scroll top

How to become a proofreader: 3 options in 2022

We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Here's more on how we make money.

If you love reading but hate seeing errors in writing, then a career as a proofreader could be a great fit for you. 

Proofreading is an incredibly flexible work-at-home job for moms because you can set your schedule around your kids’ activities. You can work full time, part time, and also as a freelance proofreader.

But what do proofreaders really do and how do you get proofreader jobs online?

After reading this article, you’ll know exactly what proofreading is, how you can learn to do it, and what you need to do to find proofreader jobs.

Psst…Caitlyn Pyle has a free proofreading workshop you can check out >>

How to become a proofreader

There are many potential paths that you can take to become a proofreader. Some are faster than others, but all of them can work. Below are three of the most common routes.

1. Learn on the job

This is a great option for anyone who already works at a company that produces content of any type, whether digital or print. Next time a piece of content is being finalized, volunteer to act as a proofreader, even if the project is outside of your department or outside your normal realm of duties.

So don’t be afraid to volunteer! It’s a great way to build up the experience and skills you’ll need if you want to turn proofreading into a career.

2. Teach yourself

This is probably the hardest route to take, simply because it depends on your own personal motivation and accountability, but just like any other skill, it’s totally possible to teach yourself to become a proofreader.

If you want to go this route, you should first make sure that you understand the various proofreader’s marks that you’ll need to use in marking up your pages—there are a lot of them! 

Beyond that, you should familiarize yourself with the various “styles” or “handbooks” that your employers or clients would expect you to know. These books outline specific rules of spelling and grammar, and truly form the bedrock of a proofreader’s expertise. The most widely used are:

  • Chicago Manual of Style
  • Associated Press Stylebook (AP Style) 
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) Handbook
  • American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual
  • American Medical Association (AMA) Manual of Style
  • Strunk & White’s Manual of Style

13 jobs that pay well and do not require a degree

3. Take an online course to learn to proofread

While learning on the job and teaching yourself can work, by far the quickest route to becoming a freelance proofreader is to take an online course from someone with personal success in the industry — who can teach you the skills you need, and how to land gigs and build a business.

While there are many potential courses to choose from, my favorite is Proofread Anywhere. Read our complete review of Proofread Anywhere >>

If you want to become a proofreader, Proofread Anywhere is worth it, and here’s why:

  • A+ Better Business Bureau rating
  • Dozens of 5-star reviews on Trustpilot
  • In-depth lessons with quizzes to help you test your skills as you go
  • Helps you build a proofreading business from the ground up, including tips for getting clients, marketing your business, running your business efficiently, and even filing your taxes as a proofreader
  • Facebook community of course members to offer support/advice

Get Proofread Anywhere’s FREE Intro to Proofreading Workshop >>

SkillShare’s free trial applies to its popular proofreading courses.

Do you need a degree to become a proofreader?

The good news is you don’t need a degree in English (or any other kind of degree) to be a proofreader! And you don’t need years of experience. All you need is a pair of eagle eyes, excellent attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines, and good communication skills. 

If you’re the kind of person who spots errors on restaurant menus, social media, and billboards from a mile off, then proofreading could be the perfect work-from-home opportunity for you.

In the US, there is currently no official proofreading certification. That being said, it’s hugely important that you make sure you know how to do the job before you start looking for clients.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re an excellent proofreader just because you were good at English in school. Language changes over time, and it’s easy to pick up bad grammar habits, especially considering how much time we spend on social media these days. 

You only get one opportunity to impress a client. For obvious reasons, clients expect a high level of accuracy from a proofreader, so taking on clients before you’ve verified your skills is a huge risk.

There are training courses like Proofread Anywhere you can take that will teach you how to proofread properly and how to find the most common mistakes in writing. This way you get lots of practice and you can hone your skills without risking your reputation.  

What do proofreaders do?

Proofreaders are the final set of eyes on a piece of written content. After content has been written and edited, a proofreader will look over the piece and fix any remaining errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. 

It’s perfect for anyone who wants to:

  • Earn money doing something they love — reading!
  • Proofreaders tend to passionately love the hunt of finding errors and mistakes
  • Work from home
  • Stay home with their kids but still contribute to their family’s income
  • Do interesting work
  • Start a low-cost business from home 

Are proofreaders in demand?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, editor jobs, including proofreading, are expected to grow 5% between 2020 and 2030.

Given the rise of self-publishing, anyone can write a book. They don’t need to wait until they get picked up by a book agent and have their book sold to a publishing house. They can publish their own book on Amazon or on their own website. 

But that also means they have to look after every aspect of the book publishing process themselves — everything from proofreading and editing to cover design and marketing. 

Now, since they’re not likely to be professional proofreaders themselves, they need to hire a professional. 

There is also a huge amount of content being published online every day. Every single second, in fact! Bloggers and other content creators also provide work to proofreaders because they want their audience to trust them. 

Nothing screams “I don’t know what I’m doing” more than poor grammar.

Court transcript proofreader

Legal proceedings require an exact transcription of what was said and what happened in court, which is written out by court reporters.

Court transcript proofreaders handle proofreading for court reporters, ensuring that what was typed is accurate, grammatically correct, and free of spelling and other errors.

Court transcript proofreaders make an average of $42,636 per year, according to Ziprecruiter.

There are also other types of transcription proofreaders, including those that work for online transcription companies like Rev.com, podcasts, and television networks.

Proofread Anywhere offers a course on transcript proofreading, which covers:

  • Proofreading skills
  • Spelling, punctuation, and grammar
  • Business setup
  • Where to find clients
  • How to secure clients

Start your transcript proofreading career today with Proofread Anywhere >>

Print media proofreading

Newspapers, magazines, books, brochures, printed labels, greeting cards — anything that's printed and distributed often needs to be proofread.

According to Ziprecruiter, magazine proofreaders make an average $49,365 per year.

Academic proofreading

Academic proofreaders read through research papers and textbooks to ensure there are no typos or spelling and grammatical errors.

They make an average $54,316 per year.

How do I get paid to proofread? How much could I make?

As a general proofreader, you can work with a wide variety of clients. Any person or business who creates written content needs a proofreader to remove errors from their writing before it gets published. 

Reputation is everything. A proofreader can save an author or business a lot of embarrassment and negative reviews by ensuring that their content is error-free. 

The types of clients you can work with include self-publishing authors, publishing houses, businesses, government organizations, bloggers, course creators, etc. 

Here’s the part I know you’ve all been waiting for…

How much do proofreaders make per hour?

How much you can earn as a proofreader depends on your experience level and how long it takes you to proofread a document. As you gain more experience, you will be able to charge more for your services and increase your hourly rate by becoming more efficient.

It also depends on how proactive you are with marketing your business. 

It’s possible to make a very good living as a proofreader.

It’s possible to make a very good living as a proofreader. According to ZipRecruiter, as of July 2022, freelance proofreaders earn an average of $49,002 a year in the United States or an average of $24/hour (and upwards of $92,000 per year.

That’s not bad considering you’re making money reading and doing something you love!

To give you a real-life example, Caitlin Pyle made $43,000 a year proofreading part-time — working 20–25 hours a week! Now she runs her own company from home teaching people just like you how to become proofreaders! Check it out here, and get Caitlin’s FREE on-demand workshop. 

Stay to the end of the free workshop, and get $100 off the course!

Proofreading can be very flexible — you can work as a full-time proofreader or just keep it as a side hustle. You can increase your working hours if you want to earn more money, or you can work part-time hours if you just want a little extra money to cover bills or something fun!

9 ways single moms can make money and build wealth in 2022

How do I become a proofreader with no experience?

If you have no experience as a proofreader, we recommend starting with a course like Proofread Anywhere’s General Proofreading course, where you’ll learn the proofreading skills you need in comprehensive lessons. You can also get a certificate of completion to show potential clients and add to your resume.

You can also check out Proofread Anywhere’s free introductory course to see if a career in proofreading is a good fit for you. 

Once you learn the skills you need to proofread, start by picking up freelance gigs through sites like Upwork and Fiverr and by asking people in your sphere of influence for recommendations. Proofread Anywhere also helps you build a website where clients can contact you for services and teaches you additional ways to market your proofreading business.

How to get proofreading jobs

Proofreaders are tasked with the final edit of a piece of content — a website, book, magazine, newspaper, marketing materials, or even a menu — to ensure that the grammar, spelling layout and other details of the copy are correct, as well as within the style of the publisher. 

In the world of book publishing, a proofreader is someone who “proofs” a book, by comparing the final version against prior rounds of edits. Their job is to ensure that all edits have been put in place as indicated in the prior rounds. 

If you’re looking for proofreading jobs, it helps to know that many companies also use slightly different terminology and titles to describe the same exact thing. Other titles you should keep an eye out for include:

  • Edit/editor
  • Copyedit/copyeditor
  • Cold read/cold reader
  • Line editor  

If you’re looking for proofreading jobs online, then online jobs boards are a good place to start, but don’t rely on these alone. Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn allow you to search through thousands of job postings by specific keywords, making it really easy to find a job that appeals to you. 

So how do you find online proofreading jobs?

One of my favorite online job boards in general is ZipRecruiter:

That being said, there are lots of companies hiring freelance proofreaders. Each company will have different requirements and offer different levels of pay. Below is a list of some of the most popular.

PROOFREADING SERVICES

This company advertises full- and part-time remote proofreading positions. You’ll need to complete an application form and a timed quiz before they will hire you. 

CACTUS

Cactus hires proofreaders who specialize in the academic and medical fields, so you’ll need a graduate degree in a specialized area to be hired. 

You can also set up profiles on some freelancer websites like the ones below to find freelance proofreading jobs. 

UPWORK

Prospective clients will post an ad detailing what they need, and you pitch for the job, telling them exactly why you’re the best candidate for the job.

FLEXJOBS

This paid job board is exclusively filled with career-level postings for jobs that allow moms to work from home, telecommute, work part-time, or otherwise flexible positions.

FREELANCER

This is very similar to Upwork in that clients will post an ad, and you pitch to them. It’s important to fill out your profile properly so that these sites match you to proofreader jobs that you’re suitable for. 

FIVERR

Fiverr is a little different. You create “gigs” for different price points depending on how long the document is, the turnaround time, and the level of editing you will provide, for example. Clients will search through these gigs and choose the freelance proofreader that they feel will do the best job. 

Starting a proofreading business as a freelancer

Not interested in finding a job? You could set up a business on the side.

Services your proofreading business could offer

  • Proofreading advertising and marketing copy 
  • Proofreading emails 
  • Proofreading website copy 
  • Proofreading grant proposals 
  • Proofreading academic papers 
  • Proofreading and fact-checking op-eds 
  • Proofreading and researching blog posts 
  • Proofreading business plans 
  • Proofreading speeches and presentations 
  • Proofreading press releases

How to get clients for your proofreading business

You can also attract clients by being active on social media. Posting on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and engaging with potential clients in a natural, helpful way is a great way to attract clients. 

Take advantage of any opportunities to be included on online directories, such as Self-Publishing School’s Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex. (Listing on this rolodex is an exclusive benefit of the Proofread Anywhere training course I talk about below.)

As I mentioned above though, make sure you know what you’re doing before you take on clients!

Bottom line: How do I start a career as a proofreader?

If you want to start a career as a proofreader, consider enrolling in a comprehensive proofreading course like the General Proofreading course from Proofread Anywhere.

In this course, you'll learn:

  • Grammar/proofreading skills
  • How to launch your business (including setting up a website)
  • How to find clients
  • How to market your business and get referrals
  • How to run your business more efficiently

Try Proofread Anywhere’s FREE Intro to Proofreading Workshop >>

Plus, if proofreading isn't for you, check out our list of other high-paying, work-from-home careers:

Related: Find even more work-at-home careers

Do you need a degree to become a proofreader?

The good news is you don’t need a degree in English (or any other kind of degree) to be a proofreader.

Are proofreaders in demand?

Thanks to the digital world we live in today, there is a huge demand for proofreaders.

How do I get paid to proofread?

It’s possible to make a very good living as a proofreader. According to ZipRecruiter, as of July 2o22, freelance proofreaders earn an average of $49,002 a year in the United States or an average of $24/hour (and upwards of $92,000 per year.

What qualifications do you need to become a proofreader?

In the US, there is currently no official proofreading certification. That being said, it’s hugely important that you make sure you know how to do the job before you start looking for clients.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

2 Comments

I enjoyed reading your review of Proofread Anywhere. I took the Transcript Proofing course and was very satisfied. I looked at other programs, but chose this one because of the in-depth information on setting up and running your own business. It’s great to have the skill to do the job, but finding clients and then understanding how to keep them makes the cost of the course a real bargain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.