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How To Become A Proofreader

How To Become A Proofreader

Demand for proofreaders is growing as content writing becomes increasingly popular amongst people who make a living online. So, just as a content writer or digital copywriter can make money blogging, readers like you can make money proofreading. All you’ll need is an impeccable grasp of spelling and grammar, a keen eye for detail, and basic business skills. 

With plenty of proofreading jobs online, it’s easy enough to find enough work. However, learning how to become a proofreader means figuring out the right jobs for you. You will also have to know where to look for them. 

To give you all the insights you need into making a living as a proofreader, check out our guide. It has the answers to all of the biggest questions, including “how much do proofreaders make?” and “what do I need to do to become a successful proofreader?” 

What is proofreading? 


For starters, it’s important to understand what a proofreader does. This means distinguishing between proofreading and other, similar responsibilities including developmental editing and copy editing. They each play a different part in the editorial process: 

  • Developmental editing: Development editors will iron out and revise key components of an idea or plan, including a book plot or content structure. 

  • Copy editing: Copy editors make edits throughout the copywriting and content writing process and oversee rewrites. It’s also important to point out that copy editing is sometimes also called “copy tasting.”

  • Proofreading: a proofreader provides the last and most crucial read-through. Proofreaders correct things like grammatical errors and check for any inconsistencies in the tone of voice that the copy editor may have missed. 

What are the benefits of being a proofreader? 

There are plenty of benefits to being a proofreader. One of the biggest is that there are so many different types of writing that need a keen reader to make them great. Some of the most in-demand proofreading jobs include:

  • Books.

  • Web content. 

  • Technical writing.

  • Brand copywriting. 

  • Creative copywriting. 

  • SEO copywriting. 

  • Sales copy.

  • Video scripts

  • Court reporters. 

  • Product descriptions. 

So, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom hoping for a side hustle or you’re trying to establish yourself in the freelance marketplaces, there will be proofreading work out there for you. Since most proofreaders find jobs online and work from home, it’s perfect for job seekers, graduates, retirees, and more. 

As long as you have the essential baseline skills, it is possible to turn your passion for reading into a full-time or part-time position. You’ll gain experience every day you’re on the job, so you’ll be able to progress quickly no matter who you are. 

How to become an online proofreader? 

Don’t worry if you don’t have an English degree or similar qualifications. There are, in fact, no specific educational barriers to becoming a freelance proofreader. Still, it does help to have some sort of accreditation, whether that be from a university education or an online short course. 

Regardless of your background, you must do some training before setting out on your new career path. This could include signing up for a comprehensive program and proofreading practice essays. Doing so will give you the confidence to edit other peoples’ work with authority and market yourself effectively. 

What you need to know to be a successful online proofreader 


There’s no point finding out how to become a proofreader if you don’t work out how to be successful at it, too. There may be a lot of work out there, but it is a crowded market. 

So, you’ll need to be good with the basics like using Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or similar word processors. You will also, of course, need a high-level knowledge of grammar and punctuation. And, as well as these more obvious skills, there are a few more you’ll need to get to grips with if you’re wondering how to become a proofreader. 

How to paste text without formatting? 

Many proofreaders prefer working with unformatted text. So, as an online proofreader, you should know how to paste text without formatting (Mac + Windows). It’s really easy to do, once you know the shortcuts. They are as follows: 

  • Mac: press Command + Option + Shift + V. If you want to paste with all original formatting, simply press Command + V. 

  • Windows: press Ctrl + Shift + V. Or, you can press Ctrl + V to paste with formatting. 

The main reason behind this is when text is moved from Microsoft Word to either a Google Document (for sharing) and uploaded into a content management system (CMS) like WordPress — then unwanted code might be copied over, which can ultimately distort the appearance of your content. As a result, if you do not do this then the article might see problems like awkward spacing, issues with bullet-point structure, etc.

What are some common proofreading mistakes? 

It might sound ridiculous to say you need to know common errors if you want to be a good proofreader. But knowing where people tend to go wrong is the best way to avoid pitfalls. So, brush up on things like regular grammar mistakes and English language spelling variations for a start. 

In addition, you’ll need to learn about things like title case structure and subheading structure, when to use the Oxford comma, and the difference between an en dash vs em dash

Understanding style guides 

Many proofreaders choose to work with a specific style guide, as do writers. This helps them to retain consistency within and across documents. Among the most common styles include AP style, APA style, and MLA style

The importance of fluency

To be a successful proofreader, you can’t just spot errors and assure correctness. The best proofreading and editing must also be concerned with fluency. This means being able to write with a natural rhythm that is pleasing to readers. It is a crucial part of storytelling, whether in a novel or an academic journal article.

What are some courses for editing? 

There’s a lot you’ll need to get right if you want to be a professional proofreader. And, since it’s a role that is so concerned with accuracy, you should learn to proofread properly before you begin working with paying clients. The best way to do that is to sign up for an online proofreading course. 

To learn essential proofreading theory and proofreading skills without breaking the bank, consider the Proofreading and Editing Online Certificate Course from Courses for Success. During its 10 modules and 150 hours of flexible study, you will learn all there is to know about how to proofread well and make a living doing it. 

To sharpen your skills further, you can browse courses that cover proofreading, editing, and writing in more detail. 

How to get a job as a proofreader? 

Those planning to work freelance should know that it’s up to the professional proofreaders themselves to find prospective clients and secure online proofreading jobs. As such, in this industry, knowing how to attract clients is an indispensable skill. It’s also one that gets easier once you’re a more experienced proofreader with a good reputation. 

While a lot of proofreaders go down the freelance route, it is possible to get a salaried job as a proofreader, for example with newspapers and publishing houses. The route you eventually go down will largely depend on how much flexibility you want in your working life. 

How much do proofreaders make?

The question “what do proofreaders earn?” doesn’t have a single straightforward answer. It will depend on things like their level of experience and whether they charge by the word or by the hour. However, generally speaking, proofreaders earn at least $22 per hour, which works out at just under $43,000 a year

So, full-time proofreaders and those that run their own proofreading business can expect to make good money from home. In some cases, they may even earn as much as $68,000 a year

How to break into the proofreading industry?

If you’ve been wondering how to become a proofreader or you’re struggling to break into the online proofreading industry, then take some time to learn the ropes. Proofreading careers can be very lucrative if you have the necessary skills. So, as long as you go about things in the right way, successful proofreading can take you far. 

To get a good grasp of what proofreaders and editors do in their day-to-day and to learn how to do it yourself, sign up for an online short course. It is by far the most efficient and time-effective means of mastering the essentials before you get started. Plus, with a respected qualification to your name, you’ll be able to set your rates higher much sooner. 

Why Courses for Success? 

Courses for Success offers over 10,000 online courses, all of which aim to help you in your personal development and career progression. Not only that, but you can also study them anywhere and at any time, and take them at your own pace, too.

You don’t need career diplomas or specific experience to get started. With every course we offer created to be as accessible as possible, you can be sure that all of them, from our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, will help to boost your prospects, no matter who you are.

Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued with a certificate online after successful completion of each of the learning courses they do. Our proofreading courses are no exception. Our online proofreading certificates are recognized by industry leaders. You could really make a name for yourself in the proofreading sector by signing up for a Courses for Success short course.

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