Copy_editor_banner ©Dariusz Sankowski

Copy Editor

Personality type:
Print and Media

The Lowdown

  • Fixing grammar and spelling mistakes in a book or article before publication
  • Fact-checking statements that are presented as truth

Is this role right for me?

For this role, you will need to:

  • have extremely impressive English language skills
  • have a detail-orientated approach to work
  • maintain a professional standard of work, even with looming deadlines
  • make sure the writer’s tone is consistent, and remains after changes have been made
  • be in love with the English language, editing can be a very arduous task

What does a Copy Editor do?

A copy editor is in charge of making sure text is accurate and free of spelling and grammar mistakes before it’s sent for publications. It's a position for people with a great grasp on the English language and passion for clear copy.

It's a very detail-orientated job that requires intense concentration, but can be very rewarding if you enjoy making text more legible and presentable.

They are typically employed by book publishers, magazines or newspapers. But whichever industry a copy editor ends up in, the basic job role is the same.

Will I need a qualification?

Many copy editors do hold a degree in English, or a course related to the field they are looking to enter.

If you are considering taking a publishing course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the publishing industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a career in publishing.

Publishing courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

What’s the best route in?

There is no set path into Copy Editing. Some people opt to go freelance, offering their services to publishing houses and newspapers. Other look for employment, which generally happens after promotion from a junior position in the field (journalists may get promoted to copy editor, for example).

Where might the role take me?         

Experienced copy editors may end up in a management position, such as a Commissioning Editor or Chief Editor. Or simply copy editing on more complex, valuable and important works.

Interested? Find out more…

For more information on job roles in the creative industries, take a look at Hiive's job roles.  



  • Publishing Executive is a quarterly magazine that takes an in-depth look at the innovations in the publishing industry
  • InPublishing reports on newspaper, magazine and online publishing communities


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