Job description

Proofreaders review copy to check for things like grammar, spelling, syntax and formatting errors. Unlike editors, they don’t make recommendations to improve copy in any way. Their job is to simply do a final check before publication.

Many proofreaders specialise in a particular field, such as business, finance, law or medicine, while others are employed by companies and publishing houses to proofread books, articles and all sorts of other copy.


    • Review and mark copy for grammar, spelling, punctuation or formatting issues
    • Route proofs to authors, editors, typists or typesetters for correction or reprinting
    • Consult authors and editors regarding copy changes and suggestions
    • Read corrected copies or proofs to ensure all corrections have been made
    • Prepare electronic or otherwise manuscripts
    • Check copy for coherence and uniformity to a house style
    • Consult reference books to check grammar and composition rules
    • Write original content such as headlines and captions

Skills and qualities

Reading comprehension
Active listening
Critical thinking
Attention to detail
English language
Computer software

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

You will generally start in a junior position as proofreader and work your way up to senior proofreader, where you will manage a team of other proofreaders.

With experience, you could build up your reputation as a specialist in a particular field, enabling you to approach publishing companies for work. You could even set up your own proofreading business, or move to an editorial role with more responsibility.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

Standard business hours

You will typically work in an office setting within a larger editorial team, although remote work is possible, particularly if you’re self-employed or work on a freelance basis.

You will work a standard 40-hour workweek if employed by a publication, but long, irregular hours may be required if you’re self-employed and you work for international clients in different time zones.

The work can be stressful at times, particularly during busy periods or when working towards a deadline.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Bachelor’s degree in English or related subject

Study time

4 years

Most employers hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, publishing or a related subject, although you will still be able to find employment upon completing a two-year associate’s degree. Some employers will hire you if you don’t have any formal education, as long as you have extensive experience in proofreading.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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