do require you to take a test to prove your proofreading skills.
  3. Polished Paper: To begin working as a proofreader with Polished Paper you must submit a resume detailing past experience as well as pass a 35 question test.
  4. Prompt:: With quality experience and knowledge you can work with Prompt. Although they are not always hiring and require a minimum of 4 hour per week, you can sign up to be on the waitlist when opportunities are unavailable.
  5. Upwork: This freelance company can connect you with beginner level projects that are in need of proofreading.

8. 5 Proofreading jobs that require a degree

If you have a degree in Communications, English, Journalism or another relevant subject there are many more opportunities for you. Here are our top 5 proofreading jobs that require a degree.

  1. WordviceWordvice: Wordvice requires a graduate degree from a recognised university in order to work as a proofreader for them.
  2. Scribbr: In order to work for Scribbr, they require that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject. As this job requires the reading of academic texts, it is required that you have a higher education qualification yourself.
  3. Scribendi: As with Scribbr, the main focus of Scribendi is on academic texts. Therefore, they require at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject.
  4. ProofreadingPal: In order to work for this company you must have a degree with a minimum of five years of proofreading and editing experience.
  5. English Trackers: The professionals hold a very high standard, only accepting candidates with a PhD in relevant subjects.

9. 5 Proofreading tips that will boost your effectiveness

Here is a list of some of our top 5 tips to improve your effectiveness as a proofreader.

1. Be aware of sounds: The English language is full of homonyms, make sure to keep an eye out as this is something a spell checker may not catch.
2. Print it out: Print out the text you’re proofing, as sometimes the light reflecting on a screen can really impact your ability to proofread. Switch up to reading on paper as it will not only give your eyes a rest from blue light, but a change of background can often give you new insights.
3. Watch out for contractions: Contractions are when words are joined together, such as “goodbye”. Read them as spelled out words to help with spotting grammatical errors.
4. Read the text backwards: Our brains have a pesky habit of automatically correcting spelling mistakes and filling in gaps with words we know. In order to help reduce this factor from impacting your proofreading work, read the text backwards- your brain has to focus more and you will spot mistakes more easily.
5. Read out loud: Often you can spot more mistakes when you read a text out loud. To ensure your text is error free, simply read the text to yourself a couple of times over to help.
6. British vs American: Check your audience before you begin proofreading. There are many differences between the two, so it is important to be aware of this when proofreading. Depending on who and where you write, there are also different styles of referencing. For example: In the US, you are more likely to find the APA and Chicago styles of referencing, whereas in the UK you are more likely to find the Oxford style of referencing. Each different industry and country have a different style of referencing as the norm- so keep this in mind!

proofreading jobs proofreading tips

10. Must have tools, services & software for proofreaders

There are many useful tools that can help proofreaders with numerous functions. Below is a list of the different online tools or softwares available to aid in proofreading:

  • Grammarly is an in-depth software that can assist in finding grammar and spelling mistakes. Grammarly offers a free version as well as a version that costs $29.95/month. Grammarly can also check for plagiarism and give tips that can enhance content.
  • Ginger is another tool that can help with proofreading. The software checks for errors in grammar and spelling. It offers suggestions on rephrasing of sentences to enrich your text. This program is also completely cost-free.
  • WhiteSmoke is another great tool that is available free online to ensure your work is free of contextual inaccuracies. It provides grammar and spelling corrections. Plus, it is user friendly with a simple interface for quick fixes. 
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