All You Need To Know About An Editor Career
You think about working as an editor but are not sure whether this job will be the right way to go for you?
Great! This article is exactly for you since I will show you everything you need to know about being an editor.
Not only will you learn how much you can make as an editor, but we will also talk about job prospects, working hours, educational requirements, job satisfaction, work-life balance and much more.
At the end of this article, you will also find an FAQ section where I answer various questions about working as an editor you might have.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become an editor or rather want to go for a different job instead.
What does an Editor do?
Editors correct and improve the wordflow and grammar of all sorts of text so that articles read more fluently and readers are more eager to continue reading.
Not only do they edit text, but video editing has also become an increasingly popular market.
Editors are frequently employed by big news companies but also play an important role in the publication process of books or blog posts.
Responsibilities & Duties of an Editor
- Ensuring a high quality of the respective text
- Making sure there are no grammar issues
- Editing videos
- Removing unnecessary words to improve the readability of a text
- Improving the wordflow
- Correction of texts of non-native writers
- Educating writers on how to improve their style of writing
- Avoiding copywriting issues
- Coming up with content ideas
- Structuring content
- Making content templates
- Setting a schedule for publishing content
- Publication of books
- Publications of blog posts
- Publication of articles on online media channels
What a Typical Day of an Editor looks like?
Most editors get to work between 7 and 9 a.m.
The first thing they do at work is having a look at their emails and answer the most important ones first (after getting a strong coffee ;).
After that, editors have a look at their calendar and see what meetings they have and what they have to prepare for those meetings.
In case there are no meetings, editors just work on their usual stuff.
This includes the improvement of texts for newspapers, bloggers or other media entities.
Not only will you make sure that the text is grammatically right, but you will also strive to improve the readability so that readers will be satisfied with the overall work.
After doing this for many hours, it will be time to quit your workday between 4 and 6 p.m. on a normal workday.
Editor Salary 2021
Editor salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $93,000||> $46.38|
|Top 25 %||$73,000 – $86,000||$36.34 – $42.89|
|Bottom 25 %||$36,000 – $43,000||$17.92 – $21.43|
|Bottom 10 %||$26,000 – $31,000||$12.88 – $15.37|
|Range||$26,000 – $98,000||$12.88 – $48.95|
Editor salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$26,000 – $33,000||$12.88 – $16.45|
|Junior||$31,000 – $44,000||$15.38 – $21.94|
|Professional||$42,000 – $56,000||$20.89 – $27.97|
|Senior Professional||$54,000 – $67,000||$26.86 – $33.42|
|Expert||$64,000 – $83,000||$31.96 – $41.41|
|Top Expert||$79,000 – $98,000||$39.37 – $48.93|
Editor salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$51,200||$25.53|
Job Security for Editors
Editors don’t enjoy a high level of job security since they are replaceable pretty easily and barriers to entry are pretty low since almost everyone can do this job.
Consequently, you will suffer from constant insecurity regarding whether you will still be able to pay your bills just a few months from now or not.
Future Job Prospects of Editors
Also the future outlook for editors is pretty poor.
Due to machine learning and artificial intelligence, many editors will be replaced by intelligent machines and many jobs will vanish in this industry.
Thus, also wages will likely decrease in this field in future years and decades.
Working Hours of Editors
Most editors get to work between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Hence, you will work in a typical 9 to 5 job as an editor and will have lots of time to spend on your leisure and to meet up with people after work.
However, many editors also rather work self-employed and in this case, you may have to work more exotic hours depending on the demand of the client you work for.
Job Satisfaction of Editors
Since editors have rather low job security and also don’t make good money while they are still expected to have a high output at the same time, many editors are not happy with what they are doing for a living at all and secretly think about changing their jobs.
Promotion Opportunities of Editors
There are almost no promotion opportunities for editors.
Instead, you will do the same work for many years or even decades without any hope to climb the ladder and this can be really frustrating since you will often get to work with the thought that your performance doesn’t matter anyway.
If you really want to make good money in this field, you would have to start your own media business instead of working for someone else.
Career Levels of Editors
- Editor intern
- Junior editor
- Associate editor
- Senior editor
- Management editor with personnel and/or budget responsibility
- Chief editor responsible for a big team of writers
- Owner of an editing business
- Owner of a blog
- Owner of a publishing house
- Owner of a newspaper corporation
Fields and Types of Editors
- Editors focused on grammar issues
- Editors focused on wordflow
- Editors focused on readability
- Editors who educate new writers
- Editors working for newspaper companies
- Editors working for blog owners
- Editors working for publishing houses
- Online editors
- Beta reader
- Editor for the technical side of things
- Employed editors
- Self-employed editors
Educational Requirements for Editors
You don’t need any fancy formal education for becoming an editor if you want to work self-employed.
In fact, almost everyone can work in this field and barriers to entry are pretty low.
Consequently, you don’t have to spend many years on education but can rather start your editing career right now.
However, if you want to work for a big news corporation, you might still need a college degree to meet the formal requirements of the corporate world.
How to become an Editor
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being an editor
- Create a profile on Upwork or other online portals where you can offer editing work
- Get your first jobs and work hard on them
- Get good reviews to get even more editing jobs
- Build a strong reputation in this field
- Reach out to publishing houses and news corporations
- Work as an independent editor for big publishing companies
- Get a job at one of those big news corporations
- Gain experience and save money
- Start your own editing business
- Start your own content business
Character Traits you need as an Editor
- You should be creative
- Patience helps to overcome dry spells
- Willingness to deal with a high level of insecurity
- Willingness to work in a job where you can get fired from one day to the other
- Competitiveness helps to stay ahead of the game
- Empathy for your clients helps you to deliver high-quality work
- Ability to connect to people
- Ability to stay calm in case something doesn’t work out as planned
- Ambition to always improve your skills further
Hard Skills for Editors
- Excellent knowledge of the local language
- Knowledge of foreign languages is a plus
- Good grammar skills
- Talent to write in a fluent manner
- Talent for spotting errors in texts
- Excellent knowledge of popular content management systems
- Good knowledge of word processing software
- Good copywriting skills
- Knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO)
- Ability to instruct writers
- Good understanding of what types of texts people want to read
Soft Skills for Editors
- Ability to deal with difficult clients
- Good communication skills
- People skills help you lead a team of writers
- You should be flexible
- Attention to detail helps you find small errors
- Passion for making texts better
- Stress resistance in case something doesn’t work out as planned
- Willingness to work in a rather boring job
- Willingness to work in a job where you don’t make lots of money
Exit Options for Editors
There are barely any exit options for editors, at least in the corporate world.
The only real thing you can do for getting out of this field is starting your own writing business or a blog so that you can employ editors yourself and don’t have to do this kind of work anymore.
Editor – Similar Careers
- Social media celebrity
- Marketing communication specialist
- Owner of a publishing house
- Owner of a newspaper magazine
Editor Career FAQs
Is working as an editor physically demanding?
Working as an editor is not physically demanding at all.
You will just sit in an office chair for most of your workday and can also enjoy a nice coffee or tea while many other people out there have to lift heavy things all day long.
Is working as an editor mentally demanding?
Working as an editor can be mentally demanding since you will always have to stay focused so that you don’t overlook minor issues that may really bother your clients and to assure the best possible readability.
However, being an editor is still not as demanding as working in other fields where you really have to use your brain in a heavy manner every second of your workday.
Is it dangerous to work as an editor?
It is not dangerous to work as an editor at all.
Most often, you will just spend time in your office or even work from home and will also not have to work with dangerous machines.
Consequently, your risk of suffering from accidents at work will be pretty low as an editor.
How long do editors stay in their jobs?
Many editors work in this field for quite a long time since many of them are simply not qualified enough to work in a different industry.
Consequently, many editors get stuck in this field and will need lots of additional education to have the chance to get a better job.
Is it easy for editors to find a new job?
The market for editors is pretty competitive since there are no barriers to entry and you don’t need to have a degree for working as a self-employed editor.
Instead, everyone can work as an editor and this makes it pretty hard for you to find a new job in this field, especially if you are not really good at what you are doing and can’t stand out from the crowd.
Is it hard to switch from being an editor to another field of work?
Since you will often not learn many things that are important in the job market, you will also have a pretty hard time finding a job in a different industry.
In fact, many editors are not able to do so and have to work in the editing industry for quite a long time while they secretly wish to get out of it.
Do editors have a high social status?
Editors don’t have a high social status since almost everyone can do this job and editors also don’t do an important job for society.
Some people may even belittle you since they will not consider what you do a real job and will not believe you that you make your living from just correcting text.
Can you help out your family and friends as an editor?
Editors have a pretty hard time when it comes to helping out their loved ones.
In fact, you will just not learn many skills that are valuable to your family and friends as an editor while other people like craftsmen are able to help out others in various ways.
Consequently, your loved ones may also be pretty disappointed about your career choice in this regard.
Can editors work remotely?
Most editors are able to work remotely since they only do computer work all day long and don’t have to be present at a regular workplace in person.
Consequently, you will be quite flexible and can also save lots of time and money commuting to work and back as an editor.
Is it easy to find a partner as an editor?
Since editors don’t make good money and also don’t have high job security, it will also be pretty hard for people who work in this field to find a partner for a long-term relationship since editors are just not considered good providers and other people like doctors or investment bankers will have a much easier time in this regard.
Do editors have to work on weekends?
Editors don’t have to work on weekends.
However, some of them still work additional hours on weekends to make extra money since the salary of editors is often pretty low and editors need additional income sources to survive in the long run.
Do editors have to work on holidays?
If you work as an employed editor, you also don’t have to work on national holidays but can rather enjoy your time with your family.
Yet, as a self-employed editor, you might still want to work during holidays to make extra money since the more you work, the more you can make from your editing career.
Do editors have to work at nighttime?
Editors don’t have to work at nighttime in most cases.
However, you may still have to work in the evening or at nighttime in case you work for a big news corporation that publishes 24/7 and in such a case, you will have to be quite flexible regarding your working hours.
Do you have to travel as an editor?
Editors don’t have to travel a lot.
Instead, they can just work from home most of the time and also don’t have to make business trips.
In turn, editors can spend lots of time with their family and friends while people who have to do business trips will be away from home quite often.
Are editor pensions good?
Due to the rather low income of editors, also their pensions will be rather poor.
Moreover, most editors are also not able to save enough money for retirement and may therefore no longer be able to pay their bills once they get older.
Are editor salaries going up?
Editor salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years.
There is just too much competition in this market and many people want to work in this field.
Many jobs are also outsourced to developing countries where wages are pretty low.
Consequently, you should also not expect salaries to increase in this field in the future.
Can you have a positive effect on society as an editor?
While you can improve the readability of texts and improve the overall reading experience of many people, you will still not be able to have a significant positive effect on society as an editor since you will just have a minor impact on the overall message in general.
How long does it take to become an editor?
Since you don’t have to go to college and also don’t need any other formal qualification for becoming an editor, you can start working as an editor from one day to the other.
All you need is to create online profiles at major platforms for independent work and you can get your first job.
However, it will still take you quite a long time to build a strong reputation in this field and you will often make pretty poor money at the beginning of your editor career.
Is it difficult to become an editor?
It is not difficult to become an editor.
Since there are no formal requirements you have to meet, almost everyone can start working in this field.
Hence, you may just want to give it a try since you can start your editing career as a side hustle and may turn it into a full-time gig once you experience some success.
Do you need to be smart to work as an editor?
You don’t have to be smart for working as an editor.
However, you should still have excellent language skills and the more languages you can handle in written form, the more jobs you will get as an editor and the more money you can make.
Do editors have a good work-life balance?
Editors have decent work-life balance since they often have free weekends and also don’t have to work at nighttime in most cases.
Nevertheless, their salary will still be rather low and some editors even have to work on the side to pay their bills which greatly adversely affects their work-life balance.
Do editors have to work many extra hours?
Employed editors don’t have to work many extra hours.
However, if you work as a self-employed editor or even have your own editing business, chances are that you will work long hours every day since the more you work, the more money you will make in the long run.
How to maximize your chances of becoming an editor?
The earlier you start your editing career, the better you will get with editing text in general and the sooner you will be able to build reputation in this industry.
In turn, the more jobs you will get and the more money you can demand for your services.
Can editors work part-time?
While you might be able to work part-time as an editor in theory, most editors still work full-time since they simply need the money and the hourly wage of editors is pretty low so that most editors don’t have a choice other than to work full-time to be able to pay their bills.
Do editors work indoors or outdoors?
Editors work indoors and can even enjoy a coffee or tea while other people who work outdoors often have to deal with serious climatic conditions and also have to work during times of extreme heat, rain or snow, which makes their workday rather unpleasant while you as an editor don’t have to care about those issues at all.
What does the workplace of an editor look like?
Editors do most of their work on a computer.
Quite often, they also have more than one screen to use their time as efficiently as possible.
Hence, you will do a classical office job as an editor and you should not aspire to such a career if you don’t want to work with modern technologies and rather want to do hands-on work instead.
Do you have to look good for working as an editor?
You don’t have to look good for becoming a successful editor.
In fact, your looks don’t matter at all since your clients will not see you most of the time anyway and as long as your quality of work is good, your looks will not matter at all to succeed in this industry.
Is an editor career beneficial for your private life?
Since you will not be able to make good money and will also have pretty low job security, working as an editor is not beneficial for your private life at all since your spouse will never be sure whether you make enough money so that you are able to pay your bills and may cheat on you pretty soon to find a better deal.
Do you need a college degree for becoming an editor?
You don’t necessarily need a degree for working as an editor as long as you work self-employed.
However, most publishing houses and big news corporations still require you to get at least a bachelor’s degree before they are willing to employ you.
Do you need to be certified to work as an editor?
You don’t need any certificates for working as an editor.
However, the better your formal education, the higher the chances that someone is willing to employ you and it may therefore still make sense to get some additional certifications.
How much does it cost to become an editor?
While you can start your career as a self-employed editor at virtually no cost since you don’t need any formal education, you often need a degree if you want to work for a new corporation and this would require you to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college education.
Is being an editor a good career?
While you will have enough time to spend with your family, you will still not be able to make really good money from your editing job and you will always have to fear losing your job in case jobs will just be outsourced to low-wage countries.
Consequently, working as an editor cannot be considered a good career if all important factors are taken into account.
Is it easy to start your own business as an editor?
It is pretty easy to start your own editing business.
You can just start out as a self-employed editor at almost no cost and save some money from your jobs.
Over time, you can build a strong reputation in this field and may be able to scale by employing people who will do the work for you while you still get most of the profit.
Can editors teach themselves?
Editors can teach themselves most skills they need to succeed in this industry.
While you will often need a college degree for working for a big publishing company, you can still learn all practical skills yourself and if you want to work self-employed, you can succeed in this industry without having any fancy formal education at all.
Do editors make good money?
Editors are not able to make really good money.
In fact, most editors are not able to afford any luxury and will be even happy to just pay their basic bills.
In turn, you should not become an editor if money is really important to you but you should rather work as an investment banker or dentist instead.
Is it ever too late to become an editor?
It is never too late to start your career as an editor.
Since barriers to entry are pretty low, you can start working as a self-employed editor at any age at virtually no cost and if you are willing to work hard, you can still have a great career in this field starting in your 40s or even 50s.
Do editors have to quit their careers early?
Most editors don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner compared to construction workers or welders who often have to give up their jobs before they reach retirement age due to serious physical health issues.
What is the most challenging thing about working as an editor?
The most challenging thing about being an editor is that you will have to work with many different clients and stakeholders and you can never be sure whether you meet the high requirements of your clients or if they will not be happy with your work at all.
Can you provide for your family by working as an editor?
It is pretty hard to provide for your family as an editor.
While employed editors may be able to do so, self-employed editors will often have to deal with huge swings in income and may not be able to provide for their families in the long run.
Will editors suffer from old-age poverty?
Due to the rather low income most editors make, they will not get good pensions and also their ability to save money will be rather limited.
In turn, many editors suffer from serious old-age poverty and are no longer able to pay their bills once they quit their active careers.
Can editors retire early?
Most editors are not able to retire early since they just don’t make enough money from what they are doing.
Some editors even have to work in their 70s to make additional money since their pensions will often not be enough to pay their bills while many other people are able to enjoy their lives without having to work at this age.
Do editors get a fixed or variable salary?
While employed editors usually get a fixed salary and the variable fraction will be pretty low, self-employed editors only get paid if they have jobs and their income will therefore greatly vary over time.
Can you get rich as an editor?
Since the income of editors is pretty low, it is also pretty hard to get rich as an editor.
In fact, if you want to get wealthy or rich in this field, you have to start your own content business instead of working as a normal editor.
Do editors need a second job?
Due to their rather low salary, some editors even need to work a second job.
This is especially true in expensive regions where rents and other living expenses are pretty high and the income from an editing job will often not be enough to cover your bills.
Do you get continuous training as an editor?
Editors barely get any training in their jobs at all.
In fact, you have to learn most of the skills you need on your own and can’t rely on somebody else to teach you what you need to succeed in this industry.
Hence, you also need a high motivation to work hard and to really figure out what it takes to become a successful editor.
Do you get paid when you are sick as an editor?
While employed editors may get sick pay, self-employed editors only make money when they work and you should therefore have an emergency fund in case you get sick and are no longer able to make money so that you are still able to pay your bills.
Do editors have a high level of responsibility?
Editors don’t have a high level of responsibility.
If they do a terrible job, the quality of the texts published will be pretty poor.
However, this will still not be a huge drama compared to the mistakes of doctors that could potentially take away the lives of people.
Can editors work abroad?
Editors are able to work from wherever they want as long as they have a working internet connection.
Consequently, you will be completely location-independent as an editor and can travel the world while making money at the same time if you want.
Is it stressful to work as an editor?
Working as an editor is not stressful most of the time.
Sure, you will also have busy periods when you have to do multiple jobs at the same time.
However, most of your workdays will be pretty relaxed and you will also not have to fear making serious mistakes that could greatly adversely affect the lives of people as in the case of many other jobs.
Is it boring to work as an editor?
Working as an editor can be pretty boring, especially if you are not passionate about this kind of work and just need your job to pay your bills.
In such a case, chances are that you will get pretty unmotivated over time since you will have to do the same things over and over again.
Is being an editor hard?
Being an editor is not hard since you will not have to work in a heavy physical manner and you also don’t have a high level of responsibility.
Thus, while many other people out there have to work in demanding jobs, you will most likely have a rather relaxed time at work.
Are editors at risk of burnout?
Editors are not at great risk of burnout since they will be able to work in a relatively relaxed manner and don’t have to deal with excessive levels of stress at work most of the time.
Consequently, while many other people burn out sooner or later, editors are often full of energy and don’t have to worry about these issues that much.
Is there a dress code for editors?
There is no dress code for editors and you can rather wear the clothes you feel most comfortable in.
Consequently, you will also not have to spend lots of money on fancy suits but can rather work in a casual manner instead.
What kind of editors are paid the most?
The more experience you have in editing and the better your reputation, the more money you can demand for your services.
Hence, you should work hard on your skills and also try to build a personal brand if you really want to make good money from what you are doing.
What percentage of editors are women?
While only 22% of editors are women, 78% of editors are still men.
However, this may change in the near future since an increasing number of women aspire to a career in this field and this will lead to a much healthier balance between men and women in the editing industry.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as an editor?
You don’t need a mentor to succeed as an editor.
However, it is still important to build a strong network so that you get jobs easily and don’t have to fear running out of work once you finish your job for a client.
By building a strong business network, you also no longer have to actively search for jobs since your network will have many job opportunities lined up for you.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as an editor?
If you work self-employed, you will often be liable for mistakes related to your work.
Consequently, you should get proper insurance to be covered in case you make serious mistakes that would lead to serious adverse outcomes for your client.
Do editors have a high life expectancy?
Since editors don’t make lots of money and often even have to work a second job, most of them don’t live a healthy lifestyle and they may also not be able to afford proper medical treatment in case of emergency.
Hence, life expectancy of editors is rather poor compared to people who work in other office jobs.
Do editors suffer from sleeping problems?
Since editors don’t have to work at nighttime, they also don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs most of the time.
In turn, editors will get healthy sleep and will therefore just have much more energy compared to someone who has to work at nighttime and will be tired all day long.
What states are best for working as an editor?
Since you can work from wherever you want as an editor, you should choose a state where living costs are pretty low so that you are able to pay your bills from your editing jobs and don’t have to work a second job.
Who do editors work with?
Editors work with many different clients in the publishing industry.
Hence, you always have to adjust to new clients since every client will have different preferences and requirements and you have to meet those requirements to stay successful in the editing world in the long run.
Is working as an editor cool?
Working as an editor is not considered cool by the majority of the general public.
Many people will even not believe that this is what you really do for a living since they just don’t consider being an editor a real job and some people may even make fun of you.
Can you start a side hustle as an editor?
It is pretty easy to start a side hustle as an editor since you will be pretty flexible regarding when you have to work at your day job.
Consequently, you can start your own content business on the side and can grow a blog or YouTube channel until you are finally able to quit your editing job and grow your content business full-time.
Do you have to be creative as an editor?
You should have a certain level of creativity as an editor so that you can tweak texts in the best possible manner to make them really outstanding and just don’t correct grammar issues as many other editors out there do without caring about the wordflow that much.
How employable are editors?
Editors are not that employable since barriers to entry are pretty low and many jobs are also outsourced to low-wage countries.
Consequently, the future outlook for editors is pretty poor and many people who work in this industry may lose their jobs.
Are editors happy with their jobs?
Since editors don’t make good money and also suffer from a low level of job security, many editors are not happy with their overall working conditions at all and try to switch to a different field where overall working conditions are better.
Is working as an editor exciting?
Working as an editor is not very exciting.
Quite often, you will do the same things over and over again and may get frustrated and unmotivated with what you are doing pretty soon.
Can you have a positive effect on our environment as an editor?
You can have a positive effect on our environment as an editor in case you focus on editing texts that deal with our environmental issues and how to solve them.
By doing so, you can raise awareness of people of how important it is to protect our planet as best as possible.
What are the pros and cons of working as an editor?
If you want to learn even more about the career as an editor, you may also want to have a look at the pros and cons of an editor career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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